NATIONAL NIGHT OUT
Despite being one of the hottest days of the summer, our National Night Out event was a big success with over 75 residents attending. Mayor Knox White and his wife, Marsha, attended, as did our city council representative, Amy Ryberg-Doyle and her delightful children. Also present were our city council representative at large, Susan Reynolds, and members of the Greenville city police department. The Association wishes to give a big THANK YOU to Alisha Littlejohn, marketing director for Pendleton Manor on Summit Drive, for heading up the event this year. Our business members are an important part of our community. We also wish to thank Brian Hightower of Pepsi of Greenville for the donation of the drinks and to Tim Robinson, Carol Leake, Carol Hightower, Bob Bainbridge, Jo Anne Conner, Lois Graves and Evelyn Angeletti for their assistance with setting up and cleaning up and furnishing supplies.
A list of desirable and undesirable businesses from our members was solicited in the summer newsletter. There are several properties in the area that are likely to be developed in the near future and the city has indicated that they would like to hear from the neighborhoods about what they would and would not like to see built on the properties. Bob Bainbridge has received input from a few members but we would like to see a lot more. Please email or mail Bob a list of your “do and don’t want” developed properties @email@example.com or at 36 E. Hillcrest Dr, 29609. As noted in the newsletter, this does not have to be any more than two or three items and explanations are welcome. Your voice counts!
Please mark your calendars for Thursday, October 16th at 7:00 PM at the Bobby Pearse Center. We will be having an “info fest” and will feature the latest news on all the happenings in our neighborhood. It will be a chance to socialize with your neighbors and to find out how to get involved. There’s lots going on these days so make an effort to attend and be on top of things!
WADE HAMPTON/CHURCH STREET DEVELOPMENT
The following article ran in the Greenville News a few days ago and, while the emphasis was on reaction and input from the Earle Street neighborhood, it will effect the North Main community as much as Earle Street. We urge our members and residents to voice their concerns and ideas to our city officials listed below. We feel it is best for us to let the city and the developer know how we feel before plans are more concretely laid. Both email and postal addresses are included and we ask that, if you choose to send an email, that you copy us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we will know our residents’ thoughts.
RESIDENTS WORRY ABOUT DEVELOPMENT IN GATEWAY TO DOWNTOWN
By Ben Szobody
The owner of a major slice of vacant property where Wade Hampton Boulevard flows toward downtown Greenville is asking a judge to give him a half-acre slice of unused, taxpayer-owned roadway so he can move closer to development.
That’s piqued the concerns of some residents, who say that before taxpayers relinquish the parcel the city should ensure that the site’s development will be a fitting downtown gateway and won’t detract from the nearby Earle Street neighborhood.
Landowner Steve Timmons said he’s at least two years away from developing the land and has no specific plans, but that he wants to remove a large hill of rock and dirt from the middle of the site so the property is ready when the time comes.
One resident group has called for a more restrictive zoning to ensure against “big box” retail or liquor stores on the site, which is hemmed by Wade Hampton, Stone Avenue and Church Street. Timmons said he’s talking to city officials, and that if they request a different zoning, he will have those discussions then.
“At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of trust,” Timmons said.
Resident Mike Cubelo said it’s not enough to believe Timmons will do the right thing. “We don’t trust the developers that much,” Cubelo said.
Mayor Knox White said the Timmons property is one of two “very important” pieces in the redevelopment of the corridor, and that he’d like to see the property rezoned and added to a protective district along Stone Avenue that prohibits businesses such as blood banks and used car lots.
City Councilwoman Amy Ryberg Doyle, who represents the area and campaigned on improving the Stone and Wade Hampton corridors, said she’s made clear to Timmons that she’d like to see a “smart,” green, walkable development, but stopped short of advocating a zoning change.
She said Timmons has listened to the community on another Wade Hampton project, and she believes he will do the same in this case.
Rowena Buffett Timms, president of the Colonel Elias Earle Historic District Association, said residents aren’t interested in dictating what goes on the site as much as collaborating on the “critical” planning for the overall area.
