The Greenville Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a high-density zoning request for land off Dickinson Avenue that stirred opposition among nearby property owners.
However, commission member Hap Maxwell said the request raises questions about the community’s commitment to creating walkable neighborhoods.
“It just seems to me we are continually approving plots of land where either apartments or houses are going in,” Maxwell said.
“It seems like 95 percent of them are all the same situation. For folks to get to any grocery store or any other place to purchase things they are going to have to get in their cars and drive somewhere,” he said.
“I feel like we may need to put our thinking caps on a little bit about where this is all heading when we keep approving more and more development of property where there is nothing close by,” he said.
Maxwell then joined the other planning and zoning commission members in approving a request from 4 Life Properties that 5.7 acres of vacant land between Dickinson Avenue and the end of Manning Forest Drive be rezoned from residential agricultural to residential-high density.
The vote was taken Thursday during a continuation of the commission’s Tuesday meeting. The rezoning request, and three other items approved by the commission, now go to the Greenville City Council for final approval.
That zoning designation allows for the construction of duplexes and townhouses which are already built in the area, along with several single-family homes.
Staff recommended the rezoning request, Chief Planner Chantae Gooby said.
Gooby said under the previous residential-agricultural zoning, 12 single-family homes could be built on the property. The residential-high density designation would allow for 65-multi-family units, she said.
Currently, Brook Hollow, a duplex development is nearby off Dickinson Avenue and Manning Forest Townhomes is built around Manning Forest Drive.
The property is in the Green Mill Run watershed and has a stream and riparian buffer along the property line. The 25-year storm detention device will be required, Gooby said.
A net increase of 367 new trips could be produced if the property is developed under the residential-high density designation.
An additional high-density development would put further strain on Dickinson Avenue and Williams Road, Chip and Sheila Pearsall wrote in a letter opposing the rezoning. Their letter and others were read Tuesday.
“I’m told that for many years, Williams was a quiet country back road, but since development of nearby neighborhoods over the past 20 years, it has become a popular cut-through for traffic on the major thoroughfares of Greenville Boulevard and Dickinson Avenue. Another development with direct access to it would further strain an already overburdened road,” the Pearsalls wrote.
Leslie Cobb wrote that along with adding more traffic to overburden roads, noise pollution would get worse.
She said high-density developments attract only short-term occupants. The high-turnover increases the wear on a building which eventually drives down its value and the values of surrounding properties.
Engineer Bryan Fagundus, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said no development plans have been drawn up for the property.
“We are in conformance with the surrounding land uses,” Fagundus said Tuesday.
Issues surrounding traffic control, buffering between properties and other matters associated with the development will be mitigated, he said.
The commission also approved the staff’s recommendation to modify the city code to add a definition and standards for residential and non-residential fences.
The vote was unanimous, although a commission member who questioned the need for formal standards during Tuesday’s meeting did not participate in Thursday’s session.
“I’m all for labeling what a fence is and people calling and asking where they need to go, where they can’t go,” commissioner member Max Joyner III said.
Joyner, along with members Allen Brock and Allen Thomas, was absent Thursday.
Gooby said staff recommended adding definition and standards for residential and nonresidential fences because code enforcement is having difficulties enforcing building codes and resolving nuisance complaints.
The board will vote on proposed guidelines under which a fence would be defined as “an artificially constructed barrier of wood, masonry, stone, wire, metal or other manufactured material or combination of materials, not to include any portion of a building, enclosing an area of ground to mark a boundary, control assess, enclose, screen or separate areas.”
A residential fence would be a maximum of 6 feet in the front and 8 feet along the sides and rear; a nonresidential fence could be a maximum of 8 feet in front and 10-feet along the sides and rear.
Chain-link or woven-wire fencing would only be allowed along the sides and rear. Barbed wire would only be allowed at a “bona fide” agricultural operation.
The proposal states that fencing cannot be placed on the public right of way and entry gates can’t swing into the road.
A nuisance fence would be neglected, in disrepair or is built or placed in a location where it becomes a hazard or endangers people, animals or property.
Also approved Thursday:
- A preliminary plat for the property at the intersection of West 10th Street and CSX Railroad where East Carolina University and Elliott Sidewalk Communities plan to develop space for research, offices, businesses and residential areas. The proposed plant consists of seven lots totaling nine acres.
- A preliminary plat submitted by Rocky Russell Development for property located along the southern right-of-way of Southwest Greenville Boulevard, adjacent to the People’s Baptist Church. The plat, entitled “Kadie Farms” consists of 52 duplex lots, totaling 104 units, on 23 acres.