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gman430

Greenville County Square redevelopment

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1 hour ago, vicupstate said:

This is not going to be an easy vote politically for the council to make. There is some opposition  and it is fairly well organized.  If I were a betting man, I would  expect at least two No votes.  At least one council seat is going to change hands between the first and 2nd vote too, so that adds uncertainty. 

If you support this project, do not take it for granted that it will happen.  Make your support known. 

 

I expect them to vote yes. Without it, don't expect the county to give any money for the conference center/museums the city wants so badly. You scratch my back, i'll scratch yours. 

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10 hours ago, transplant08 said:

Southernside neighborhood association also now against it.

Short video articulating basic concerns

 

 

Finally got around to watching the video and it’s honestly loaded with nothing but BS and lies to try and scare you. It is fake news.

Edited by gman430

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Ultimately, I think it will still pass. There is too much money to be made. But I think the county is more desperate than the city. They've already made millions of concessions in just the past few days. Neighborhood opposition will help put the county over a barrel and hopefully result in some meaningful changes that can help the people who stuck it out in those neighborhoods during the down times.

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Again I ask, why would any developer get involved with a project in which the county and city is involved? Too many egos with too many agendas. Pathetic display of cooperation. 

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4 hours ago, gman said:

Again I ask, why would any developer get involved with a project in which the county and city is involved? Too many egos with too many agendas. Pathetic display of cooperation. 

Agreed.

Government should zone the site and then sell it to a private developer and then get out of the way.

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18 minutes ago, PuppiesandKittens said:

Agreed.

Government should zone the site and then sell it to a private developer and then get out of the way.

That would never happen. The government especially around here loves to have their hands in the cookie jar when it comes to everything.

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30 minutes ago, PuppiesandKittens said:

Agreed.

Government should zone the site and then sell it to a private developer and then get out of the way.

The site is already zoned.  They are seeking to modify the zoning. It they sold the land outright, that would still be the case. Also, the county would receive a fraction of the return it gets under the current scenario.   

Nearly every major project requires government approvals, and that is when the government isn't a landowner.      

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1 hour ago, PuppiesandKittens said:

Agreed.

Government should zone the site and then sell it to a private developer and then get out of the way.

That would be reckless. We didn’t end up with award winning downtown Greenville by allowing private developers to do whatever they wanted. 

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And here we go. $2 million for affordable housing over a five year time period either within or around the development. City Council is giving the leeway to the Planning Commission also so if they vote yes then the city council will probably vote yes. Tons of other info to read below including this tidbit: 

The submitted application is consistent with the format and content of the existing Haynie-Sirrine Neighborhood Code.

 

 

Applicant and Property:
The applicant, Greenville County, owns seven parcels totaling approximately 40 acres primarily situated along University Ridge, Howe Street, and South Church Street south of downtown Greenville. The properties include the current county administrative building known as County Square as well as Greenville County Family Court, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, and Greenville County Health Department. For the purposes of this report, the properties included in the rezoning application are collectively referred to as “County Square.”


Adjacent Uses:
County Square is bordered to the north by Falls Park and the South Carolina Governor's School. To the west, along Howe Street, existing uses include one- and two-story residential and light commercial uses. Thruston Street, Claussen Avenue, Harris Street, Bradshaw Street, and University Street all provide access from the County Square site to Augusta Street and Greenville’s West End. The southern edge includes light commercial along University Ridge and single-family detached homes along Wakefield Street.

The entire eastern edge is bordered by S Church Street, which is a major thoroughfare that connects I-185 to downtown Greenville. On the opposite side of S Church Street are Cancer Survivor’s Park, a two-story office building, and five-story mixed use development.


Jurisdiction and Zoning Applicability:
Even though the property is owned by a government entity (Greenville County), because it is located inside the Greenville city limits, the land is subject to the City of Greenville’s zoning and development regulations. Per Section 19-1.5.2 of the Land Management Ordinance (LMO), the City’s zoning ordinance applies to “all land, all land development, and the use of all structures and land owned or held in tenancy by the city or its agencies or departments; by the state, its agencies, departments or political subdivisions; and to the full extent permitted by law, the government of the United States, its agencies, departments or corporate services.”


Existing Zoning:
The County Square property is part of the Haynie-Sirrine Planned Development (PD) and is governed by the Haynie-Sirrine Neighborhood Code. The Haynie-Sirrine PD is a specific zoning district in the City of Greenville. The original PD designation and code were applied in 2003, following the regular process for a zoning map amendment. Properties within the Haynie-Sirrine PD are located within various sub-districts, each with specific building types, uses, dimensional requirements, and other standards applicable in this zoning district. All seven of the County Square parcels proposed for PD modification are located in the University Ridge Village Center (URVC) sub-district. The URVC sub-district allows for a mix of residential, lodging, office, retail, light manufacturing, and civic uses in buildings up to six stories in height.


As with all PD zoning districts, when a permit or development application is received for a property in the Haynie-Sirrine neighborhood, staff reviews the project for compliance with the applicable standards of the approved zoning district (in this case, the Neighborhood Code). Staff also verifies compliance with the applicable provisions of the Land Management Ordinance, which also apply, except where the PD includes specific deviations or exceptions from the general LMO standards.


Proposed Zoning Amendment:
The applicant requests a modification of the Haynie-Sirrine PD zoning district. The proposed changes in density, height, mix of uses, shared parking and other elements are considered a major modification, pursuant to Sec. 19-2.3.3(D)(6), and must be presented as a PD zoning district amendment for review, recommendation and action by the Greenville Planning Commission and City Council. If the zoning amendment is approved by Council, the developer may proceed to apply for Final Development Plans and permits consistent with the approved PD zoning district modification.


