Greenville City Council unanimously approved a rezoning request along the East 10th Street corridor over the objections of a former councilman.
Marion Blackburn was the only person who spoke against the request to rezone 3.55 acres located near the northeastern corner of East 10th Street and Port Terminal Road from residential-agricultural and neighborhood commercial to general commercial.
Blackburn said the rezoning for that area isn’t in keeping with the city’s comprehensive land use plan.
The 10th street area wasn’t meant to be a commercial zone but a transition to rural areas, she said.
“It adds to the commercial creep that, like a disease, weakens and sickens our community,” Blackburn said. “Sprawl increases population, guts neighborhoods and leaves us, the people you represent, stuck in islands surrounded by alienating concrete and abandoned buildings.”
Blackburn said the area at Port Terminal Road was intended for residential use with some office space development and that there is ample commercial property east of the location.
Real Estate agent Jon Day, representing the property owners, said the zoning change would make the property an extension of nearby zoning. Existing structures on the land would be demolished because it isn’t the “highest and best” use of the property.
The council unanimously voted to approve the request with no discussion.
Other requests approved by the city council at its Thursday meeting included:
Annexation of 2.03 acres located at the northeastern corner of the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Highway and Diamond Drive.
- Annexation of 4.1 acres located at the current terminus of Rhinestone Drive.
- Annexation of 24.3 acres located between Dickinson Avenue and Greenville Boulevard and adjacent to Manning Forest Townhomes.
- Annexation of 113.6 acres located along the northern right-of-way of N.C. 33 East and adjacent to Rolling Meadows Subdivision. Bill Clark Homes of Greenville wants to develop a subdivision currently called Cypress Pointe at the location. Much of the property is currently zoned under other jurisdictions, so the council also approved rezoning 107 acres as residential-single family medium density and 6.5 acres as general commercial.
- Approved changes to the table of uses in city code to add “licensed contractor, general, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, etc. excluding outside storage” as a permitted use in heavy commercial, unoffensive industry, industry, planned unoffensive industry and planned industry zoning districts and add ambulance service” to medical-institutional, medical-support, medical-office, medical-general commercial and medical-heavy commercial. Council also approved a language change that now allows fast food restaurants within a medical office zoning district to be located in a building with no less than two units.
- Approved entering into a trust agreement or installment financing agreement not to exceed $20 million financing public improvements, including construction of Fire Station No. 7, construction of a bay extension at Fire Station No. 1, improvements to the Eppes Recreation Center, construction of a new community pool at Thomas Foreman Park and construction and development of Wildwood Park Phase I and II.
The city council started its meeting with several special recognitions:
- The Greenville Police Department Gang Unit was recognized for being named the 2020 Gang Unit of the Year by North Carolina Gang Investigators Association.
The organization recognized the unit for seizing more than $28,000 in cash, 69 guns, thousands of grams of drugs and making a total of 232 arrests between June 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020.
- The Babe Ruth 13-year-old All-Star team was recognized for playing the league’s championship game.
“We have a tremendous amount of baseball talent in the community … You guys continue a great tradition in the community,” Mayor P.J. Connelly said. “You may not have won the championship this time but next year you guys are going to be the champions because Greenville is filled with nothing but champions.”
The council also approved the following actions during its consent agenda vote:
- The sale of about .68-acre of property at 431 W. Fifth St., to the Alumni Corporation Board of Delta Sigma Phi at East Carolina University for $242,651.
In early 2021 the city received an initial offer of $148,000 to purchase the property. State law requires that an offer to purchase city-owned property be advertised in case someone wants to purchase it at a higher price.
In late July the alumni board offered $242,651 for the property and no other bids were submitted.
- A $130,675 contract with DESIGNA Southern Time to install a gating system at the Fourth Street Parking Garage.
The system will provide the public with a parking access ticket when they enter the garage and require them to pay when they exit. Individuals and businesses that lease spaces in the garage, including patrons at a hotel being planned for Evans Street, will be issued key cards.
The gating system is one of the recommendations from discussions about changing the city’s parking fee structure that were held in 2019 and early 2020. The recommendations were placed on hold due to the effect COVID-19 had on the business community.
- The purchase of a street sweeper and dump truck at a cost of $406,291.