GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council on Monday approved two zoning changes that will allow for additional uses in certain areas as outlined in the 2012 Master Plan.
Council unanimously adopted a rezoning plan, which will set up part of the city — essentially a one-block area surrounding the downtown — for upstairs apartments above retail stores, while also placing design standards for new commercial buildings. That area was previously zoned C-1, or neighborhood commercial and will now fall under a mixed use development (MUD).
The council then voted 6-1, with Jeanne Cunliffe the dissenting vote, in favor of rezoning a residential district along Washington Street near Bower Street to office space to allow more development space for lots in the area.
The 2012 Master Plan called for both of these areas to be rezoned.
Mixed use development
The rezoning from C-1 to MUD will allow for several different uses in the area while maintaining the “neighborhood look” by opening up options for retail and commercial as well as residential.
“On the first floor they could have commercial or retail and have upstairs housing,” said Tim Johnson, a planning consultant for the city.
The zoning change will allow for commercial uses such as restaurants with outdoor seating, daycare facilities and much more. The previous language restricted 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.
The MUD zone 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.
The hope is to utilize the area for growth both commercial and residential, while not altering its appearance.
“It has been zoned commercial for several years, but no development has happened,” Johnson said.
The request of a lot along M-57 was made by Sarah Mahar for the rezoning of a small parcel of property actually owned by a separate party, who is on board with the request.
Mahar said the plan for the adjacent property is a dental office, which owns two parcels on M-57 near Veterans Park, with the property to be possibly rezoned lying adjacent. The parcels already owned by the dentistry have already been rezoned to office space and the entire block was identified in the master plan as a portion best served to be rezoned office space. The land included in the request, which is only 58 feet wide, and two other parcels butting up to Bower Street have yet to be rezoned, despite the city’s desire to eventually do so, as reflected in the master plan.
Mahar said the dentistry approached the land’s owner, Lisa Holmden, about the potential for rezoning the property into the office zone and both parties were favor of the request.
The change allows additional room for parking space for the business. Because it shares property line with a residential district, current zoning rules stipulate there must be a 30-foot landscape buffer zone. By zoning Holmden’s property office, that buffer zone is then moved to the next parcel, allowing space for the parking lot on the dentistry’s parcel.
Cunliffe, who didn’t support the rezoning to office, said her concern was the size of the parcel included in the request. At just 58 feet wide and 181 feet deep, the lone piece of property doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for a parcel in an office zone.
That wouldn’t be a problem with the current plans for the parking lot, but planning commission members were hesitant to set a precedent of approving a rezoning of a property that didn’t meet requirements of that zone. They also feared down the road, if a new owner of that property wanted to develop an office on the property, despite it being impossible to match requirements, they would be forced to grant several variances to allow it.
The planning commission ended up recommending the council’s approval, with Cunliffe again providing the lone dissenting vote.