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Everything posted by Spartan

  1. The blue SC highway signs are also starting to fade. Just chalk it up to SCDOT's lack of resources and poor management decisions.
  2. Looks like residential + office. I'm really at a loss for words at the moment. I think any investment in downtown is great. There is so much opportunity here, and any addition of workers and residents will be a huge boon to the city. It looks like they're following the urban code to a T (which is good because they have no choice haha) and stepping back the high rise portions of the development. I am sad for the loss of otherwise viable historic buildings. Saving the façades is the most important part so no complaints there, but it's a shame that there doesn't seem to be a will to renovate/restore those buildings as-is and build this scale of building one block over. I have to say, though, that I don't care for the cantilevered look on the buildings. Just give us a solid mass and a traditional looking "high-rise" to blend in with the rest of Main Street. As much as I support developments like this, I find it confounding that more of the parking lots and class b/c office spaces aren't being developed instead (I'm looking at you, United Community Bank) - but maybe this is the lynchpin. Once the "cool" parts of Main Street are fully occupied then good development will spread around to other blocks.
  3. I'm surprised we haven't seen a thread about this yet. The US Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a 12ft seawall around all of downtown Charleston. Here are some links: https://e360.yale.edu/features/fortress-charleston-will-walling-off-the-city-hold-back-the-waters https://www.postandcourier.com/news/your-questions-answered-on-the-updated-1-1b-sea-wall-proposal-for-charleston/article_0661bea8-14bb-11ec-928d-1bfa94876271.html https://www.sac.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Supplemental-Funding/Charleston-Peninsula-Study/ https://abcnews4.com/news/local/billion-dollar-seawall-around-charleston-proposed-to-battle-future-hurricane-storm-surge In particular, the Charleston Design Division has a particularly good analysis of the impacts an opportunities. The Coastal Conservation League is a bit more critical. Anecdotally, I know there is quite a bit of flooding on a frequent basis in downtown, especially near MUSC and the crosstown, which is problematic for many reasons. In general, it looks like it would add about 3 feet to the High Battery, which is roughly the same height is the railing columns that are there today. The impacts further back from the peninsula are much more stark. If something like this goes forward I hope the Design Division's vision to make it less visually impactful is successful.
  4. This seems like a lot of wasted $$ if you ask me. A convention center and a ped bridge for its users to walk to Memorial Auditorium? We would be better served by traffic calming Church Street and making it safer to cross with medians, trees, a pedestrian stop light, and wider sidewalks along Church. The redevelopment of that site, however, would be great. Make intentional decisions to connect Wofford, VCOM, and downtown with active street-facing buildings that include residential/office and other mixed use activities? That's a winner.
  5. I agree. I personally don't see the draw to Myrtle Beach. Charleston and the Lowcountry, however, I get.
  6. CDOT and CATS would be on board if you could convince all of the hotels and businesses along Trade Street that they don't need driveway access to their buildings.
  7. Yes, the area of applicability is substantially different. FBC can work at any scale and with any form, but it is designed to support integrated, walkable mixed use environments so it isn't the ideal solution for suburban style SFR neighborhoods and strip commercial development unless there is some desire to have those types of places evolve. Personally I fault City's leadership for not pushing the FBC concept across the board, and also the portions of the development community that are pushing back against changes to the status quo (ie: REBIC). The UDO does use form-based concepts in its non-residential and non-industrial areas (ie: activity centers), which is why I said its a hybrid approach. The way its shaped in this document is a bit clunky, but it achieves the same end for those areas in the same way that the TOD ordinance adopted a few years ago does. The areas that need more mixture of uses and walkability will now have the regulatory framework to support their evolution as long as there is market demand for development. The City will likely struggle with saying "no" in some parts of the city, which is what is needed to encourage development in other parts of the City that would benefit from new private sector investment. Spartanburg's history includes a lot of plans that relied heavily on "big fish" projects to catalyze economic activity. The key concept of any good urban place is smaller scale incremental development. Charlotte is unique in that the demand to be here is so ridiculously high that massive developments are to some extent the norm, or at least expected to happen regularly.
  8. Yep, the UDO does have some form-based principles, which is why I said it's a hybrid model. I understand this is a bit wonky, so thanks for looking up all of that. FBCs seek primarily to regulate the look/feel of the built environment based on scale an placement of buildings based on the rural-urban transect, not land use, and it does this through highly visual graphics and simple charts that anyone can understand. By focusing less on land use, and instead on the size of buildings to differentiate zoning districts, it enables the creation of more walkable, mixed use environments. Euclidean zoning seeks to separate and regulate land uses based on the idea that different use types are inherently incompatible and should be separated. By focusing on the building rather than what's going on inside of it, you are able to get a good built environment with buildings that are adaptable and reusable. The UDO is not based on the transect, and among other things, focuses quite a bit on specific land uses as the foundation for differentiating districts (ie: single family, auto-oriented commercial, etc.). This alone is going to create situations where people are going to continue to have contentious rezonings in neighborhoods, and in places will continue to prevent a mixture of uses that leads to a better built environment. Keep in mind, too, that the FBC vs Euclidean discussion only applies to zoning and land use regulation, not all of the other content in the UDO. Here is a sample FBC that is pretty good in case you want to see what one looks like.