Staff Analysis:
Application Content
This application is somewhat different than that for a traditional Planned Development, where an applicant requests zoning approval for a specific, pre-planned development project. With a pre-planned development project, typically, detailed architectural elevations, property use information, and site development plans are submitted with PD applications that have detailed, pre-defined building projects associated with the PD request. The Haynie-Sirrine Planned Development is functionally different from the traditional PDs and is, instead, a version of a form-based code that governs the properties within the PD zoning district. The existing Neighborhood Code is just such a code that does not include information for specific buildings or lots, but rather outlines the building types, open space, dimensions, and other elements for each sub- district. The Planned Development zoning designation is one method, by which the City of Greenville assigns special zoning classifications, such as form-based codes, for certain areas of the city. The submitted application is consistent with the format and content of the existing Haynie-Sirrine Neighborhood Code.


PD Criteria:
The stated purpose, technical requirements, and general development parameters for PD - Planned Developments are outlined in Section 19-3.2.2(N) of the Land Management Ordinance. The planned development district (PD) is intended to encourage innovative land planning and site design concepts that conform to community quality-of-life benchmarks and that achieve a high level of aesthetics, high-quality development, environmental sensitivity, energy efficiency, and other community goals. In return for flexibility in site design and development, Planned Developments (PDs) are expected to include exceptional design that preserves critical environmental resources; provides above-average open space and recreational amenities; incorporates creative design in the layout of buildings, open space, and circulation; ensures compatibility with surrounding land uses and neighborhood character; and, provides greater efficiency in the layout and provision of roads, utilities, and other infrastructure.


Other than the C-4 zoning district, which is referenced as the Central Business District, the PD zoning district is the only classification that will allow the property to be developed with the densities, shared parking arrangements, mix of uses, comprehensive scope, and infrastructure modifications proposed by the applicant. As noted earlier, with respect to the existing Haynie-Sirrine PD zoning district, compliance with the form-based criteria, proposed by the applicant, will be verified through the Final Development Plan review and approval process for each individual development proposed.


New Greenville County Square (GCS) Sub-District:
The PD amendment proposes the establishment of the Greenville County Square (GCS) sub-district as a new district modification, with regulatory standards to govern development, to the Haynie-Sirrine PD zoning district. While the regulations, applicable to the other districts within Haynie-Sirrine, are contained throughout the Neighborhood Code document, the applicant proposes a new section that would apply only to the new GCS sub-district. Because of this stand-alone-district format proposal, the applicant notes that future development within the GCS district would, therefore, not be subject to the other sub-district requirements in the existing Neighborhood Code.


PD Regulating Plan:
In keeping with the established format of four sub-districts currently identified within the Haynie-Sirrine PD, the applicant proposes six separate zones, labeled A-F, within the new HS-GCS sub-district. Similar in format to the four sub-districts of the existing Haynie-Sirrine PD, these new zones specify the maximum building heights, allowed uses, and other limitations for any development proposed within the proposed GCS sub-district.


Zone A, proposes a mix of commercial and public/institutional uses with building heights limited to six stories. This zone is at the corner of S Church Street and University Ridge and is proposed as the location of the new Greenville County Administrative Building.


Zone B proposes a mix of commercial, residential, public/institutional and service/industrial uses and the allowance of one building, in each zone, that may have an increased height limit of 20 stories and two buildings that may have an increased height limit of 12 stories. All other remaining buildings, in Zone B, are proposed to be limited to a maximum height of eight stories or less. An additional limitation is added that the collective floor plate sum, of the three buildings, with an increased height limit, shall not exceed 95,000/SF and any buildings taller than eight (8) stories shall be setback a minimum of thirty (30) feet from the northern property boundary shared with the Governor’s School.


Zone C proposes a mix of commercial, residential, public/institutional and service/industrial uses and the allowance of one building, in each zone, that may have an increased height limit of 20 stories and two buildings that may have an increased height limit of 12 stories. All other remaining buildings, in Zone C, are proposed to be limited to a maximum height of eight stories or less. An additional limitation is added that the collective floor plate sum, of these three buildings, shall not exceed 95,000/SF.


Zone D proposes a mix of commercial, residential, public/institutional and service/industrial uses with maximum building heights up to 8 stories.
      
Zone F proposes a mix of commercial, residential, public/institutional and service/industrial uses with maximum building heights up to 8 stories.


Zone E, which approximately follows Howe Street and Wakefield Street and the southern edge of Zone F, is intended to act as a transition zone for the surrounding neighborhoods. This zone proposes a mix of commercial, residential, and public/institutional uses with a maximum building height limit of 4 stories, with an additional limitation that no single retail tenant may exceed 6,000/SF.


The proposed GCS sub-district regulating plan concentrates the form of increased building height and density towards the interior of the GCS sub-district, specifically within Zones B and C. In response to concern for the one and two-story residences and structures in the existing neighborhood, expressed by city staff, the applicant added Zone E to act as a transition zone to buffer and mitigate the increased height and density of Zones B and C.


If the GCS PD modification proposal is approved, the proposed regulating plan requirements will become final and effective for all project development within the GCS sub-district. Any future requests to exceed the height maximums or other limitations, contained within the approved regulating plan, shall require a PD amendment and will be subject to public review and input.


