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Cornelius News

Should downtown sidewalk be blocked? Board decides tonight

June 6. Cornelius commissioners will consider a right-of-way encroachment agreement for construction work in downtown Cornelius. If approved, the applicant, Ralph Harlan, would be permitted to block the sidewalk and a portion of Catawba Avenue, when needed, for up to six months.

Harlan has requested approval of this encroachment agreement to perform construction work on the façade of 21312 Catawba Ave.,  according to Planning Director Wayne Herron. “The construction work involves the installation of a new reinforced concrete lintel and the required  concrete block that is part of the design of the lintel. The encroachment is to not only perform work within the right-of-way, but to also install a protective barrier for pedestrians and vehicles around the work zone.”

Three years ago the town and Harlan found themselves at odds over the future use of the property, and it was covered for a time with a blue tarp, creating an unpleasant scene for downtown shoppers and the impression that the building had been ravaged by fire or had collapsed. Eventually a mural was painted on the front by Elie Bou Zeidan, the owner of Cafe Elie on North Main, to cover up the eyesore.


Also at the June 6 meeting, the board will again take public comment on the proposed $21.88 million Cornelius Budget for 2017, which calls for 8.3 percent or 2 cent increase in the town tax rate. If approved by the Town Board, it would cost the owner of a median-priced $250,000 Cornelius home about $50 more per year in property taxes.

The funds generated by a tax hike would be dedicated for the town’s transportation capital reserve fund.  The town board meeting begins at 7 pm, in Town Hall on Catawba Avenue.