After more than a year of deliberation between city staff, community members and local stakeholders, the city of Greenville has released a draft of its new development code.
Chocking in at a breezy 428 pages, the draft of the code aims to put the vision of the GVL2040 comprehensive plan into action. Practically speaking, the code is a tool the city will use to determine what is allowed to be built where, while also locking in rules pertaining to various questions and subjects of debate that have been dogging developers and city residents for years.
How tall can buildings be in different areas of the city? What kind of renovations or construction can be done on a specific property? What are the rules for Airbnbs? Can a developer block the skyline view of other residents?
These questions and hundreds more are addressed in the code, which maps out the entire city based on different and distinct zoning districts.
The zoning districts are guided by the concept of nodes and corridors that group similar types of buildings and uses guided by the ideal of producing a walkable city. The updated mixed use districts in particular are meant to allow for controlled growth; they accommodate medium-intensity development that combines office, retail, service and residential uses.
Here’s a breakdown of all main districts as laid out by the new code:
- Residential housing — low-intensity housing designated for single-family dwellings and secondary units (think carriage houses)
- Residential neighborhood — expanded residential options including duplexes, triplexes, townhomes and small apartments
- Residential Community — designed for medium-intensity residential and allows for larger apartment complexes
- Mixed use — designed for moderate-intensity mixed uses that accommodate office, residential, retail and service uses
- Mixed use storefront — moderate intensity mixed use that encourages retail-ready ground floors in a pedestrian friendly environment
- Business — moderate intensity district aimed at encouraging job-creating business corridors
- Industrial — light industrial and manufacturing districts that also allow retail, commercial and service uses. Industrial flex (IX) allows some residential uses while general industrial (IG) does not.
- Special districts — These districts are meant to accommodate uses not easily served by other districts. Campus (CM) is designed for a campus-like setting with larger lots and larger buildings. Civic (CV) is aimed at encouraging public, civic and institutional uses. Park (PK) is aimed at creating and preserving open spaces.
Take a look at the map above, and this should provide a good example of how these districts are arranged.
Notice the predominance of the areas that are tinted yellow, peach or orange; these are the residential districts, which are themselves split into smaller sub-districts (hence the slight difference in their color shading). In some residential districts, for instance, two houses on one lot are acceptable. In other residential districts, only one house is allowed per lot. These small discrepancies between sub-districts are designed to accommodate a variety of low-intensity housing options and create walkable, healthy, livable neighborhoods.
You’ll also see that the yellow-ish residential areas tend to abut mixed use areas, shaded purple, which allow for buildings that combine residential space with retail space. On the other hand, industrial space, shaded dark blue, tends to be bordered by business space, shaded light blue, which allows for more separation between industry and residential areas.
The plan is still in draft form and will continue to be tweaked based on public input.
“This is the first draft of the code,” said Assistant City Manager and certified professional planner Shannon Lavrin. “We are looking forward to working with the community to receive feedback and suggestions for improvement.”
The Planning Commission will review the draft and hold public hearings on February 28 and March 1 before deliberating on March 16. It is anticipated that City Council will consider the code in the spring of 2023.