NMCA Newsletter (12/08)

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The Annual General Meeting and election of officers was held Thursday, Dec. 11 at the Bobby Pearse Community Center and all present officers were re-elected for 2009 as follows:

President: Steve Mills
Vice President: Bob Bainbridge
Treasurer: Lois Graves
Membership Secretary: Evelyn Angeletti
Recording Secretary: Jean Martin

This will be the final year these officers can serve so please let us know over the coming months if you have or know someone who has an interest in becoming an officer. It is a wonderful opportunity to serve the community and to get to know some delightful people.

Motions were made and it was voted to allot $2000 for future plantings and renovations at the Rotary Park. The city had no funds available to us this year for this purpose and will likely not be able to fund improvements in the coming year. It was also voted to allot $2500 to support planning studies, which may include a city Wade Hampton Corridor Plan or other efforts, at the discretion of the board. This will help to insure desirable growth in the area and to more strongly support the interests of the community. Our membership will be informed when and exactly how these funds will be dispersed when it occurs.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT UPDATE

Members of the North Main Community Association Dec. 11, 2008

The following report on the current planning process as it impacts our area was prepared by Mike Mecklenburg, and clearly outlines what is happening and what we can do to make sure it meets our needs as much as possible. I have edited the summary to reflect more strictly North Main concerns. Robert W. Bainbridge, Vice-President, NMCA.

As many of you know, the City of Greenville is in the process putting together a comprehensive master plan for the entire city as required every ten years by SC state law. As part of this endeavor, the city planners have re-visited land use classifications throughout the city. The goal of Plan-it Greenville, as this process is called, is to help planners address current development trends and determine a vision for future development and growth in Greenville. The penultimate version of the revised land use classification was presented to the public on November 18th. This draft was the result of over a year of work by volunteer committees and the city’s planning staff, as well as input by the public.

Before this draft goes to City Council for final approval early next year, we have the opportunity between now and the end of the year to send our comments to city planners. The revised land use classifications will set the stage for later, more specific changes to current zoning that will have a direct impact on your property and the quality of life in the North Main Community. I cannot stress enough how important your input is.

General Comments

Before getting into specifics, please remember that land use classification and zoning are separate, albeit related. The revised land use classification is not re-zoning. Re-zoning will happen later, after the completion of the Comprehensive Plan, and will – hopefully – also involve public input. But re-zoning will be based on land use, so your input now, as well as in the future, is critical. Go to the Plan-it Greenville website for more background: http://www.planitgreenville.com/ If you study the attached documents and those on the Plan-it Greenville website, you will see that the long-term vision for Greenville is more mixed-use development – a greater mix of residential, retail, and workplace than now currently exists – and a more densely populated city.

The two notions go hand-in-hand: the former will help bring about the latter. Some of the purported benefits of this vision are:

• a city where you can walk or cycle between your home, work and shopping. Surveys have determined that many residents would
like to live, work and shop in more compact, pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods.

• a more sustainable city – within our city limits we have many areas that are vacant and/or underused, while the wasteful suburban sprawl continues to gobble surrounding areas outside the city limits

• growing the city from within – our city cannot and probably should not (see above) expand outward. Yet if the city does not increase its residential and commercial tax base, in thirty years Greenville may look like it did thirty years ago.

Cities have to evolve and adapt to survive. The key is managing the evolution while preserving the good. The land use classifications are the first step toward managing the evolution, but the real change will come as the specific zoning is implemented. It’s all in the details, as you will see below. Again, that’s why it’s important that we become involved now and stay involved.

Issues Most Pertinent to North Main Residents

Our biggest concern is the re-classification of Stone Avenue, North Main, Rutherford and Buncombe Streets and (lower) Wade Hampton Avenue. To better understand the issues, please consult the maps that can be found at http://www.planitgreenville.com/LandUseMap.aspx. Please note that most of our neighborhood lies in Council District One — the area south of Ashley Avenue and west of Main Street lies in Council District Two. You can compare these maps to the current land use map on this link.
For current zoning, look to this link.

