An open letter to Greenville’s City Council.
On behalf of the more than 3,000 members of the Greater Greenville Association of REALTORS® I am expressing our opposition to the proposed, temporary moratorium. We generally give pause to any proposed moratoria, as they often have a negative effect on the local real estate market. The GGAR believes that a moratorium is neither an appropriate nor effective planning tool. The GGAR opposes the use of moratorium to deny the use and development of private property.
In the proposed ordinance, the city cites the need to pause, for a period of six months, certain types of development to address the new land management ordinance. It is completely reasonable to think that the RFP and drafting process for the new LMO will take far longer than six months, therefore it is reasonable to see how this moratorium will be extended far beyond six months. We urge council to consider the deep impacts this ordinance will have as it also denies occupancy permits, sign permits, interior work, etc. The GGAR is also concerned about the denial of access to goods and services to areas of the city that need investment.
This proposal will have wide and lasting negative effects on the city’s residents, business owners and the real estate market as it targets multifamily, commercial and industrial uses. Below are several points we would like to share with council members.
- The ordinance’s own rationale states that the temporary moratorium is only needed to give the city time to address the creation of the new land management ordinance, a process that by some estimates could take as long as 18 months. We have serious concerns that if this moratorium were to be put in place it would be extended well beyond the proposed six months.
- Economic development and commercial investment are not something you can simply hit “pause” without lasting negative impacts. There are investors, national franchises, financing processes all to consider. All of which are being impacted by even the consideration of this proposal. Economic investment hates uncertainty.
- Many of the areas where this moratorium will be applied are potential sites for commercial investment. That investment means pharmacies, groceries, daycares and all manner of goods and services needed by residents. Many of these areas need reinvestment.
- Citing the city’s own newly adopted comprehensive plan, “Greenville has to be open for business, so that as we grow, we do so in the kinds of profitable ways that will ensure the city’s tax base remains strong and can help pay for community priorities.” (page 10, GVL2040). Considering a moratorium creates the opposite optics of “Greenville is open for business.”
- City Council has also prioritized “affordable housing opportunities.” This proposal will impact multifamily units further limiting housing options and impacting affordability.
- Has council considered how this will impact providing needed residential densities to fully support the surrounding commercial goods and services needed?
- Let us not forget that multifamily is not only large apartment buildings but also housing options such as a triplex, fourplex, etc. These are all “missing middle housing” concepts the city was very interested in a year ago.
- We would encourage council to consider the tax revenue multifamily provides the city and how a reduction would impact the funding of those “community priorities.”
We believe that a moratorium is not an appropriate nor effective planning tool and is a poison pill for economic development. Again, we strongly urge council to address this matter in a timely fashion and vote down the proposed ordinance.
For these reasons, the GGAR strongly urges council to table this proposal.
Chris Bailey, RCE
Government Affairs Director
Greater Greenville Association of REALTORS®