Greenville County Council approves changes to land and developme - FOX Carolina 21

Greenville County Council approves changes to land and development regulations

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Greenville Co. Council voted 9-3 to approve regulations (FOX Carolina/ 1/23/18) Greenville Co. Council voted 9-3 to approve regulations (FOX Carolina/ 1/23/18)
GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The Greenville County Council passed changes to land development regulations Tuesday night. Nine council members voted in favor, the other three opposed. The vote came after a lengthy discussion about being able to change parts of it.

There was a quick scuffle between two council members during the long discussion, but the public hearing was quite the opposite. One councilman even calling it "one of the most civil discourses he's seen yet."

It's been a controversial issue, the changes now coming to the County’s Land Development Regulations or LDR. Councilman Lynn Ballard said it's the timing of things that has him frustrated. He's been working on this amendment for more than three months, but it was just about a week ago that he said the opposing party started speaking up.

"Where have you been for three months,” asked Ballard of District 26. “If this was an issue today, it was an issue three months ago because once it entered the process we didn't make any changes."

Ballard is looking to revamp the approval process for prospective developers, requiring those looking to break ground to come prepared with plans to make sure their work won't interrupt traffic or disrupt public transportation while still conserving local species, among other requirements.

"This pre-submittal meeting is to have a checklist," Ballard said.

Those pushing to table the vote, mostly developers or representatives from the Home Builders Association, said they felt left out of the conversation from the get go.

"We were actively blocked from the process,” said one opposing speaker. “So much so, that council schedule was changed for considering this ordinance without the consideration of notifying us."

Those against the LDR said they just want things modified, they didn't want the document to be passed as is. They said the council even admits some wording will have to be changed.

"Town homes, patio homes, office parks and other types of pad-type homes will be nearly impossible,” said an opposer. “Staff has agreed 'oops we didn't mean to do that'."’

Speakers also argued, this ordinance could cause natural vegetation and trees to be ripped out, with the newly required fencing.

However, those in favor said these changes are reasonable and will add quality of life to Greenville County. Many are hoping a new process will help to organize the fast-paced development we've seen in recent years. 

"The residents of Five Forks have had enough of the havoc these developments have on commute times, road conditions, increased traffic conditions and the overall footprint of litter and trash along the roads," said a speaker in favor of the amendment.

There was a packed room with a range of different opinions about development.

“My kids need a safe place to play,” said someone in favor. “Vote to pass this ordinance.”

"Many regulations up for consideration are turning its back on creativity," said an opposing speaker.

Since there were so many points about specifics that may need to be changed, Councilman Meadows pushed to send the regulations back to planning and zoning to be revised. Many chiming said "let's get this right the first time”, but when the council voted that motion was denied.

To read the full amendment, click here.

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