Greenville property owner’s rezoning request denied

By Curtis Wildfong • Last Updated 8:50 pm on Friday, January 10, 2014

Planning consultant Tim Johnson discusses a rezoning request made by Mark Lehman, who purchased around 25 acres of the Forest View Planned Use Development plan. The Greenville Planning Commission voted 7-2 Thursday to recommend to City Council a denial of the request to rezone a portion of the Forest View PUD to residential. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

GREENVILLE — The Greenville Planning Commission voted 7-2 Thursday to recommend to City Council a denial of a request to rezone a portion of the Forest View Planned Use Development (PUD) to residential.

Commission members said the changes sought by the rezoning request could be accomplished under the PUD by requesting amendments.

The PUD plan in 2004, according to city planning consultant Tim Johnson, was set up to develop up to more than 300 units, including apartments, condos, duplexes, four- and six-unit houses and single family homes. Mark Lehman, who made the request, said he had plans to build one home, but would likely continue to build more on the 25-acre piece of land he purchased in a tax sale.

Officials said that could be accomplished through means other than rezoning.

“I don’t really see significant conditions that would change that say the PUD that we recognized in the master plan that says the PUD is no longer appropriate and the Residential-1 is more appropriate,” Commission Chairman David Ralph said. “The changes that are being requested, modifications for the plan, are allowed for and accommodated in the planned use development zoning. If townhouses are not the way to go, then an amendment can be made to this plan … But it doesn’t require us to make this R-1 zoning to make that happen.”

Johnson said the difference between the two zones, as far as land uses are concerned, are nearly identical. The PUD currently in place allows for single-family homes, but only on lots specifically designated for them.

Johnson said an amendment request would fulfill the same goals a rezoning request would.

“Any single-family house, whether it is one or more than one, that would be proposed to be built on Mr. Lehman’s property under the current zoning may not comply with the PUD site plan,” he said. “If it did not comply in a significant manner, that would be a major amendment and then we’d have to start over and hold a public hearing to go through the amendment process.

“He could build a house, but we’d have to decide whether it was a major change, and if it was we would have to start over and approve the site plan.”
The parcel included in Lehman’s request is part of a 57-acre zone designated in the PUD as part of an agreement between the city and a developer for a condominium neighborhood.  Since that time, only a small percentage has been built and much of the land was auctioned at tax sale.

Lehman purchased around 30 acres of the PUD land, five of which he said he has an agreement with a Realtor to market and fill seven duplexes (14 housing units) as originally planned in the 2004 development agreement. Those five acres, as well as the remaining approximately 28 acres not auctioned, would have remain in the PUD, Johnson said.

But several Forest View residents contested Lehman’s proposal, mostly arguing the change would depreciate values of their homes and deviate from the type of neighborhood they bought into. Residents stated they chose to purchase homes in Forest View because they liked the idea of a condominium-style neighborhood and were convinced it would be developed as just that.

Commission member Ron Blanding, who along with Brian Greene was in favor of the rezoning request and voted against recommending a denial, said the chances the area was developed as originally planned were slim and the city should consider moving on from that plan.

“The likelihood of getting a developer in there to finish what was started nine years ago is very remote,” Blanding said.

Final say will still fall on City Council, but will receive the recommendation for denial from the planning commission.

City Manager George Bosanic said Council will hold a public hearing on the request, likely Feb. 18., before making a decision.

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