Strasburg approves ground-floor apartments

STRASBURG — The Town Council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to approve an application by developer Doug Boyd to have ground-floor apartments in the back of three of his buildings on West King Street.

The move comes after months of deliberations about whether people should be allowed to have ground-floor apartments in downtown buildings. In November, the council decided to allow people to have first-floor apartments in downtown buildings on a case-by-case basis.

But that decision was not without contention, with three of the seven members present voting against allowing for ground-floor apartments.

During Tuesday’s meeting, John “Red” Hall said that council members should be supportive of Boyd’s application because of efforts Boyd has been making to renovate his buildings. Boyd plans to renovate eight buildings on West King Street.

“Someone who is willing to put up their money to fix this town up, we should be thanking them instead of criticizing it,” Hall said.

The vote went along the same lines as the November decision to allow for downtown apartments, with Hall joining Don LeVine, Barbara Plitt, Scott Terndrup and Curtis Falkensteinin in support of the bill.

Council members Seth Newman and Kim Bishop both spoke against the plan.

Bishop said she was willing to compromise but she had problems with two of Boyd’s proposed apartments and wished that he allotted the space from those planned apartments for commercial use.

But Boyd, she noted, refused to do so.

“Because I do not feel that Mr. Boyd has met a fair criteria for a compromise, giving up only two of his 18 planned apartments, and the fact that I do not like giving special use permits to big developers when I believe a small business owner would be denied the same opportunity in the future, I am voting no on this special use permit,” Bishop said.

Council members Scott Terndrup and Curtis Falkenstein joined Hall, LeVine and Plitt in support of the bill.

“The western part of town needs to be repaired,” LeVine said.

Terndrup was absent for the November meeting. Falkenstein was not on council until Tuesday, replacing Shirley Maddox, who resigned at the end of December.