Stone Avenue and North Main

Changes – Stone Avenue’s land use classifications currently include: Offices (West Stone) and Commercial, Vacant and Transitional. The zoning is OD (Office District) and C-2 (Commercial). North Main is currently C-2 from Academy Street to Stone Avenue. The proposed change for East and West Stone (up to Rutherford) is Mixed Use Neighborhood (MUN) which does not allow for drive-through retail or uses over 10,000sq.ft. The notable exception to this classification is the 7-acre Collins property at the corner of Stone and North Main. This site is part of the Mixed Use Community (MUC) classification of North Main, north of Academy up to Stone. This allows for retail up to 75,000 sq.ft.

Comments — This classification of MUN for Stone is great – and was the direct result of earlier input by neighborhood residents. Our input does have an effect. This classification will hopefully rid us of any drug store or fast food concerns. This classification will encourage the small-scale neighborhood retail we need and want. My concern is the jump in allowable square footage from MUN – 10,000 sq. ft. on Stone — to MUC – 75,000 sq. ft. on North Main. This is a big jump, but again, something that could be addressed by more specific zoning restrictions. Personally, I am wary of MUC in our neighborhood and believe that without future zoning restrictions, this classification could be the window to abusive development. In your comments, I would suggest you address this concern.

(Note by Bob Bainbridge: In the Plan-It Greenville process I have recommended a classification in between MUN and MUC. I have also recommended a Neighborhood Transitional Overlay District to provide additional design controls.) The planning staff argues that the Collins site was classified MUC because the site is large and many residents expressed a desire for a grocery store on North Main. (I guess the baby Bi-Lo does not count). The city envisions something like McBee Station – minus the rental apartments — on this site. If that’s true, I think such a mixed use development with a pedestrian arcade and a grocery store unobtrusively wrapped into condos and smaller retail would be a great addition to our neighborhood. But as mentioned earlier, the details are what count. Specific zoning and enforceable design guidelines regarding scale and will be the key to creating a successful, long-term development that will benefit our neighborhood. The same holds true for the rest of North Main Street from Academy to Stone. Also remember that North Main Street is adjacent to our friends and neighbors in the East Park and Heritage Historic districts.

Wade Hampton Boulevard-Church Street – Stone Avenue area

Changes – Lower Wade Hampton, from Church to Stone, as well adjacent property along Column and Church, was recently re-zoned C-2 from C-3.
This includes the small strip malls along Mohawk, just east of Earle and Cary Streets. All of this area east of Wade Hampton has now been classified as Mixed Use Community (MUC). This is the same classification for almost the entire stretch of Wade Hampton up to Bob Jones University. Again this allows for retail up to 75,000 sq. ft. and has been questioned by our friends with the Dellwood Community Association. The area west of Wade Hampton has been classified MUN and Urban Residential, which provides some buffer.

Comments – Lower Wade Hampton is a particularly sensitive area. The small strip malls along Mohawk, just east of Earle and Cary Streets are right next to our neighborhood, and currently provide us with a variety of small scale retail services. These sites appear too small to support MUC. This concentration of small shops currently there should be changed to an MUN classification, to further promote a purpose they currently serve. Also note that across Wade Hampton is the Timmons property – also classified as MUC. As we all know, the property owner at one time envisioned a Walgreen’s on this site, a type of development allowable under MUC. Because this property is at such an important portal to downtown Greenville, the site in particular needs special consideration and protection. Please consider this in your comments.

The real problem with lower Wade Hampton is that is was poorly planned 60 years ago and was thoughtlessly shoved through existing streets. The result is that now we have property, such as the Timmons site, which is cut off and marooned in a sea of obsolete and confusing traffic patterns.
This should be addressed at some point, but is beyond the scope of this summary. (Note from Bob Bainbridge: I have suggested the need to narrow or eliminate Wade Hampton in this area and to rework the streets to make them more functional and pedestrian friendly.)