Affordable Housing:
Greenville County has proposed to provide no less than $2 million within the Haynie-Sirrine neighborhood, over a 5-year period, to support constructing affordable housing on or off-site of the Greenville County Square sub-district. This funding could be leveraged to create a variety of affordable housing options on the Greenville County Square site or in the adjacent Haynie-Sirrine neighborhood. In the past, the City has invested funding in the Greenville Housing Fund and leveraged other local, state and federal resources to create affordable housing, most notably, the former Scott Towers site. The Greenville Housing Authority and its development partner, Integral, are currently in the process to develop 193 units in a first phase of the site’s overall redevelopment. Phase I includes the renovation of the Garden Apartments and the construction of a new building, both providing a total of 193 affordable homes for senior citizens. A second phase will include a new building, to be constructed along Augusta Street, to provide approximately 125 affordable and workforce housing units. This additional funding, proposed by Greenville County, could be invested in similar types of development to provide affordable and workforce housing options.


Proposed Uses:
Staff has worked closely with the applicant to refine the proposed list of permitted uses, prohibited uses, uses permitted by special exception, and use-specific standards. Staff believes the final submittal of proposed uses, with specified limitations, are appropriate for the GCS sub-district. However, the language submitted as an accessory use automobile wash and detailing, within parking garages, should be clarified that such use cannot be accessory to the primary use of the parking garage, but should be accessory to another primary use such as, but not limited to, a rental car agency, a hotel, or an apartment complex.


Density and Dimensional Standards
Following the precedent of the C-4 zoning district standards in the city’s Central Business District, property line setbacks for all buildings are zero feet, regardless of use category. Likewise, maximum building coverage is 100%. Overall development density, in terms of maximum building square footage, within the GCS sub-district, is capped at 3.5 million square feet of heated/cooled and enclosed building area. As noted earlier in this report, any requests to exceed this proposed square footage maximum, after adoption, shall require a PD amendment subject to public review and input.
Building Orientation and Layout
A conceptual master plan and a variety of conceptual massing plans, provided within Part XII. Supplemental Materials, shows potential locations and layouts of various buildings that could be developed if the proposed PD modification request is approved. Buildings must be oriented to create a defined and activated streetscape and pedestrian zone. The master plan and building massing plans provided are conceptual only. Actual building layouts and uses, within each building development, could be different from those provided with this proposal application for illustrative purposes.


Non-Residential and Multifamily Developments:
The applicant’s proposal cites adherence to the Greenville Downtown Design Guidelines and language provided in Section F - Architectural Design Elements, addresses Design Theme, for the proposed sub- district, and provides fifteen (15) bullet points of Architectural Guidelines, to which developments must conform, along with 16 larger thumbnail photographs of Non-Residential and Multi-Family building designs intended to further inform design guidance and direction for future non-residential projects. However, previous submittal language remains in Section F.3 as follows: “The non-residential and multi-family design standards listed within the Land Management Ordinance shall not apply.”


Staff has been advised that all multi-family building projects will be required to adhere to the requirements of the Land Management Ordinance.


Sidewalks:
The application proposes minimum sidewalk widths and differentiates between residential and commercial environments. It also encourages wider sidewalk widths to allow for outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes. However, staff is concerned that the proposal includes language that mandates that ‘variations in sidewalk widths shall be allowed to accommodate existing topography constraints’. Variations to any dimensional standard is available to any applicant as part of the Land Management Ordinance and includes a process and requirement for an applicant to present proper justification and documentation for review and consideration when making such a request. The proposed language has provided no process, by which a claim of topography constraints may be evaluated, measured or verified and instead requires that a sidewalk width be reduced below the established minimum based on an applicant’s allegation that topography constraints demand the reduction.


Open Space:
The application proposes multi-use trails along the north, west, and eastern project boundaries. Combined, these trails constitute approximately 30,000 square feet (0.64 acre) of open space and amenity area. In addition, the application proposes two urban plazas, which are shown in the second and third photos of ‘Figure 3A – Non-residential and Multi-Family Architecture’, labelled as green spaces in ‘Figure 5 – Pedestrian and Bicycle Connectivity Diagram’ and identified as a ‘Central Plaza’ and a ‘Civic Plaza’, with a veterans wall, in several maps provided under Part XII. Supplemental Materials. These are depicted as active open spaces, with amenities one might expect in an urban environment. The PD text also indicates that a minimum of three dog parks will be provided. Finally, squares, plazas, pocket parks, rooftop gardens, and other types of defined open space may be incorporated throughout the development as individual projects are proposed.


‘Figure 5 – Pedestrian and Bicycle Connectivity Diagram’ shows the location of the urban plazas, multi-use trails, and dog parks that the developer has proposed in their application. Additional open space is shown on the conceptual master plan; however, the actual development and open space may differ from the concept shown. The application does not guarantee a minimum acreage or percentage of the site as open space. The applicant notes that the urban nature envisioned for development within the GCS sub-district makes it unfeasible to meet or exceed the open space requirements of the Land Management Ordinance. Figure 4, in Part VIII. Statement of Intent is a Site Context Map that shows the existing parks and recreation areas within close proximity to the development. The applicant proposes that the provision of increased connectivity to these existing parks and amenities reduces the need to provide additional open space within the GCS sub-district beyond what is shown.
This proposal is consistent with Section 19-6.8.9(I)(1), of the Land Management Ordinance, which allows the decision-making body—in this instance, city council—to waive the provision of “common open space” or apply an alternative condition to the standard, provided the property is within a quarter-mile of public open space or contains 50 or fewer dwellings. The applicant has proposed that the new GCS sub-district will follow the requirements of the Greenville Downtown Design Guidelines, which contain language to address publicly accessible parks and plazas. These guidelines were developed, by the City, specifically to address public open spaces in dense, urban environments, and are appropriate for the open space and plazas proposed.


