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I see the Mayor is getting out his signs again this year. This is a welcome sight because he deserves another term for...

City needs stronger zoning rules

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Recent flash flooding of downtown vehicles and businesses is, unfortunately, not the first nor last flooding threat to our safety, quality of life and economic development. Fortunately, downtown flooding threats will be alleviated by the massive Town Creek Culvert Project now underway and put in place by a previous council. Saving city taxpayers tons of money, we creatively funded the Culvert Project with a state interest-free loan, not easy to get.

Flooding is a citywide concern, of course. Over Mayor P.J. Connelly’s short-sighted objections, a majority of the council recently passed a strong long-range citywide stormwater plan. The approved plan wasn’t the strongest possible plan, but was better than the much weaker plan advocated by Mayor Connelly.

But — a big but — passing a plan is no guarantee your elected officials have the political independence and long-range vision to keep, year after year, doing what’s necessary to implement the stormwater plan. For years on the council, several of us protested funding expensive plans that then sat on the shelf, worthless.

Mayor Connelly and a majority of this council have shown they don’t have what it takes to stick to plans. The Horizons Land Use Plan — approved by the previous council with overwhelming citizen input and support — has still not been fully implemented with strong zoning ordinances. This inaction makes a mockery of all the time and energy citizens put into many public meetings.

While valuable to a point, the current Horizons Plan is too much of a plan on a shelf, collecting dust. Implementing ordinances, ensuring quality growth and protection from flooding, should have been passed over a year ago.

I’ll continue asking: What narrow interest groups, connected to a majority of this council, don’t want strong zoning ordinances, many of which would help protect all citizens from flooding?

Calvin Mercer

Greenville

The writer is the former at-large representative on the Greenville City Council.

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