  9. Meaning they have more parking than they want, or they feel like they need more? This is great news though! I feel like there are a lot of cool old buildings along Union that could be repurposed... this is not one of them. Glad to see this one go.
  10. TBH, part of the issue with the UDO is the community's obsession with Single Family residential development. As we saw from the adoption of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, people lose their minds when anything could disturb the sacred tranquility of the cul-de-sac lifestyle, and there is a "YE SHALL NOT TOUCH SINGLE FAMILY" attitude that persists among elected officials. So, the Planning Department has to live in that world and deal with the day-to-day realities of angry citizens and politicians while also having to deal with the realities of growth. City Council likes to pretend they get it, but until we actually agree that permanent SFR neighborhoods suck the lifeblood out of a city we will continue to bend over for them. So, with that rant over I offer the following: Place Types is NOT zoning. Place Types is a future land use map like you would find in any of the City's past Area Planning processes. There will be a separate zoning map, but in many cases you will find it to be very similar to the Place Types map, especially in places that will tend to be more urban in character like Commercial Centers, Regional Centers, etc. The relationship between the 2040 Plan, Place Types and the UDO is not being communicated very well. The UDO is designed from the ground up to implement the 2040 Plan, and Place Types is the link. The idea is that Place Types are used to group compatible land uses (based on policies/concepts from the 2040 Plan) that the UDO then regulates. Place Types are, in principle, a hybrid form-based & Euclidean model of organizing land uses. The reason for a hybrid approach is so that SFR can continue to be regulated in a more Euclidean way while allowing more urban areas to have something that is more similar to a form-based approach. This is how the City has placated to SFR. If you all recall, the TOD Zoning Amendment a few years ago was the beginning of this approach, and although it certainly wasn't perfect, I would argue that it has helped create better products from the development community in a more consistent way. For example, newer South End developments generally have pretty good streetscape experiences for pedestrians. Maybe not perfect, but much better than the horrible podium developments with walls of parking decks fronting the street that we used to get. The point of Place Types is to map the desired future land uses based on adopted policy. The UDO serves as the implementation mechanism via regulation. The goal is to make it easy for the community to do business where it is consistent with the plan. I think the UDO creates more opportunities for better urban development across the board. For example, if you look at the use table for Community Activity Centers, you can have residential zoning, office / mixed use development/dog grooming/bars/etc. by right. This means that in CAC areas, you will not have to rezone to start a business, build an apartment building, open a brewery, or the like, nor will you have to rezone if you want to open a restaurant in a building that used to be a gas station or a warehouse. That saves time, money, and effort on startup costs, pro formas, etc. and fewer meetings with city officials. The rezoning associated with this should, in theory, be proactive in the way that the TOD zoning was a few years ago. It should rezone areas to districts that support the Place Types identified for a given area, thereby changing the land entitlements such that it allows the type of development the community wants in places where it should be (ie: remove barriers to development in places where its wanted). I generally agree that the UDO is too Euclidean in structure. For those of you who aren't urban planning nerds, here is a good primer on the difference between them. The one sentence summary is that FBC controls the shape and placement of a building (ie: how it looks) rather than the stuff going on inside of it. The idea is that traditionally, cities evolved with good urban form by default, and the uses were dictated by things like the market, economy, geography, topography, etc. I would love to see a pure form-based code like some other large cities have done (ie: Miami), but since I have no control over it, my attitude/approach is based on whether the proposed suite of plans, policies, regulations is an improvement over the status quo of the past few decades, and the answer, IMO, is a resounding YES..
  11. I can't make the meetings but I plan on spending some time with this and providing extensive comments.
  12. For the sake of conversation, does Horry County have an "upper limit"? It's a fascinating place mainly because it's a one-horse economy, and aside from the beach and golf, I don't understand why anyone would live there over Florida. The Grand Strand is pretty much entirely built out at this point, right? So, as far as I can tell, the vast majority of the growth has been inland between MB and Conway, and TBH I don't understand why anyone wants to live there. Is the draw to be in new clone snout houses near golf courses really that strong? Also, at what point do Baby Boomers stop moving there to retire (eg: either because there are no more left to retire or because it becomes unattractive for some reason)? How far inland will people be willing to move before it's not really worth living near Myrtle Beach anymore? Its easy to look to neighbors for comparison, but both Charleston and even Wilmington have significant non-tourism sectors in their economy. Inland Charleston is driven by real growth in industry. I don't know as much about Wilmington, but I know they have real business downtown and have a small but respectable port operation. Is there a similar situation in Florida?
  13. The new one at EastWest Station is much worse than this one. The economics of podium development is infuriating. At no point should 50% of a buildings mass exist for the sole purpose of storing cars for less than 50% of the day.