Final Development Plans:
Under Section 13.N – Final Development Plan Approval, of the PD amendment, the applicant proposes to have all Final Development Plans (FDPs), for any development proposals within the GCS sub-district, to be approved by the administrator or his or her designee. In the event the Zoning Administrator determines that such plans are not in substantial conformance with the HSN-GCS sub-district requirements, the landowner may appeal such decision directly to the City Council whereby City Council shall either approve or disapprove the plans submitted by the landowner.


City Council has indicated that the proper venue for an appeal should be the Planning Commission. In so doing, they noted that the Planning Commission has been created and appointed by the City Council, for all such matters and because the Planning Commission possesses the proper skills and qualifications necessary to fairly evaluate and judge such matters.

Neighborhood Meeting Comments:
May 14, 2019 Neighborhood Meeting – held at Greenville County Square
The County Staff and RocaPoint Partners gave a presentation and overview of the project. Afterwards, discussion and questions on the following points took place:
• President of local condominium association expressed support for project
• The project will incorporate electric vehicle charging stations and rideshare drop zones
• Concern about lack of response from county officials on meeting requests
• The project will have a positive economic impact.
• Concern about the limited public input; this neighborhood meeting was the first invitation for public
comments on the project. It seems like the project is essentially finalized; asked what the meeting
coordinators were requesting from the attendees.
• Asked about opportunity to revisit the entire Haynie-Sirrine PD. It would be up to the City to initiate
that process. City of Greenville staff explained that the Downtown Master Plan currently is currently
being prepared and will consider large areas of the Haynie-Sirrine neighborhood.
• Concerns about drainage, parking, and traffic along Church Street and University Ridge.
• Questioned if the project was already a done deal. The County Council approved the project
unanimously.
• Discussion about next steps—PC and City Council approval process.
• Concern about ricochet effects and impacts of development on the community.
• The project does not include affordable housing. The County is contributing $1 million per year to
affordable housing. There was concern about the lack of affordable housing within the plan. The
County is in discussion with GRCA.
• Discussion of the changes in heights in the current vs. proposed zoning.
• Will public art be incorporated? Mr. Kernell stated the Veterans Memorial Wall is one example.
• Applicant stated they are in discussion with the Governor’s School.
• Discussion of some of the proposed traffic impacts and mitigation.
• Discussion of the relocation of state offices away from County Square.
• Discussion of the shared parking arrangement, and different users being on-site at different times
during the day.
• Citizens will not have to pay for parking when visiting the County administrative building.


August 8, 2019 Neighborhood Meeting – held at Greenville County Square
The County Staff and RocaPoint Partners gave a presentation and status update for the project. Afterwards, discussion and questions on the following points took place:
• County Administrator Joe Kernell explained that the land sales with the new zoning permissions will be used to pay for the new county administrative building, without the need to tax increases.
• County Council Chairman Butch Kirven stated that the school district and city are partners and beneficiaries of the project.
• Representatives from RocaPoint Partners stated that they are complying with the “North Main” design guidelines. The zoning administrator will review project submittals, with appeals decided by City Council. The revised submittal still includes two 20-story buildings.
• Discussion of anticipated traffic patterns. Engineers are working to provide a connection to a lighted intersection on Augusta. Streetscape guidelines have also been added.
• Concern about traffic and construction vehicles coming into Alta Vista neighborhood. Attendees want to see a construction traffic plan.
• Question if the project includes a plan for subways. The answer was no.
• The applicant stated they could achieve the same square footage under the existing zoning.
• Discussion about affordable housing. Mr. Kernell stated the county has committed quite a bit to
affordable housing throughout the county. County Square may not be the best place for affordable
housing. They have met with John Castille.
• Mayor White explained the process of going through Planning Commission and modifying the PD.
The applicant has agreed to follow the downtown design guidelines. Affordable housing is “non-negotiable.” There needs to be appropriate transitions between the high-development areas and the neighborhoods. Sections D and E should be transition zones and are an ideal place for affordable housing.
• Concern that the proposed PD modification does not consider the impacts or transition to the other neighborhoods within the PD. Instead, County Square becomes an extension of downtown.
• Concern about the lack of opportunity to provide comments and public input. Once the County has their blanket approval, they can move forward with development.
• We don’t want to be downtown Atlanta or New York City.
• Concern about the lack of public input in project so far. No one has approached the West End.
Phil Mays with RocaPoint Partners said they have been working with city staff for 14 months and
have accepted many of their comments. They want to continue to receive community input.
• Question about opportunity for public input moving forward? Mr. Mays explained there will be a public hearing in front of the Planning Commission. Mr. Kernell said the public can call the County Administrator’s Office and County Council members. However, there are no other meetings planned; they intend on submitting the revised application and moving forward to Planning
Commission.
• Horace Butler said he wants to see additional engagement and meetings with the neighborhoods.
When you exclude people, you will not get their support. Mr. Kernell and Mr. Kirven said they are
willing to schedule additional meetings with the neighborhoods.
• Discussion of how the property could be developed under the current zoning.
• Discussion of the timeframe for the relocation of the state and county offices.
• Discussion of the project phasing and infrastructure improvements.
• Asked for clarification on DRB and Planning Commission approval process. If you want to be
successful like downtown, projects should go through DRB. RocaPoint Partners staff explained that the County will have control over major material decisions. City staff will review projects for design compliance.
• County staff explained the public facilities corporation that will be established in order to facilitate the property sales. There will also be a development and management agreement between the County and RocaPoint Partners.
• Comment that the city had many public charrettes for the Haynie-Sirrine plan. However, many of the subsequent projects do not match the renderings within the plan. Therefore, there is concern about what is actually constructed on the County property versus what is being shown to the public today.
• Concern about density, impacts on neighborhoods, and home prices.
• Discussion about building heights and likelihood of there actually being a 20 story building.
• Appreciation for the level and quality of the proposed development in Greenville.
• Concern about quality of life impacts in surrounding neighborhood. Existing infrastructure already
can’t support current traffic.
• Want to see improvements to the tunnel.
• Comment that they are creating something beautiful within the county boundaries; wants to see
greater integration and connection with neighborhoods.
• Felsie Harris said she wants the developers to be straightforward and up front with the community.
Let the community help them get the project right.
• Concern about relocating state and county services away from transit access.
Based on the submitted application, Planning staff submits the following comments:
Recommend: Approve with Comments and Conditions Comments and Conditions:


