In a relatively short session Monday night, members of the Dover City Planning Commission unanimously approved a plan for a new art gallery and gave former Dover City Councilman Reuben Salters additional time to launch a proposed educational center in the city.
The commission was scheduled to hear a proposal for a conditional site plan review for an elevated water tower, to be located on West Denney's Road, but that item was pulled from the agenda at the request of City Manager Scott Koenig.
The Parke Green Galleries, to be operated by Dover artists Jan Crumpley, N. Taylor Collins and Susan S. Johnston, will be located at 325-331 S. State St., near The Green.
Collins told commissioners she and the others will use the four interconnected offices, which have been vacant for at least six years, as both display space for their art and as workspace. She said they plan no changes to the historic buildings, located on the site of the historical Colonial-era Golden Fleece Tavern. The upper story of the building will remain as apartments.
Commissioner Edward C. Cregar recused himself from the discussions because he lives in one of those apartments.
As a body, the commissioners praised the idea of a new art gallery.
"I think your proposed use would be a wonderful use for the city of Dover and it's a wonderful location," commission Chairman Col. Robert D. Welch told Collins.
Without debate, commissioners also approved Salters' request for a one-year extension on a conditional use request for his Inner City Cultural League building, planned for construction at 39 S. West St.
The property is a remediated Brownfield site, once the location of the old Dover Scrap Yard, noted city Director of Planning and Community Development Ann Marie Townshend, although that factor has not been a cause for some of the delays in getting construction underway. Townshend said work on the center is expected to being in spring 2014.
Commissioners also allowed lobbyist Rhett Ruggerio to withdraw a rezoning application for his property at 109 E. Division St. Ruggiero's plan to use a vacant single-family home for office space upset several residents, who expressed worries about changing the home's zoning classification to allow its use as a business.
Most residents were concerned about the fact the zoning change would allow the property's use as commercial space if and when Ruggerio decided to move on.
In response, Ruggerio asked to withdraw the application so he could work with them to address their concerns before proceeding.