Development code passes, Chief Diversity Officer hired and other city council updates

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 10:42 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Monday night, in a four hour long meeting, Greenville City council made a few important decisions that will shape the city’s future.

New Development Code approved

After more than two years of work by city staff and months of input from the public, the Greenville City Council unanimously approved the new development code. Planning staff says the code protects neighborhoods from ill-suited development in a way that’s never been done before.

The council voted pretty fast; it was the public comment that took up most of the meeting time–more than three hours. More than 40 people spoke and an overwhelming majority of people spoke in support. Only about 9 people asked the council not to approve it, most of them asking for more time to review it. Since this has been such a lengthy process for staff, there was applause and even tears at the end. Leaders are confident the new code will allow the GVL 2040 plan to become a reality.

“That’s the problem, we never took time to wipe it out and do what was right. And so I’m so glad to see us moving progressively into a way that we should do which will help to make neighborhoods every neighborhood feel better,” said Councilwoman Lillian-Brock Flemming during the meeting.

There will be a second and final vote later and also a 6 month review of the code where staff can change any issues or concerns that may come up.

Greenville hires first ever Diversity Chief

The chief diversity officer position is a first for the city. Even though he’s been on the job since early May, Monday night city council formally introduced Bryant Davis into that position. Davis is coming from Richland County where he worked as the Assistant Director of Government and Community Services.

In his new role as diversity chief he’s tasked with helping recruit diverse candidates, connect with the city’s Special Emphasis Neighborhoods, including Nicholtown, and serve as a resource for Minority and women-owned businesses. Finally, he’ll also be helping create a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.

“A lot of it is just exposing some of those things that have been done. There’s a lot of programs, initiatives that the city has already been doing. Highlighting those, and then look at ways to build on that,” Davis said about the plan.

That the strategic plan is still in the early stages—but we’ll keep you updated as we learn more.

FY24 Budget approved

Lastly on Monday night, council approved the FY 2024 budget. The more than $200 million dollar budget includes significant investments in capital improvements totaling $56 million, including:

Affordable Housing – $3.75 million (up from $2.5 million pending legislative action)

Wastewater improvements (sewer capacity) – $7 million

Roads, bridges and traffic calming - $12 million

Sidewalks – $7 million

Nicholtown Community Center upgrades: $1.8 million

Park improvements including $2 million for a new inclusive playground at Cleveland Park and $1.4 million for court rehabilitation and pickleball at Gower Park.

Greenways, trails, bike, and pedestrian safety enhancements – $2.7 million

New parking garages - $5 million

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