Comments:
The modification of the existing PD zoning designation is requested by the applicant in order to allow for creative design techniques that incorporate multiple products; flexibility in setbacks, parking requirements, increased building height; and open space incorporation.
  
As stated in Section 19-3.2 (N), Planned Development of the Land Management Ordinance, a PD is intended to encourage innovative land planning and site design concepts that conform to community quality-of-life benchmarks and that achieve a high level of aesthetics, high-quality development, environmental sensitivity, energy efficiency, and other community goals by:
(a) Reducing or eliminating the inflexibility that sometimes results from strict application of zoning and development standards that were designed primarily for individual lots;


Staff Comment: The Haynie-Sirrine Master Plan report notes in Section 2.4.8 that, while “...there exists significant redevelopment potential of underutilized sites along University Ridge”, it was only anticipated that any “...development would most likely consume only half of the current front yard parking lot.” The master plan and resultant Neighborhood Code did not address the redevelopment of the County Square building that was in use by the County. Instead, the master plan “...recommends that the County complete a feasibility study to evaluate the current building and future office needs as compared to the potential public and private redevelopment of the site.” The applicant submits that this PD modification proposal complies with the master plan and the provision of the proposed GCS sub-district standards are needed to properly guide public and private redevelopment of the site.
(b) Allowing greater freedom in selecting the means to provide access, light, open space, and design amenities;


Staff Comment: The applicant’s decision to continue in the current Haynie-Sirrine Neighborhood Code format, of a form-based code standard, provides the necessary information to guide and direct development while allowing greater freedom.
(c) Allowinggreaterfreedominprovidingamixoflandusesinthesamedevelopment,includingamix of housing types, lot sizes, and densities;


Staff Comment: The proposal states that “the overall objectives for the redevelopment of the [GCS sub-district] include the provision of aesthetically striking and appealing urban building, hardscape and landscape design; enhanced connectivity to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, Falls Park on the Reedy, the Cancer Survivor Park, Cleveland Park, surrounding communities, and Downtown Greenville; the creation of sense of place through scale of design and walkability, and, the incorporation of multiple uses to allow residents and visitors the ability to work, live, and play.”
The intent of the applicant’s proposal appears to be to provide a mix of land uses, housing types, lot sizes, and densities to enhance and create a compatible development to the adjacent existing residential and commercial/institutional/office uses. The primary residential component, of this PD proposal, consists of multifamily units, although a variety of residential uses are also allowed. The applicant has also proposed a balanced mix of other commercial, public/institutional and service/industrial use allowances to complement the adjacent development and proposes to protect adjacent development, outside of the GCS sub-district, with the specific prohibition of undesirable uses not currently prohibited within the Neighborhood Code. Staff would, however, note that the applicant’s proposal to increase height in Zone F from six stories to eight stories does not enhance and create development opportunities compatible to the adjacent existing residential and commercial/institutional/office uses to the south.
(d) Promoting quality urban and traditional neighborhood design and environmentally sensitive development by allowing development to take advantage of special site characteristics, locations, and land uses;


Staff Comment: Positioned at the southern edge of the Central Business District and the northern edge of a neighborhood, whose master plan notes, as a central component, the preservation of affordable housing in the area, this site is a unique location. The proposed uses are consistent with the existing Neighborhood Code and seem appropriate for this sub-district proposal and conform to the current language of the Neighborhood Code that describes this district as “...the most dense business, service and institutional center shared by many neighborhoods in the southwest sector of the Downtown area.” This URVC sub-district and, subsequently, the proposed GCS sub-district are intended to serve “...as a primary employment center accommodating larger floorplate office buildings in close proximity to surrounding thoroughfares and the County Square Government Center.” The PD modification proposes an improved street layout, pedestrian circulation pattern, and improved open space connectivity that is more in keeping with an integrated area design than the existing County Square complex.
(e) Encouraging quality urban and traditional neighborhood design and environmentally sensitive development by allowing increases in base densities or floor area ratios when such increases can be justified by superior design or the provision of additional amenities such as public open space.


Staff Comment: The fundamental difference between the existing limitations of the URVC sub- district and the proposed GCS sub-district may be summed as follows:
• Increased building height
• Increased lot coverage allowance
• Decreased setback requirements
• Increased variety in allowed building forms
These differences are permissible, when included as part of the PD. In return, the design should be superior design and include above average open space and additional recreational amenities. The proposed form-based code language mirrors the existing form-based code format of the Haynie-Sirrine Neighborhood Code and incorporates superior design guidance through the incorporation of the Downtown Design Guidelines and the identification of a variety of architectural styles, depicted in the photos of ‘Figure 3 – Non-Residential and Multi-Family Architecture’. The applicant also proposes a denser, urban environment with public plazas and increased pedestrian and bike trail connectivity to adjacent public park space.


