The city’s proposal to rezone the Pendleton Street corridor between South Main and Academy streets passed its first hurdle Thursday night when the Greenville Planning Commission voted to recommend the changes to the city council.
The measure passed 5-2, with Chairman Jason Tankersley and Trey Gardner voting against the proposal. The City Council must give final approval to rezoning requests.
City officials said the rezoning is designed to better align zoning with current uses, encourage development compatible with the surrounding neighborhood, and create zoning that better connects the area with downtown and the Village of West Greenville.
The proposal generally down-zones property on South Academy from C-2, local commercial district, to RDV, redevelopment district, or RM-2, single and multifamily residential district. On Pendleton Street, the proposal generally down-zones property from C-3, regional commercial district, to RDV.
City Planning Director Jay Graham has said expanding the RDV designation is compatible with the changing conditions in West Greenville, West End, and Sterling.
The city’s zoning application said the RDV designation would guide redevelopment and increase the viability of the area by limiting certain uses and encouraging a pedestrian orientation with a mixed-used pattern of retail, office, and residential development.
Several residents spoke in support of the plan.
Cheryl Jenkins, who owns property on Perry Avenue, said if the rezoning weren’t done, Pendleton Street would end up like Woodruff Road, Haywood Road, and Pleasantburg Drive.
“We don’t oppose all commercial. We oppose certain types of commercial,” she said. “Help us make the transition between the commercial we know is coming…and our homes that are directly behind it.”
But some residents and some business owners spoke against the plan.
Father Patrick Tuttle of St. Anthony’s of Padua Church and several seniors at St. Joseph’s Catholic School told commissioners the rezoning provided no protection for low-income residents who already live in the neighborhood who would be forced out by rising property values and taxes.
“It will absolutely gentrify our neighborhood,” Tuttle said.
David Stone said his family has been long-term property owners in the area and has provided “three generations of affordable housing.” He said his family renovated an apartment complex that fronts Academy Street during the recession with the expectation of doing commercial development in the future. He said if the measure passes, the family will seek legal action.
Dino Hassiotis, who owns the Pendleton Street property where OJ’s Diner operations with his brother, George, said the change would adversely affect his property value. He said their ability to attract a new tenant for the restaurant if OJ’s would be reduced because the new RDV zoning does not allow drive-thrus as a right.
If the proposed rezoning is adopted, city community development administrator Ginny Stroud said OJ’s Restaurant would be considered a non-conforming use because of the drive-thru. OJ’s would be able to operate the restaurant as long as they wish in that non-conforming state, she said. If operations cease for a six-month period, any redevelopment would have to conform to the RDV zoning.
Under RDV zoning, a drive-thru is a conditional use. A conditional use may impose conditions, such as buffering between the commercial and residential uses, specific hours of operation, required lighting and noise mitigation, to promote the peaceful co-existence between the commercial and residential uses.
The City Council is expected to consider the rezoning at its Jan. 28 meeting.