She noted the exclusion of the Wade Hampton junction from the high-profile downtown master plan recently released by city consultant Sasaki Associates, and she said it’s high time the gateway, which abuts a historic neighborhood, is planned for the future.
By any account, the vacant Timmons land is a linchpin.
The current “C3” commercial zoning for the property is designed for “regional retail shopping centers,” according to city documents, as opposed to other commercial designations for neighborhood or local commercial developments.
A Timmons firm, Central Associates LP, owns more than seven acres bisected by Column Street, a short road that connects Wade Hampton and Stone Avenue.
A “paper street” that was never paved juts into one side of the property, and City Attorney Ron McKinney said a court petition is one of two ways to get the city to abandon the slice.
The other would be to ask City Council, which discussed the issue behind closed doors but never took a formal vote.
City Manager Jim Bourey said Timmons has briefed council members in executive session because it involved a potential development agreement, and that the abandonment of the road was listed on a council agenda last year, then withdrawn at Timmons’ request. Timmons said he wanted more time to deal with the issue and talk with neighbors.
In light of Timmons’ court move, McKinney said he will discuss the city’s position with others before deciding whether to argue the request.
A letter to City Council from Timms said the site holds the potential to either anchor revitalization or stymie improvement efforts. Current zoning allows “virtually any commercial enterprise,” Timms wrote, raising the need for a “reasonable agreement” among all parties.
City zoning documents show the property would be eligible for residential, school or government buildings and commercial projects including drive-through restaurants, parking structures, banks, health clubs, convenience stores, grocery stores, liquor stores, bars and large retail spaces.
Allowed with conditions are check cashing and day labor businesses.
In addition to a zoning change to the more restrictive “planned development,” Timms called for a formal, open forum where concerns could be aired and lead to a master plan of the area. She said several other neighborhood groups have joined the effort.
White said he’s not sure the city can use the unused road as leverage, but that the council could take up a measure adding the property to the protective district along Stone Avenue, which he said should have been the case to begin with.
He said he didn’t disagree with anything in Timms’ letter, and that the property should at least have a more restrictive commercial zoning and ideally a “planned development” designation.
Timmons said he has talked to brokers for Walgreen’s about the site, but that there are no immediate plans. He said he’s hesitant to describe a development without specifics hammered out, but that it would “most likely” entail a mixed use project with office buildings and small retail shops.
“This is our front yard,” said Timmons, whose family is the longtime owner of Canal Insurance on Stone Avenue. “We’re as big a neighbor as anybody else on Earle Street.”
Timmons said he’s met with residents three times and with city officials twice as much, and he is interested in letting the neighborhood know about specific development options ó when they materialize.
Doyle said she’s told Timmons she’d like to see “smart retail,” green space and public art on the site, as befits a major entry to the downtown area. “We do not want to see a big box,” Doyle said.
She also said she’s “very open” to comments from neighbors, but that it’s not her role to take sides. Instead, she said she’s trying to balance the need for tasteful development with property rights. She said she’s pushing for a master plan of the area that ties in with downtown’s future.
“I don’t think people build junk next door,” Doyle said, adding that Timmons’ court petition is a “paper formality” that will likely be successful. “We’re not going to put junk on that corner,” she said.
314 West Earle St.
Greenville, SC 29609
Home – (864) 232-9298
Amy Ryberg Doyle
District 1 Representative
PO Box 156
Greenville, SC 29602
Home – (864) 232-7179
Knox White, Mayor
P.O. Box 2207
Greenville, SC 29602-2207
Work – (864) 467-4590
E-mail – email@example.com
Lillian Brock Flemming
Mayor Pro Tem
District 2 Representative
398 Oscar Street
Greenville, SC 29601
Work – (864) 355-3976
Home – (864) 241-8677
C. Diane Smock
PO Box 351
Greenville, SC 29602
Home: (864) 271-4381
Chandra E. Dillard
District 3 Representative
5 Alleta Avenue
Greenville, SC 29607
Work – (864) 294-2503
Home -(864) 233-6549
J. David Sudduth
Vice Mayor Pro Tem
District 4 Representative
26 McPherson Lane
Greenville, SC 29605
Work – (864) 282-4912
Home – (864) 233-4540