Should the Planning Commission recommend approval of this request to the City Council, staff suggests the following conditions for consideration:
Planning Conditions:
1. All development proposals must comply with all comments and conditions of the PD approval. Staff will verify compliance at development proposal permitting stage.
2. In order to enhance and create development opportunities that are compatible to the adjacent existing residential and commercial/institutional/office uses to the south, Zone F shall retain a maximum building height allowance of six stories.
3. The letter of commitment, presented by the County and dated October 9, 2019, to contribute the sum of two (2) million dollars, over a five year period, for the construction of affordable housing, either within the GCS sub-district or elsewhere within the Haynie-Sirrine neighborhood, shall be incorporated as a requirement for continued development that shall be fulfilled within five years of the issuance of the first private (non-county owned) development permit.
4. Accessory use automobile wash and detailing, within parking garages, cannot be accessory to the primary use of the parking garage, but shall be accessory to another primary use such as, but not limited to, a rental car agency, a hotel, or an apartment complex.
5. All multi-family building projects shall comply with the multi-family requirements found in the Land Management Ordinance.
6. All dimensional variance requests shall conform to Section 19-2.3.7 of the Land Management Ordinance.
7. ‘For profit sports field/stadiums’ shall not qualify as public open space due to limited, for pay access.
8. Each development shall calculate trip generation per the ITE trip generation manual to determine when the appropriate mitigation is constructed. If development exceeds the total trip generation included in the Traffic Impact Study, a new Traffic Impact Study shall be performed to determine
additional mitigation.
9. Each development proposal, within the GCS sub-district, shall submit a construction traffic
regulating plan, for approval to the City Engineering Department, that clearly delineates traffic flow, expected interruptions to traffic flow, staging area locations, staging area ingress and egress points and designated construction worker parking areas. When interruptions to traffic flow are anticipated, then a Traffic Control Plan must be submitted with the regulating plan.
10. Staff review denials of Final Development Plan submittals shall be appealed to the Planning Commission.


City Engineer Comments Recommend: Approve w/ Conditions
Comments:
See all comments by Engineering staff.
Traffic mitigation shall be constructed as described in the Traffic Impact Study dated September 19, 2019. The phasing shall be as described in the phasing plan dated September 19, 2019 which includes the trip generation as the measure for implementation. Each development shall calculate trip generation per the ITE trip generation manual for each development to determine when the appropriate mitigation is constructed. If development exceeds the total trip generation included in the Traffic Impact Study, a new Traffic Impact Study will have to be performed to determine additional mitigation.
It is recommended as a condition of approval that the “Infrastructure Agreement for Greenville County Square Redevelopment Project” be removed from the submission.
All development shall adhere to all the requirements of the stormwater ordinances. Existing impervious area is taken into account when calculating stormwater runoff.
The flow acceptance letter for sewer service and the included Public Main Extension Preliminary Capacity Request Form is based upon a connection to the REWA main at Manhole 400C-194. The sewer map showing connections to existing City mains adjacent to the project on the west and south, not flowing to the REWA manhole 400C-194 do not have flow acceptance or any preliminary approvals and are subject to capacity determinations. Improvements to this system to provide any additional capacity necessary will have to be made by the developer.


Civil Engineer Comments Recommend: Approve w/ Conditions Comments:
1) All proposed public and private improvements shall meet the requirements of Section 19-6.7 Site Development and Related Infrastructure of the City’s Land Management Ordinance. The design and construction of the public and private infrastructure shall conform to all applicable federal and state regulations and the requirements of the City’s design and specifications manual.
2) All commercial and multi-family developments shall comply with Chapter 11 of the International Building Code for site accessibility. Per Section 1104, a minimum of one accessible route shall be provided from each site arrival point (public transportation stops, accessible parking, accessible passenger loading zones and public streets or sidewalks) to the accessible building entrance served. Additionally, an accessible route shall be provided within the site to connect accessible buildings, facilities, elements and spaces on the site.
3) Traffic Mitigation – The revised traffic impact study and recommended mitigation plan are acceptable. The phasing of the traffic mitigation plan shall be implemented based on trip generation and not building square footages.
4) Ingress, Egress & Traffic Circulation – The Vehicular Connectivity Diagram in Figure 4 does not specify what typical section the Secondary Streets will be constructed to. Either the 44’ R/W or 60’ R/W typical sections will be utilized for these streets based upon the need for on-street
parking.
5) Roadway Typical Sections – The roadway typical sections will be evaluated in more detail with
the final development plan for each specific development. The 80’ R/W typical section for the Primary Roads shall be modified to provide protected bike lanes. Standard bike lanes shall be provided on the secondary streets as determined by the City while not eliminating a minimum 4.0’ curb lawn.
6) As stated, sidewalks serving commercial and mixed-use developments shall be a minimum of 8.0’ in width. In areas of topographic constraints, the sidewalk widths may reduce to a minimum of 5.0’.
7) The Infrastructure Agreement For Greenville County Square Project shall not be included in the zoning approval. The HSN-GCS shall be subject to the City’s adopted stormwater ordinance at the time of each project development. Sewer flows shall be approved for each development with each Final Development Plan and any sewer upgrades needed to ensure capacity shall be the responsibility of the developer.


