Friday, June 28, 2019

Piedmont Growth – Too Much Too Soon?

piedmont growth - too much too soon
Mark III Properties proposed subdivision
Residents and developers are clashing again in Southern Greenville County. Mark III Properties, from Spartanburg, has plans for a new 147-lot subdivision on 54 acres in Piedmont.

Residents already living in the area are expressing exhaustion with the constant development happening in recent years and the lack of infrastructure.

For Mark III Properties to build those homes, they will need to get Greenville County to agree to allow more dense zoning for this development along Furr Road. Under the current zoning of (R-S), Mark III can have 96 total lots and about two houses per acre.

Under the Mark III proposal, if they get the new zoning approved the number of houses per acre would go up to 2.7.

Residents who showed up for a recent meeting with the developer express concerns in that they want to preserve the rural atmosphere. They believe 96 homes is enough and that the developer just needs to settle with the larger lots. More than 300 signatures were collected from residents opposed to the denser housing.

The developers were asked about open space built into the design, but they responded vaguely saying they had not found a builder or drawn a final plan.

The County Council members rejected a previous version of the development citing that Furr Road just could not handle all the traffic. The developer got around that by adding assistance to pay for road improvements.

When asked what was acceptable, the residents replied in unison “R-S” which is the original zoning for the area.

The developer is pushing for an FRD or flexible review district. This would require them to submit a detailed plan which once signed off cannot be deviated from without requiring further zoning changes. It allows the county to require amenities like special lighting, walking trails, special architectural design, and green spaces but allows the developer to build the neighborhood with smaller lots.

The residents at the meeting also stated that they wanted larger homes built on larger lots with higher prices. A representative for Mark III said that is not what the market statistics are telling us to build.

The county planning director, Sarah Holt, did state that the development fits in with the county’s comprehensive plan and the southern Greenville area plan. And that housing density on either side of the site is already dense at ¼-acre and 1/3-acre lots.

Seems that the residents will be sending the developer back to the drawing board but only if the county government agrees. I believe that gone are the days when people wanted to live in largely rural areas. All the statistics on the younger upcoming groups are showing that they want to live in denser more populated areas with amenities within walking distance around them. They want to walk or pedal to work, walk or pedal home, walk or pedal to the grocery store and their entertainment.

Could it be that years of crying out for us to save the planet has finally taken root in the minds of our younger generation? Only time will tell.


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