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Posts posted by Spartan

  1. 23 hours ago, westsider28 said:

    The hotel will be up for final approval at tomorrow's DRB meeting.  The black center section is now "thin brick" rather than aluminum panels.  You can also see the HVAC vents more accurately.  Subtle changes again overall.   Here's the packet (PDF).  And here's the City consultant's recommendation.  He recommends simplifying the overall color palate and that perhaps the brick should all be the same color.  He also mentions a blank wall portion on the west side, and at least adding a design element there (if not windows). 

    Finally, the consultant says that the eastern sidewalk needs to better transition to the sidewalk in front of the George (like moving the pole to allow a wider sidewalk).  @Spartan your post about that actually inspired me to write an e-mail to the City Manager, so I'm glad to see the issue has gotten attention.  I hope it is addressed.



  2. On 1/22/2021 at 8:20 PM, j-man said:

    Random, but I was looking at some ariel photos of Atlanta and I was so shocked to see how many high rise buildings have been completed recently downtown and in midtown. I’m glad they’re really growing with more density centrally rather than the usual sprawl. & Trust me I too hate the CLT/ATL comparisons but I hope that with Charlotte reaching nearly one million residents, the planners and developers seek to stop the sprawl and destruction of all the beautiful trees and uninhabited  areas just to put 2 and 3 story apartments with large surface lots, and start to just build higher & closer together. I know, I know that more goes into that idea and it gets complicated, but no city with this many people should have such a small center city. I’m not knocking it because I know it’s growing but I feel like so many developments are just spreading and making pockets of low/midrise density instead of lots of major density in places like Uptown. I just want this city to thrive and not just be another cookie cutter city filled with urban sprawl, roundabouts, and strip malls on every other corner you turn.

    Catching up on this thread: Something to think about for perspective, the city of Charlotte is projected to growth by 400k people over the next 20 years and so is the city of Atlanta. They have a much smaller footprint than Charlotte, so they are going to see a lot more dense urban projects. Probably higher housing costs too.

    • Like 1

  3. 25 minutes ago, Greenville Paladin said:

    More industrial businesses would be logical.  That area is mostly industrial.

    I would not mind seeing another supermarket and a drugstore at North Town if it is razed and rebuilt.  The trade area has been a pharmacy desert since 2008 when Rite Aid #11596 closed.  It will become grocery, meat/seafood, and produce deserts after BI-LO #5265 closes.  Food remains available at restaurants along Asheville Highway.

    I think it is time to improve Hearon Circle.   Hearon Circle has two continuous lanes.  It is time to restripe and reconfigure traffic flow like multilane roundabouts.

    Ready to try 1 lane again? :tw_lol:

  4. On 3/19/2021 at 6:41 AM, gman430 said:

    Maybe something like what they’re doing to Field Street in Greenville would work well with Morgan Square in Spartanburg: 



    On 3/19/2021 at 6:55 AM, Skyliner said:

    I see much more potential at Morgan Square.  Perhaps a portion of the square could be utilized for similar purposes, but it is wider than Field Street/Jackson Way, and it is (or should be) the centerpiece of pedestrian activity in Spartanburg.  Jackson Way will become another node of pedestrian activity in Greenville, but never the centerpiece.


    I think Field Street is a good example of what I'm talking about for Main Street itself, between Liberty and Church specifically. I agree that the larger square needs to be included / factored into the design concept somehow. The context isn't the same, but the concept is certainly relevant.

  5. 5 hours ago, gman430 said:

    I’m against closing off the street to vehicular traffic. Several cities throughout the country have tried closing off their Main Street and making it pedestrian only. The vast majority of these endeavors have failed miserably. Denver is a rare exception. There is a very good reason why Greenville and Charleston haven’t gone this route.

    Spartanburg is one of those cities, too. The Main Street Mall from Church to Converse St was part of why downtown struggled so much in the 70s-80s (along with the national trend toward suburbia). Pedestrian-only areas make sense under the right conditions - just look at any European city. You just need a critical mass of pedestrians. IMO, Greenville could, hypothetically, convert their entire Main Street (in downtown, not West End) to a pedestrian-only street and it would work well. I'm not convinced that Spartanburg has reached that point, but if it has, Morgan Square is the place where it could happen. I don't think it would work anywhere else.

    I fall more in the "stay open" side, but with compromise built in by design. Redesign the Square to include a woonerf-style "festival" street like in Greer that is clearly intended for pedestrians, that doesn't preclude SLOW vehicular access, and that can be easily closed to create a larger plaza across the square when needed. 

    I do think, however, if they close the street permanently, that the Square will be ok. 

    • Like 1

  6. Sorry to seem so cynical/skeptical about this. I want to clarify that I am in support of this mixed-use amendment, but I think this just highlights how ridiculous the County's development regulations are. My skepticism is not based on the concept, but how it would be applied in Spartanburg County. Huntersville (Birkdale) has a form-based code, and Waverly and Rea Farms in Charlotte are based on the city's MUDD zoning district and other land development ordinances, which are quite strong compared to Spartanburg's.