  14. Disagree. If you only connect rich white uptown workers to the airport and not the neighborhoods in-between, then you're missing the point of the train. CLT is only a 10 min drive from uptown, so in all actuality a train is not necessary. Its true that the Silver Line alignment is largely not a good place for a light rail line, but then, the same is true for pretty much everywhere in Charlotte. The reality is train is not solely about connecting existing places, it is about creating a catalyst for transformative change in land use patterns over time. Connecting to the Blue Line at 11th St is not that big of a deal. If transferring or walking an extra 4 blocks is a deal breaker then you probably weren't going to ride the train anyway. That said, it won't surprise me if the rich bankers decide they'd rather pay an extra $2b for the train just so it can run 4 blocks closer to their office.
  15. Just wondering if anyone else noticed this on the Station Area Planning page: https://www.catssilverline.com/station-5
  16. Can we all just agree this is a parking deck with a 8 story building on it?
  17. I hope they name it "The Mills at Whitney, by God."
  18. Yes, remove the parking altogether, or copy Greer and do a festival street design that lets you open/close as much or as little of the street as you want. Go here and scroll down about 3/4 of the page to the "what people say" section for a pic. https://www.greerstation.com
  19. Good point. It could still be converted into a park, though. That's basically all you can do with otherwise unusable land.
  20. Yeah, Butterfly Creek runs underneath Wakefield Buick. What'd like to see is a few of those vacant parcels on Walker turned into a public park. Then dam up Butterfly Creek somewhere near Henry St and create a good sized pond between Henry and West Main and make a nice park out of an area that is unbuildable for development.
  21. I hope Piggly Wiggly can make it work. I'm not convinced of the market viability of a downtown grocer just yet. Get a few thousand more apartments downtown, then definitely.
  22. Meanwhile, Delaney's, Initial Q, and WildWing get free expanded seating capacity on publicly owned land.
  23. Honestly the biggest issue I see in Spartanburg County is a lack of interest in regulations that will expand the street network over time, and a lack of interest in public funding of practical improvements. All of the issues most people complain about (new traffic light at X intersection, traffic congestion on X street) are symptoms of a much larger issue - bad planning. Spartanburg County, and SC in general, are growing in the Atlanta/Charlotte model of widening roads to solve congestion. To be fair, some roads do need to be widened as they are converted form rural country roads to function urban streets (with curbs, sidewalks, turning lanes, etc). But the next layer is to look at the network of streets and how they function. At what point is widening no longer a solution? Have you been on Blackstock Road lately? Or Maybe Woodruff Rd in Greenville is a better example. Harbison in Columbia. Ashley Phosphate in Charleston. These are massive roads with congestion for ages, and widening isn't really a practical solution for a whole host of reasons. There is only so much that "signal timing" and "widening" can fix. What happens when those aren't options anymore? Not only do you need to have a network of thoroughfares, you also need a network of non-thoroughfare (aka local) streets so that everyone doesn't need to take the same street to get around. There's a reason that every city that ever existed prior to 1950 was comprised of a grid of streets, including Spartanburg. There are two areas where these issues can be addressed: 1) public sector and 2) private sector. SPATS covers the public sector. They need to map out future thoroughfare connections and then find ways to work with SCDOT and USDOT grants to fund their construction. If you aren't buying and reserving ROW for future thoroughfare connections, there will eventually come a point where construction in not feasible. This is something that SPATS can be a part of, and IMO should push for/lead. The private sector should be required to build street grids that are extendable into adjacent developments as they get built. Building a grid of streets with connections reduced the need to travel on the primary thoroughfare, and creates nicer environments to walk and bike. They already build streets, so the requirement only changes their alignment so that the next developer who comes in can connect and extend the streets. Both of these should be addressed and incorporated at the SPATS and County Comprehensive Planning level. Set the vision and policy you want to see, then set up the regulatory and public funding strategy to implement it. Simple, right? lol.
  24. I guess they changed the date. I heard September, but it seems everything dropped all at once. Usually you get state, then county, then city in slower drips... Anyway, Charleston is now the largest city in SC by a much wider margin than previously expected. That, to me, is the only surprise. Greenville continues to add people. I'd be interested to know what % of that is Verdae and West End. I don't get the impression they are aggressively annexing residential areas like Charleston (though maybe I'm wrong). https://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article253439539.html Biggest cities, towns: Charleston (population) 150,227 Columbia (136,632) North Charleston (114,852) Mount Pleasant (90,801) Rock Hill (74,372) Greenville (70,720) Summerville (50,915) Goose Creek (45,946) Sumter (43,463) Florence (39,899) Biggest counties: Greenville (population 525,535) Richland (416,147) Charleston (408,235) Horry (351,029) Spartanburg (327,997) Lexington (293,991) York (282,090) Berkeley (229,861) Anderson (203,718) Beaufort (187,117)
  25. In looking at the results, my only issue is that 30% of the people who took it claim to have difficulty finding parking when there are literally hundreds of empty spaces all over the place.
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