Environmental Engineer Comments Recommend: Approve w/ Conditions Comments:
The “Infrastructure Agreement for Greenville County Square Project” that is included in this submittal package is not acceptable for approval. Item number one for Sanitary Sewer Infrastructure and item number three for stormwater management system(s) must be revised and reviewed by the Environmental Engineering Division before it is recommended for approval.
Parks and Recreation Comments Recommend: Approve w/ Comments Comments:
• Map on Pg. 39 – terminology of “Bike Routes” leaves much room for interpretation. This should be referred to as either “Protected Bike Lanes” or “Bike Lanes” depending on available right-of- way width.
• Alternative typical sections (B-2) – Protected bike lanes of a recommended total width of nine feet, including a three foot protection zone, should be installed on transitional, connector and primary routes through the development. Standard bike lanes six feet in width should be installed on all secondary streets through the development. Alternative cross sections showing appropriate dimensions and placement have been provided to Engineering.
Traffic Engineer Comments Recommend: Approve w/ Comments Comments:
No major issues are found with the traffic impact study. It is understood that Phase I will likely result in a net loss of trips with the construction of new county offices and the removal of state offices. It is also understood that future uses will be subject to change, making future proposed trip generations difficult to predict now. Any significant deviation from the approved Master Plan will require an update to the traffic impact study to determine any additional or different mitigation than what is currently proposed in the study. A significant deviation is defined as more or different intensities of development that increase the predicted trips to or from the site.
   
Fire Department Comments Recommend: Approve w/ Comments
Comments: I will fully enforce all Fire Code requirements presented in the edition of the International Fire Code that is adopted upon submission of a set of plans for review.
Fire and Aerial access road requirements will be strictly enforced as clearly stated in Chapter 5 and Appendix D. No overhead utilities or other obstructions will be permitted in aerial access designated areas and roadways.
All road width and construction standards will be strictly adhered to throughout the development without compromise as established in cooperation with our Engineering, Fire, Planning and Zoning Departments. Fire access must be provided on the property of the structure requiring the access or by the roadways surrounding the structure if they comply with the code requirements but the developer must not consider access to be provided by property that they do not control.
Fire access roads must provide access to within 150’ of the most remote portion of every structure and comply with all turn around standards. Templates are provided in Appendix D of the 2015 Edition of the IFC for consideration. You must have fire hydrants within 500’ of all structures and all weather fire access roads in place and useable prior to any combustible construction being permitted on this site.
Your proposal includes structures that could possibly be built at a future time and for me to review a project I must have site details and elevations that have not been provided.

Edited by gman430
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These neighborhood associations represent small portions of their neighborhoods.  They do not speak for everyone that lives in them.  I live in the West End and I can promise you the West End neighborhood association does not speak for me.  I went to a few meetings years ago and never went back because they seemed to be against anything good happening in the West End.  They would even complain about houses being renovated and fixed up.

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West End N.A. had no problem with the Homewood Suites, the QT, the new hotel at Rhett and Markley, Westgate on Wardlaw, the McClaren.  or the apartments going up next to the Joe Jackson museum  The only project they actively opposed that I can recall was the Greene apartments. Obviously they didn't win that fight but their opposition forced the developer to up his game.   They also were very strong advocates for the recent  Pendleton Street rezonng. 

There has been sentiment against long time residents losing their homes to gentrification  and/or selling for less than true value, but that is not the same thing as being against any progress.  

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I don't understand the comment below especially about the part in regards to New York City. I can think of several cities that have projects of this size and scale that have been built or are currently under construction within the last 150+ years. Nashville is one of them:  https://nashvilleyards.com/ Shows how little these people get out of their bubble and explore the world.  

Planning Commission Chairman David Keller said he and his colleagues — all of them volunteers — have felt an enormous obligation to get this one right.

"We got a $1 billion project in the slam middle of a downtown urban area," Keller said. "Ain't nothing like this has happened anywhere except maybe New York City in the 1850s. Usually we are dealing with half acre lots and making three lots of of it. There's a huge gulf between that and this."

Edited by gman430

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:yahoo: Deal has been struck between the city and county to move the project forward. County to give $26 million towards conference/museum center also. Not even the silly NIMBY’s can stop this: https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/2019/10/14/greenville-sc-city-county-strike-2-million-dollar-affordable-housing-deal-county-square-project/3941760002/

The offer, documented in a letter from Kirven to Greenville Mayor Knox White last Wednesday after an intense week of negotiations, has the support of a majority of the council, members say, though no formal vote has taken place.

Fast on the heels of Kirven's offer — and White's acceptance of that offer — the Greenville County Council has rescheduled a vote on the convention center for Tuesday's County Council meeting. The council is expected to restore their support for the convention center.

Edited by gman430
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I watched the video above. What is the "fake news" in it? The video basically states the multiple 12-story and the two 20-story towers will pollute the skyline and traffic will get significantly worse. All sounds pretty logical to me. Is traffic going to get better with this development?  I  suspect b.s. anytime someone just says "fake news" without adding facts. 

I'm disappointed that the current zoning plan, recommended by neutral third party experts, and paid for by local citizens, is going to be ignored for an out of town developer that cares only about bottom profit lines - not legacy.  The point of zoning laws is to curb the short-sighted efforts of a few developers in the favor of the long-term benefits for all local tax-paying citizens. It seems the developer took over the leverage in this deal after it was completed. First from the county, and now from the city, because the city needs the county's support for a development by the river.  So weak on the part of our representatives. 

I don't think buildings over six stories should be built on the county site. If Rocca wants to complete a total build-out, in a city grid network, with 6 story mixed use buildings, and the city and county helping establish tree-lined sidewalks, and a few parking garages (think Barcelona) - then so be it - that is Rocca's property right within the zoning laws.  The developer could still get the same square footage, zoning and development rules are met; and, for the public public, zoning is followed by all (even people with large capital), and government saves face by not looking like sell-outs for their fancy, but gilded, county administrative building. 

County can get their leverage back by scaling back their desire to have an over-the-top county office building. It's too much. County offices should not be a center-piece, but a building that can be easily maintained and with adequate public meeting space to accommodate needs well into the future.  I don't understand the desire to have a 60 million dollar county building in a prime piece of property. Why? 