    For example, Charlotte has the Urban Street Design Guidelines, the Tree Ordinance, and Stormwater ordinance that each contribute in their own way to the way those projects are built. Street design itself can make or break a mixed use project. Just look at Ayrsley. The USDG policies resulted in changes to the city's subdivision ordinance that require context-sensitive street designs and street networks that accommodate all modes. Further, Waverly and Rea Farms necessitated widening Providence Road to 8+ lanes of traffic, effectively killing any chance of external walkability around otherwise more or less walkable developments.

    Ostensibly, any developer would want to build good streets as a part of their project. It isn't clear to me based on that ordinance amendment what determines street dimensions. So, if the internal street requirements are based on Spartanburg County's subdivision ordinance streets, then the result is going to be very wide and therefore pedestrian unfriendly streets.  That said, I am admittedly not familiar with Spartanburg's regulations so perhaps it's an assumption on my part that the County's development ordinances don't have the teeth that I think would be needed to ensure we can get developments of high quality across the board. I'm basing my opinion purely on many decades of observation of development in the county. I suspect y'all on this forum are more familiar with those processes than me, so if anyone has information that can help me understand how the pieces fit together here I'd love to hear it.

  7. Its a step forward... but it ensures that we'll never see mixed use development in the unincorporated areas near the city limits. The minimum acreage is 10 acres, and it has to include single family? I tried to find the actual ordinance being considered, but after 20 minutes of looking I'm giving up. Based on the coverage in the HJ, it sounds "ok" in the sense that its better than not allowing mixed use development, but I'm highly skeptical that this will result in well-designed mixed use. The lack of design regulations is going to result in poorly designed projects that don't contribute anything to the surrounding area or the county. 

    The County needs to step up and do something better than this. Beaufort County's form-based approach is a sight to behold, and it's making lot of change for the better in that county.

    7 hours ago, Santi said:

    So it did pass, and here is an article from GoUpstate: https://www.goupstate.com/story/news/local/2021/03/16/spartanburg-county-oks-mixed-use-development-sought-developers/6943594002/

    I'd still like to check into it if this hadn't been published.

    Excited to see where this will take us!

    Edit: a final approval is still needed, likely in May. Still a step forward!

    Thanks for the update and welcome to the forum!

  8. It looks like Spartanburg County is taking small steps into the 20th century.  Their lack of zoning and reliance on an outdated "land management" ordinance does not allow mixed use development, so they are now looking at an amendment to allow it. Apparently they have had to turn away developers, most of whom expect and rely on zoning as a tool to enable their business and ensure that everyone else is playing by the same rules. I'm in favor of the changes, but the overall lack of progress in this area is disheartening to say the least. Everyone talks about not becoming the next Atlanta, but nobody wants to do anything about it.




  9. 12 hours ago, djh1963 said:

    The one thing that strikes me while looking at these photos is that Spartanburg has wasted a lot of space for surface  parking lots  over the years.




    On 3/8/2021 at 9:29 AM, roads-scholar said:

    Fantastic historical resource.  Its fascinating how dense downtown was in 1956!

    Thanks for sharing. I've seen a lot of historic photos, but never any of these!

  10. TBH, the power pole issue is fairly minor and IMO is a bit of a copout by the developer. It's totally possible to work with Duke Power on that design and find some sort of compromise. They could go behind the pole and in front of the transformer. At a minimum they make sidewalk guy wires specifically for this purpose and you could pave up to the edge of that transformer, resulting in at least an 8-10ft wide sidewalk (estimate based on that site plan) for the ~10-15 ft needed to get around the power pole and transformer.

    I realize that is pretty nitpicky, but the details matter when it comes to creating a great urban environment for pedestrians. They wouldn't settle for this in Greenville, Charleston, or Charlotte (etc.), so we shouldn't settle for it here either.

    • Like 1

  11. 16 hours ago, westsider28 said:

    Yeah, the wall at the Union-Kennedy corner does seem a bit tall.  It's tricky to get all parts of the building to work well when there are elevation changes.

    As for the detention pond, I think the City needs to reevaluate their stormwater regulations, because I agree that it hinders good urbanism.  I get that the ponds reduce flow into the sewer system during heavy rain events and help filter the water, but I feel like I don't see them in any other city.  Maybe permeable pavement or several smaller bioswales could be an alternative.

    True. It comes with the territory with larger footprint buildings. This is a great example of where good urbanism runs into the obstacles of suburban development regulations.


  12. On 3/3/2021 at 10:25 PM, westsider28 said:

    The Urban Code actually requires elevation (2 feet min) for ground-floor residential entrances (stoops).  I agree that momentum is building for downtown living.

    I am fully in favor of stoops, and I'm glad to see that the bottom floor has street access from each unit. I was looking at the first 2-3 renderings in that series you posted on Monday, and the walls are what jump out at me. The corner feels like a giant wall and what I assume is the Union St elevation feels like the wall gets a bit tall on the right side. IMO just feels like the whole back end could drop about 3-5 ft vertically and it would still work. Or you could raise it 2-3 feet and add a ground level on that end.

    Oh, and what's up with that detention pond? Not a fan of that. I support green infrastructure and protecting watersheds, but detention ponds feel very suburban to me.

    I realize it seems like I'm just complaining. I really do like this project, overall.



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