NMCA Position on Brookside Development

Following is a letter that was sent by the NMCA President to members of the BZA stating the association’s position on the Brookside Development issue.

2 June 2010

Members, Greenville City Board of Zoning Appeal

Dear board members,
I am writing on behalf of the North Main Community Association to express the support of our members and the 2,000 residential households we represent for the actions of the City Planning Department when the permits for Brookside Development were revoked due to failure of the developer and its employees to adhere to the clearly defined conditions under which the permits were issued. As a result of the developer’s failure to abide by all the written conditions of its permit, the regulations under which the Planning and Permitting Department operates require revocation of said permit. Additionally, these same rules require that the developer follow the current Multifamily Development Design Guidelines which will necessitate compliance with guidelines different from the previous ones under which the initial permits were issued. Since these guidelines stipulate that a development be more compatible with the surrounding neighborhood, design changes will be necessary to accommodate a 110 bedroom housing project on approximately 4 acres in a neighborhood of predominately single story, single family homes. We do not feel that a three story structure is acceptable in this setting, especially after removal of the larger trees on the site.

While the developer’s offer to replace the large trees with trees of up to 10 inch caliper seems reasonable to the uninformed, the likelihood of these trees surviving transplanting and thriving in this site has been deemed very unlikely by both a professional forester and a professional horticulturist. This leaves only the option of the developer starting the design process again and following all stipulated requirements attendant to any new permits.

The present appeal of the developer before the BZA does not appear to be a valid use of the BZA’s authority since this is not a zoning issue, but rather a matter of failure to follow the stipulations to which the developer agreed when issued the permits under which the company was operating. We are not against development nor against senior or low income housing when done right, but we do not feel that the current design is sensitive to the neighborhood in which it is being placed nor do we feel that anyone should be allowed to ignore or bend the rules to which they agreed in order to secure permits for a project of any size. While the error of tree removal may have been due to a miscommunication, the roadside trees and others on the property were to be left as part of permit stipulations and the developer is the responsible party because the permits were issued to the developer. Regardless of the cause of these mistakes, the rules clearly support the action of the City Planning and Permitting Department and we hope you will recognize and support their authority by denying the developer’s request and leaving the matter with permitting staff where it belongs. Thank you.

Sincerely,

James P. Gilreath, Ph.D.
President

NMCA Position on Brookside Development
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