EXPLAINED: How does Greenville’s new development code protect neighborhoods?

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 10:26 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Greenville City Council gave initial approval on the new city development code. Leaders have praised the code for removing uncertainty about what can be built and where. But how exactly will the new code protect your neighborhood?

Laura Shoun has lived in Nicholtown for nearly ten years. Her job is taking care of the community garden.

“The best thing about this neighborhood is that it’s very neighborly,” said Shoun.

And she’s hopeful the new code will sustain that neighborly feel.

“I feel that I don’t have to worry about someone coming in, say, this space purchasing this garden space, and deciding they want to put in a 9-story mixed multi-use building,” said Shoun.

Several residents from Nicholtown and other historic neighborhoods have urged for the code’s approval.

“It is intentional. It is purposeful. It is about protecting neighborhoods within the city of Greenville,” said Greenville’s Assistant City Manager Shannon Lavrin.

The code has 27 new zoning classifications, whereas the current only has 12. Most high-density growth will take place in nodes or city corridors.

“Whether it’s office, residential, retail, we want to see a combination, and we want people to be able to stay in their neighborhood to get many of the services that they want,” said Lavrin.

For the neighborhoods backing nodes, the code sets strict buffer requirements like a fence, wall, setback and greenspace. Within neighborhoods, staff says the code adds do’s and don’ts, tree protection, and reduces infill.

For example, a planned development in Nicholtown on Hall Street called River Walk Cottages. The site was originally planned as a lot for two homes. However, it was approved to allow nine lots within a 1-acre site. The project was approved because it met basic requirements in the current code, despite neighbors’ concern it didn’t fit in with surrounding homes. With the new code it would not have been approved.

“But in the new code, we do not have planned developments. So basically what is in the code is what you can do,” said Mary Douglas Hirsch, the Greenville Planner Administrator.

Helpful links:

View the Updated Draft Development Code

View Proposed Modifications to Draft Development Code - As of April 28, 2023 (PDF)

Other Development Code stories:

‘It’s going to be the blueprint:’ Greenville releases draft development code for future growth

‘Not a lot of cities are doing that:’ How could Greenville’s new development code create affordable housing?

“Say No To Rezoning:” Greenville woman starts petition, bringing attention to draft development code

Planning Commission approves Greenville’s new development code