Upper Main Street and Rutherford Road (by Bob Bainbridge)

Changes – Small non-residential areas at North Main and Rutherford (Parkersway), the Northgate Shopping Center, and the intersection of Chick Springs and Rutherford (Meyer Center) are classified as Mixed Use Neighborhood. The Bi-Lo shopping center at Rutherford and North Pleasantburg is classified Mixed Use Community, as is a small area along Rutherford west of Paris View Drive, and a few parcels on Rutherford near Poinsett Highway (Shaw’s Pharmacy area).

Comments – The classifications generally suit what is there now, but there is a strong case that the Shaw’s Pharmacy area is more of the character of Mixed Use Neighborhood.

I hope this helps in understanding what is happening and where we stand. And be sure an email your comments to Jennifer Rigby at the City of Greenville. Her email is: planit@greenvillesc.gov or jrigby@greenvillesc.gov. She is very friendly and open to our comments.

CITIZENS ACADEMY FOR THE GREENVILLE POLICE DEPT

The Greenville Police Department has begun an initiative to involve more citizen input. As you know, public safety is a collaboration between citizens and police. Many neighbors have expressed an interest in developing or enhancing their neighborhood watch programs. The Police Department would like to assist in your efforts.

The Citizens’ Education Academy had been designed as a mechanism to bridge the gap between Law Enforcement and the citizens that the Greenville Police Department serves. The paramount idea is to educate the public about the operations of the Greenville Police Department so that preconceived notions can be dispelled. The Citizens’ Education Academy will also inform the participants about Greenville City offered services and avenues to find help.

Citizens’ Education Academy Objectives:

• To forge a strong, lasting partnership between law enforcement and citizens
• To gain citizen support by explaining department operations and encouraging citizens to give input to assisting in making our community safer
• To provide citizens a better comprehension of the Greenville Police Department functions
1. How policies come about
2. The decision making process, and;
3. What an officer contends with during a tour of duty
• To provide our officers with a better feel for the concerns of citizens and their perceptions
• To provide a mechanism for educating and bonding with citizens on a continuing basis, to the benefit of both the community and law enforcement
• To encourage community involvement and a sense of ownership of law enforcement issues, problems and solutions

Who can attend? Any resident of the City of Greenville age 18 and above can attend. Where are the classes? Classes will be held at the Law Enforcement Center on the second floor in the conference room (4 McGee St, Greenville, SC 29601).

When do classes begin and how long do they last? Classes begin on Tuesday, January 13, 2009, and will go through March 17, 2009. There will be a total of ten sessions. Sessions will be held every Tuesday from 5:30 P.M. until 7:30 P.M.

Who teaches the classes? Participants will be exposed to presenters who are employed by the Greenville Police Department and other areas of the City of Greenville.

Is there a fee to attend? No. The City of Greenville funds the program.

If you have any questions concerning this event, please contact me by phone or email. Happy Holidays and be safe!

Courtney

CL Riggins
Crime Prevention Specialist
4 McGee St
Greenville, SC 29601
(864)467-4372

OUR BUSINESS MEMBERS

The vast majority of our membership consists of individuals and families in the community but we also have several businesses that have joined this year. Since we do not allow advertising in our publications, these businesses elect to join simply as a show of support for the neighborhood. We felt it was appropriate to acknowledge and thank the following business members of the North Main Community Association:

3 D Land Surveying Inc.
Creations Hair & Nail Studio
G.A. Zeigler Construction Company
Gary Hester Interiors
Global View LLC
Holmes Law Firm
Home Repairs & Remodeling Services
Horizon Records
Howard Liquors
Jordan Lumber Company
Nancy’s Alteration Shoppe
Northgate Beauty Salon
NV Salon
Palmetto Music
Parkersway Food
Pendleton Manor
Pope, Smith, Brown & King CPAs
Project Care
Royal Engineering Inc.
Sawmill @ North Main
Summit Dr. Elem School
The Marchant Co. Inc.
Wild Earth Landscaping
Wm. K. Hightower Insurance

NMCA Newsletter (12/08)
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