Greenville city officials have given initial approval to two major planning documents that will shape future growth and development for years to come.
On Jan. 11, City Council members approved first reading of a stricter tree ordinance that would essentially require developers to replace every tree they cut down.
“The goal is not to halt or slow development but to encourage more ecologically responsive design,” said Edward Kinney, senior landscape architect for the city.
The ordinance is designed to stop the decline of Greenville’s tree canopy while ensuring that new developments have a more viable landscape design that is “aesthetic, affordable and sustainable,” according to a presentation from the city’s planning department.
Developers would also be responsible for planting one tree for every 2,000 square feet of new development, minus the building footprint, according to the proposed ordinance. The previous requirement was one new tree for every 3,000 square feet.
If trees cannot be replaced, developers would be required to plant them elsewhere or pay a fee-in-lieu of, which would go into the city’s tree fund.
Also on Jan. 12, City Council approved first reading of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail Extension Master Plan, which will guide development for the 4.5 mile trail expansion stretching from Cleveland Park to the CU-ICAR campus on Laurens Road.
The $6 million project — years in the making — is expected to be completed by spring 2022.
The master plan includes three new bridges over Laurens Road, Verdae Boulevard and Haywood Road as well as major pedestrian improvements to Laurens Road, including extra-wide crosswalks, better street lighting and a complete overhaul of the Pleasantburg Drive intersection.