The Wilkesboro Town Council further discussed the rebuilding of the town-owned “Rock Building” on North Bridge Street during its regular monthly meeting, held remotely Monday on Zoom.

Andrew Carlton, the town’s director of planning and community development, said that Asheville-based Samsell Architects has estimated that design and pre-construction engineering work on the project should cost $50,000.

The project is slated to begin this year as town staff are considering holding town-sponsored public events in the downtown as early as May or June in the Carolina West Wireless Community Commons.

During a council work session on Monday, Town Manager Ken Noland said that staff is considering booking local bands to play concerts in the Commons. Under current state COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings, this would allow up to 100 attendees.

The rock building is presently planned as an open-air connector between the Commons and the Carolina West Heritage Square. In November the council recommended the one-story facility with a roughly 2,000-square-foot footprint should contain eight restrooms, storage/green space for musical artists and an open roof viewing area.

The original building was constructed around 1935, before there was a town building code. The town bought it in 2016 for $225,000 and it was demolished in 2020 after engineers determined it was structurally unsound and had asbestos infestation.

Carlton estimated in November that the new facility should cost between $250,000 and $300,000.

Fence standards

In the continuation of a public hearing started in January, a new proposed ordinance regarding fence standards was also further discussed. The town currently has no standards in code regarding fence height, design or security.

Carlton said that since January, the ordinance had been modified to specify that the finished side of fences should face the exterior of the property, with framing exposed to the inside of the property.

In another change, setbacks should be at least four feet from property lines to allow the maintenance of the fence and landscaping, said Carlton. He added that language was removed from the ordinance that would have treated landscaping as fencing.

The public hearing was closed Monday without any further public comments, but Noland said he would accept public comments until the council met again on March 1. The council could choose to approve or reject the ordinance then, he said.

The ordinance would require that fences be maintained in good working order and be structurally sound. They would also adhere to sight distance requirements as set forth in town code.

Fences featuring razor wire or other high security would be allowed only in R20A (suburban/agricultural), B2 (general business), B3 (limited business), M1 (industrial) and M2 (limited industrial) zones. Electrical fences would be allowed only in R20A.

In the town’s historic district and B1, fence heights would be limited to four feet in front of properties and six feet on side or rear areas. In residential zones fences shall not exceed five feet in front and eight feet on the side or rear areas. Fences in business or industrial zones can be up to eight feet in any area of the properties.

Carlton told the council in January that preexisting fences would be grandfathered if the ordinance is passed.

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