GREENVILLE — The Greenville Planning Commission is moving forward with the next step of a rezoning plan which could potentially set up part of the city for upstairs apartments above retail stores, while also placing design standards for new commercial buildings.
The plan, which has only been discussed at this point, would rezone a portion of the city on the east side of Clay Street and the west side of Franklin Street as mixed use.
“It will basically encircle, or is adjacent to the downtown area,” said Planning Commission Chairman David Ralph.
That area is currently zoned C-1, or neighborhood commercial.
“The hope is to take a fresh look at downtown development,” Ralph said. “At the same time, we want to insert regulatory language to keep the residential aspects and to keep a good balance.”
A public hearing for the rezoning proposal is scheduled for Dec. 14 in front of the planning commission. If approved, it would not only continue to allow commercial uses, but also additional residential aspects.
“It allows for all the uses it currently does, but the mixed zone would allow for types of residential,” said planning consultant Tim Johnson of Main Street Planning Co.
That would primarily mean second-story housing, likely rental units and retail occupancy on the main level.
The idea for the rezoning has been tossed around the commission for several months and coincides with the city’s master plan approved last year.
“We asked what can we do through zoning or planning to bring new life to the area and promote new development,” Johnson said.
The proposed zoning change would also allow for commercial uses such as restaurants with outdoor seating, daycare facilities and much more. The current language does restrict the size of a commercial facility that can be built in the zone to 4,000 square feet. The reason for that, officials said, is to preserve the neighborhoods’ residential appearance, which they said is a signature for the city.
“We want it to fit with Greenville,” Johnson said.
The ordinance would also allow for the conversion of homes into businesses, Johnson said, so long as the structures stay true to the surroundings, meaning it maintains the residential appearance.
What will change for residents in the area?
Not much, if anything.
Johnson said taxes will not be affected by the simple rezoning of an area and the only direction property values would go would be up if there is development.
Current business owners shouldn’t fret either, Johnson said, as any requirements would apply only to new structures or large additions.
The zoning ordinance proposal has not been finalized and several public hearings, both at the planning commission and city council, are needed prior to its adoption.