The Greenville City Council on Thursday voted 5-0 to approve rules that allow pedestrians to carry alcoholic beverages while visiting businesses in two downtown social districts.
Patrons in the Uptown District and Dickinson Avenue District will be able to carry drinks in specially designated cups while moving in and out of participating businesses beginning Oct. 6. The Uptown area includes Fifth Street between Washington and Reade streets and the Dickinson district includes Dickinson Avenue and several surrounding streets southwest of Reade Circle.
The rules will go into effect 5-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday following a 45-day implantation period that will allow the city to print and post signs and make other preparations.
The social district vote came at the end of a nearly three-hour meeting and little discussion occurred. Earlier in the meeting, 5th Street Hardware Restaurant and Taproom owner Billy Smith asked the council to consider a 30-day implementation period so the districts would be operational during more East Carolina University home football games. He also suggested the district’s operating hours be between noon and 5 p.m. or noon to 10 p.m.
Council didn’t incorporate Smith’s suggestions.
Councilwoman Marion Blackburn, who lobbied during a Monday review of the proposal to delay action to receive more public input, asked that the city host discussions during the implementation period.
“I think it is something that could be good for our downtown and good for our community but I’m concerned the public hasn’t been involved. I think it’s possible to have those thoughts at the same time,” Blackburn said.
Following Thursday’s meeting, Mayor P.J. Connelly said he supported the idea of an input session.
“It’s very important that we continue to get feedback from the public and it is successful,” he said. “We want to make sure we know what is going well and what is not going well so we can make adjustments.”
The implementation of social districts is new and occurring across the state, Connelly said. It’s important to monitor those communities to see what is succeeding and what needs changing, he said.
“I am hopeful it will continue to bring commerce to our area. I think it’s important we support all our local businesses but we have to do it in an appropriate way that is safe for all the citizens as well,” Connelly said.
Councilman Will Bell, who voted against the ordinance on Monday because he didn’t believe it did enough to help local businesses, did not attend Thursday’s meeting.
After receiving assurances that a gaming software development and design company will protect nearby woodlands and a stream, the council unanimously voted to rezone 48 acres on the eastern right of way of Charles Boulevard and south of Cantata Drive from residential single family to office.
Grover Gaming wants to open a campus on the property, which borders Tucker Estates and Meeting House Branch, a stream along the rear of the property.
Representatives of the company said the campus will be a less intensive use than the up to 220 houses that could be built under residential zoning.
While the office zoning would allow 295,000 square feet of office space, the structure planned by Grover Gaming would be much smaller, said Drake Brinkley, an attorney with Ward & Smith representing the company.
Brinkley reminded the council that multi-family development isn’t allowed in office zoning.
A 50-foot section of property bordering Tucker Estates isn’t included in the rezoning because the adjoining homeowners will take control of the property, which will provide increased buffering, Brinkley said.
Jeff Aldridge, a Tucker Estates homeowner along the shared property line, said he and the 11 other property owners support the development.
“We think it’s something the whole city will be proud of,” Aldridge said.
Blackburn asked if the rezoning would reduce the potential for stormwater runoff. Chief Planner Chantae Gooby said staff didn’t have enough information to determine the differences in impervious surfaces found in office and residential developments and couldn’t answer the question.
“This is one of the most thoughtful approaches I’ve ever been part of,” said Justin Mullarkey, a real estate agent working with Grover Gaming.
The conservation area, where the woodlands and stream are located, is important to Grover Gaming because the intent is to keep the wooded area as it is. Mullarkey said Grover Gaming leaders want to add more trees to the property.
“I think it’s delightful to have (Grover Gaming’s) creative campus within the city limits of Greenville,” Blackburn said. “What a pledge it is for our city and our community. I hope the project continues to develop as it is described.”
A representative of a 64-year-old Greenville-based business said rezoning property along Staton Road will allow the business to remain in the community.
The council unanimously approved rezoning nearly 15.8 acres along Staton Road, about 1,000 feet east of North Memorial Drive, from unoffensive industry to industry.
“We want to stay here in Greenville. We’ve been looking a few years now and finally found a location. We are confident this is the site for us and we’ve been doing our due diligence,” said Will Clark, who represented UNX-Christeyns.
Formerly UNX Industries, the company merged with Christeyns USA earlier this summer. Since 1958, UNX Industries manufactured detergents and cleaning additives in the Ficklen warehouse building in downtown Greenville.
The company’s CEO Josh Lilley told The Daily Reflector in July that a search was underway for a new location because its current manufacturing location is being renovated to open a hotel, restaurant and event space.
The council unanimously awarded a $688,050 contract to Kimley-Horn and Associates for the design and bid-phase services on the East Fourth Street Reconstruction Project.
The council unanimously approved the following annexation requests:
- 35.7 acres located at the northeastern corner of the intersection of Allen Road and the Norfolk Southern Railroad.
- 11.8 acres located at the current terminus of Great Laurel Court
The council unanimously approved the following rezoning requests:
- 3.5 acres located at the current terminus of Laurel Ridge Drive from residential medium-density multi-family to residential high-density multi-family.
- 41.67 acres located between Stantonsburg Road (U.S. 264) and MacGregor Downs Road and west of B’s Barbecue Road from general commercial to medical residential high-density multi-family.
1.89 acres located north of West Fifth Street and on the eastern side of the terminus of Moye Boulevard from medical office to general commercial.