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Greenville City Council pushes Planning and Zoning Department to Delete Ordinance Restricting Gates

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Short version: Greenville City Council asked the planning and zoning department to push deleting the existing ordinance restricting gates on developments and neighborhoods in the City of Greenville. It's expected to be on the agenda for the City Council's 11/26/2012 hearing.

The Planning Commission recommended wording that they felt would strengthen the existing requriement, but ultimately the final wording/deletion is up to City Council to decide.

A petition is circulating to support the Planning Commission's recommendation to strengthen the existing requriement:


Long version in next post below

Long version:

The City of Greenville Planning and Zoning Department was asked by City Council to delete the City ordinance restricting gates, gate houses and guard houses unless the decision-making body determines there is public safety reason to allow them. (Reference: Planning Staff Report to the Greenville Planning Commission and City Council 9.13.2012, available online under the 9/13/2012 Planning Commission Agenda file Z-29-2012-TextAmendment.pdf)

The Planning and Zoning Department proposed language that would eliminate the restriction altogether. At its September hearing, the Planning Commission felt eliminating the restriction completely was not consistent with goals of the Comprehensive Plan. They suggested the Planning and Zoning Department revise the language to require a public hearing and broaden the criteria by which the decision-making body would evaluate a proposal including gates, etc. There was further discussion of this issue at the October hearing. (Reference: Planning Staff Report to the Greenville Planning Commission and City Council 10.31.2012, available online under the 11/08/2012 Planning Commission Agenda file Z-29-2012-TextAmendment-Gates.pdf)

At its November hearing, the Planning Commission approved recommended wording to City Council that they felt would strengthen the restriction on gates. The ordinance restricting gates is expected to be on the agenda for the November 26, 2012 City Council hearing. (Reference: my notes from the 11/08/2012 Planning Commission hearing). The Commission's recommended wording is based on Option 2 from the 10.31.2012 Planning Staff Report, less the word "marketability".

My neighborhood has started circulating a petition supporting the Planning Commission's recommendation to strengthen the existing restriction. The petition is online at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/gates_gvl_sc/

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I was at a couple of those planning commission meetings. I was pleased that most of the members recognized that eliminating the restriction on gates would undermine the goals of the comprehensive plan, most notably the need for connectivity and a healthy urban fabric. I did think that the commission chose the weakest of the three wording changes that were proposed by the city staff. I was in favor of saying that gates were prohibited unless they could be justified by health, welfare or public safety. This is broader than the current public safety exception and would allow developers to make more arguments that their gates served some purpose other than making the development more exclusive and therefore more expensive. Health, safety and welfare is also the general justification for government involvement in land use matters. The commission thought it was too broad for some reason and chose to go with a poorly worded and ultimately pointless option that the city council will almost certainly take issue with.

I'm going to try and attend the Nov 26th meeting to see how things progress.

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