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    History, historic preservation, pedestrian and transit issues, higher education, economic development.

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Whistle-Stop (3/14)



  1. On trash pickup, not necessarily. Commercial properties have to handle their own trash collection. The reduction in fire insurance rates because of the highly qualified fire department is an incentive I've said I think the city should tout. Zoning - and protecting the uses of the property, would be another incentive, but some people want to be able to do whatever. Annexation made sense for the proposed apartment complex west of I-26 behind Hobby Lobby to the initial developer, as they could get a level of density in their project that they could not get under county development rules. They asked to come in. Perhaps the water agreement would have brought them in anyway. The property got annexed (over the objections of the folks along Franklin Avenue, who were not being annexed) and even though it hasn't been developed yet, it's still in the city. I would like to think a redevelopment around Westgate, particularly if it altered their water service, would trigger a potential annexation. And of course, even then it has to be contiguous. But short of that, annexation here is largely voluntary. And if somebody wants to sit on a property and not develop it and stay outside the city, there isn't a whole lot the city can do about it. I guess the definition of abandoned mill site is pretty broad - it could have been used for some ancillary purpose.
  2. I don't disagree that the land needs to be in the city, but what tools do you propose the city use to force property owners to annex? They've got the water agreement, so it can happen if there's a new tap, but aside from that, what do you suggest?
  3. E-sports arena? That's disappointing...
  4. That's still pretty sad to lose the only large bookstore in town. Unless they are planning to relocate, which I kind of doubt...
  5. The city staff can't just forget about it - first, they've paid a lot of money to the consultants to draft it, and two, having a comp plan is a legal requirement to be able to enact zoning. I get the sense that council, the staff, and certainly the planning commission are irritated that it's dragged out. However, there was also public pressure this summer to get it right rather than to get it fast. I'd rather get it right, and also have some idea of how to implement it.
  6. We are waiting on the consultant to add the two elements that got missed in the initial draft - state law changed to require a resiliency element in 2020, after they had started to work. Additionally, there was one more that got missed. So there had to be some negotiating. The commission could have put it forward with the missing elements, but some people who spoke at the hearing were upset at some typos in the document and wanted it to be edited, and also wanted an implementation plan. So those were being fixed. It is on the Planning Commission's agenda for this week - it is a standing item on the agenda each month (there was no meeting in August.) The staff always gives an update at each planning commission meeting as to where they are in the process of getting all of those questions addressed - and also about plans to begin updating the zoning ordinance, which is the first major step toward implementation. I hope the 2022 comprehensive plan can be approved in 2022!
  7. Herald-Journal has a story about the expansion. https://www.goupstate.com/story/news/2022/08/08/main-street-pub-downtown-spartanburg-restaurant-expands-new-menu/10183875002/ Details include - new built up stage area where bands can perform. Larger bathrooms. Larger kitchen. Increase seating by about 80 percent. Perhaps sliding or garage doors on the new space so diners outside can hear. More outdoor seating. Overall growth from 2500 to 4500 square feet.
  8. I believe I heard yesterday that the first resident has moved in to the Schoolhouse lofts...
  9. I wondered about why that one on the westside wasn't annexed - the challenge of annexation is that you have to actually service the property you annex, and though it is contiguous, it isn't really connected. The same could be said for the once planned apartments behind the Hobby Lobby on Franklin Ave that fell through - it did get annexed, but then not developed. I recall that being a criticism of the Franklin Avenue annexation - why are you taking this when you didn't take that. I still have some battle scars from voting for that annexation (twice).
  10. Presumably this will be annexed into the city once developed under the annexation agreement with Spartanburg Water - it is adjacent to the city across Plainview. Haven't seen that come through city planning just yet, but often the city is wiling to let them go through site review under county planning and only annex when they are close to completion or occupancy.
  11. So this went through Planning Commission and was approved on first reading by City Council back in 2020, but they never brought it up for second reading. I looked it up a few weeks ago after arguing with someone about whether some parts of Drayton Road were in the city or not. This was apparently not a mistake - they left it unincorporated while it was being built, so that presumably they wouldn't have to start paying city property taxes until it was actually occupied and generating revenue. The development agreement is always a separate ordinance from the annexation ordinance. I don't know if the original passage at first reading is still live and they need to do it again, but it seems like a no-brainer. I also think when this comes in, it gets us that much closer to being contiguous with the Drayton Lofts property and hopefully annexation there. Whether they can pull a 75-25 and take some other areas in at the same time... I wouldn't object, but that takes some willingness to bring people in against their will, and that's sometimes harder.
  12. Maybe not strictly speaking, but it isn't far enough out to consider it west side. Maybe west end? And as downtown expands along West Main, that line is going to get blurry and I think it will become at least on the fringe of downtown. Obviously I wanted the local government center to be in the middle of downtown for the foot traffic of the people who will work there as well as for the spillover of people who have to come there to do their business with local government. Just as I wanted the judicial center to be in downtown for similar reasons. I'd have been really disappointed to see either of these move out on the fringe of the city. I just think this is less of a place where you are going to have a lot of people coming by there. And it's still fairly centrally located within the city. I'm simply not sure what location they would have acquired nearer to the center of the city to build what they need to build. Staying on the same parcel as the local government center presents a logistical problem, as in they would have to find temporary quarters while they build their new facilities.
  13. I guess the real estate was cheaper, and it's not that far from the center of downtown... plus so many of those officers really work out of their cars, as long as it's fairly centrally located, it may not matter that much. I guess finding that space downtown for what they wanted may have been a bit of a challenge.
  14. Well, the city and SPATS are doing a downtown traffic study, and council agreed to award the contract for the study, which should take 6-9 months, tonight. While it is mostly about downtown, it will also look at truck traffic on Pine Street, and if there are alternatives (unlikely) and (I think) how traffic gets into downtown. SPATS has been focused on intersection improvements over the past few years, and somewhat less on corridors. There's some work coming, I hope, on the Reidville Road corridor - but not in the city - way out between the westside and the Greenville County line. I agree that the east side bypass is way overdue, and it's not even on the list of projects for the next 6 years. But we probably need to start making some noise about it before it gets so overbuilt that it's unfeasible due to the difficulty in right of way acquisition.
  15. Council did agree to the proposal tonight. The city manager regarded it as a way to increase revenue at the airport and said they had some similar agreements - basically aircraft owners who keep their planes here also buy fuel and pay other fees at the airport, so the more the better.
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