NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH MEETING
A BIG SUCCESS
We are pleased to announce that the turn-out for the Neighborhood Watch meeting was even better than we hoped. Thanks to all who showed up despite the stormy weather. If you were unable to attend and would like to learn more about the program, contact Officer Courtney Riggins by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 467-4372. If you did not sign up at the meeting and would like to do so, please consult the map below to find your block area and email us your name, address and other pertinent info.
BI-LO CENTER OUTDOOR CONCERTS
Note that this is titled in the plural, with emphasis. As events progressed and background became known during the weekend of May 15-16, 2009, and in the days and weeks following, it became clear that neither the City nor the Bi-Lo Center expected that the “Inaugural Crawfish Boil” would be either (a) a one-time event or solitary annual occasion, nor (b) the only outdoor concert per year. Attached to this article is a time line of events with more detail.
The Bi-Lo Center and the City had been in discussions about the City’s desire to increase foot traffic to the north end of Main Street and the Bi-Lo Center’s need to increase utilization and revenue for some period before the Center even applied for the permit for the Crawfish Boil.
The cutting of at least 15 reasonably mature trees, which were part of the landscape plan required for the Bi-Lo Center even to be built, was not permitted by the City. The application the Bi-Lo Center submitted expressly required the Center to explain how the temporary use would “neither encroach into, nor create a negative impact upon: existing buffers; open space; landscaping; …..” In answering this section, the Bi-Lo Center made no mention of the tree removal and only stated: “The event site will be surrounded by temporary fence with Church Street’s side being blocked (opaque panels). We will not block public sidewalk, parking or vehicle access. Everything will take place on private property.”
This last statement may have been the source of a good bit of confusion over the weekend of the Boil as to what the City could or could not do to stop the noise from exceeding the limits under the noise ordinance.
In actuality, the Bi-Lo Center is not “private property.” It is a state-legislature created special service district with power to levy taxes. It is a public entity. It just isn’t “city-owned public” property. City and County residents help pay for bonds (loans) for the Center on their annual real property tax bills.
The Application form also required the Bi-Lo Center to explain “how the temporary use will not have substantial adverse impacts on nearby residential uses.” (Emphasis added) This is how the Bi-Lo Center responded: “The sound will not be focused toward any residential areas. Sound will focus towards Church Street Garage & East North Street. Traffic on East North Street will cancel any lingering db levels before they get to the South side of East North Street.” (Emphasis added)
Councilwoman Doyle has reported (June 9) that the City, County, Rec District, and Bi-Lo Center would be negotiating an operating agreement for the Center in about 6 months. Also, Bryan Wood, Zoning Administrator, had received a tree survey from the Center that would be used in determining if the Center violated the city landscape ordinance by cutting the 15 trees. “In the meantime, we [the City] will not grant a zoning permit for an outside use for a concert.”
This Boil incident may relate back to the City’s previously expressed intent to delineate the commercial corridors of Stone Avenue, N. Main and the adjacent residential neighborhoods as the “North End,” the entertainment district for the Central Business District. The Bi-Lo Center is at the southeastern-most corner of that “entertainment district.” The parallel is the “West End,” which has been labeled the visual arts “destination” district by the City. This observation certainly fits with the stated objective of the City in agreeing to the Bi-Lo outdoor concert as promoting foot traffic to the north end of N. Main Street.
In addition, a potential threat to both the City’s dominance of entertainment venues and the Bi-Lo Center’s desire to increase revenue and utilization is the new Heritage Park in Simpsonville which has the large outdoor amphitheater capacity for hosting national music tours–neither of which exist in the City of Greenville’s “North End” or at the Bi-Lo Center.
Attached are a Time Line of events, copies of the Bi-Lo Application for Temporary Use, the Temporary Use Permit #TPU 09-65, and City Code Section 19-4.5.2 “General Standards for All Temporary Uses and Structures.”
WAFFLE HOUSE ACTION
Dear neighbors, we have reached a critical point in our efforts regarding waffle house. We need to join our many district neighbors and supporters to be a presence at the city council meeting. A small number of our members will sign up to speak briefly just to remind the city council that we are united and organized. After a selected few speak, we can leave and not be there for the rest of the meeting. So this will not take a tremendous amount of your time. It can also be an educational experience for the entire family. Monday June 22nd city hall council chambers, 10th floor 5:30 pm please arrive by 5:15 so we can all sit together we really need numbers over the next three weeks as this issue comes to a decision. I have spoken with many association members and leaders across a number of historic districts and we all are going to be affected by c-2 zoning development if we do not speak up now. This united effort can make a difference in our home investment and the quality of life in our neighborhoods. If Waffle House goes in it will set a precedent and narrow our influence in the future. After weeks of study and time at city hall, I have learned that the waffle house is only the beginning. Please take time to join us on Monday.
Janet Vogelsang Ceedha