If someone is thinking of challenging county and city members for their seats this coming election year - this is the time.  I don't think our current representatives understand this. A candidate who runs on following zoning laws (i.e. the rule of law), curbing abusive development, and protecting quality of life of current citizens will be something voters want - and our current representatives seem to be ignoring it.

 

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With the grid network proposed for this development and $10 million in traffic improvements slated for the rest of downtown I honestly don’t see traffic getting any worse and might actually improve. Having six story buildings on site instead of mid and high rises would mean less space here which means more space would have to go elsewhere like in the suburbs which could in turn increase sprawl. This would cause even bigger traffic headaches then this development. And regarding having views of Falls Park blocked with high rises like the video shows, isn’t that already happening with Camperdown? It was bound to happen eventually either way you slice it.

The master plan was developed in 2002. A LOT has changed since then. Greenville is not the Mayberry town it once was. People want to visit and live here. With that happening, economic development is going to start occurring on a much larger scale then previously seen. You’re seeing it in other metro areas like Nashville, Charlotte, and even Charleston. I honestly for the life of me can’t figure out why the master plan hasn’t been updated since then. It sorely needs it.

Sometimes developers have to build higher so they can make a profit due to how much a site they purchased might cost. Without that profit, they wouldn’t even be in business. Nobody would. 

I personally just can’t see myself being against a development that adds to the tax base and increases home values in the area over a few high rises and traffic concerns that are unfounded. Besides, the developer has done their due diligence when it comes to traffic. At least half of the pdf file for the planning commission agenda are traffic studies. 

Don’t forget also that without this deal, no money goes to affordable housing. With it, millions goes towards it with a federal match creating hundreds of new affordable homes in the Haynie-Sirrine District potentially. 

Edited by gman430
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I see your point, Gman, but I still have concerns.

$10 million sounds like a big number for traffic improvement, but thousands of new residential units and hundreds of thousands of developed space is an even bigger number. I don't think the streets in the surrounding area can handle it. That is why the zoning is what it is now.

Exactly how much space is forfeited by sticking with the current 6-story zoning, specifically? Will that significantly deter sprawl? No. I would argue that sticking with zoning would actually increase the property value in the surrounding area more because with more demand you see higher value. Higher value = increased property taxes = more money in county coffers in the long run.

Views: You point to Camperdown because it is set to be 17 stories, right? But Camperdown was developed in an area that is zoned for that size high-rise. So I have no problem with Camperdown. However, multiply the Camperdown building by 3-4 buildings, and more importantly do it on ground that is significantly elevated to where Camperdown is, and I see a big problem. Plus, there are residential areas and streets closer to where these new buildings will be constructed -- Camperdown is next to other tall-ish buildings.

Master Plan: Is the zoning really 17 years old? Didn't tax payers just pay for an updated Master Plan? Does anyone know what it recommended? No, we're not Mayberry and we need to develop. But if you are short-sighted and poorly develop this opportunity you are killing the goose that laid all the golden eggs to get us to where we are today.

The developer needs to build up high rises to just the cost of the land purchase? This argument falls really short.  The developer knew the zoning laws when the property was purchased. The developer should have run the numbers before making the offer. I'm sure it did. To say that zoning needs to be changed now is to insinuate the county officials, off the record, told the developer that zoning would be changed in order to justify the higher purchase price. If true, that is not proper procedure and should be examined.

I don't think a developer's due-diligence on traffic carries much weight.  They're an interested party to the outcome. I'd rather the people that live and work in the area find a neutral third-party to make the traffic conclusions and recommendations. And I thought that was done before and why zoning is what is now.

The affordable housing issue is wagging the dog. Affordable housing is an issue that needs to be addressed, but should not be in the conversation on this specific development. You develop the area right, and tax revenue will come in for affordable housing, but without sacrificing the quality of life for the current residents.

Edited by ingvegas
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A major part of the traffic study/mitigation in the proposal package is a new Dunbar to Howe street connector.   This should be much welcome to help get cars, people and bicycles across August.   I guess it can squeeze in between the row of homes on McHan street and the new ex-Scott Tower development.   I assume Ella Mae Logan park will have to be relocated.   

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I don't understand the concerns about views of Falls Park. You cannot see Falls Park now from county square and a six story building will "block said views" just as much as a 20 story building.

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1 hour ago, chuckyvt said:

A major part of the traffic study/mitigation in the proposal package is a new Dunbar to Howe street connector.   This should be much welcome to help get cars, people and bicycles across August.   I guess it can squeeze in between the row of homes on McHan street and the new ex-Scott Tower development.   I assume Ella Mae Logan park will have to be relocated.   

I believe the proposed Dunbar connection is to make Thruston St tie into Dunbar with some kind of S curve through the housing authority site.  Would have made a lot more sense to tie Dunbar to Church St at the Haynie/Pearl intersection like the master plan proposed, but guess they missed the boat on that one with the housing project already under construction being in the way now.

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3 hours ago, ingvegas said:

But if you are short-sighted and poorly develop this opportunity you are killing the goose that laid all the golden eggs to get us to where we are today.

I believe we all agree on the importance of getting this development opportunity executed correctly. The only problem is agreeing upon what is correct and CURRENT. The limiting, 17-year-old neighborhood plan should not be guiding this development, IMO. It's a good overall guide for the greater area, aimed mostly at preventing the land from being under utilized (see Walmart proposal). 

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On 10/14/2019 at 6:10 AM, gman430 said:

I don't understand the comment below especially about the part in regards to New York City. I can think of several cities that have projects of this size and scale that have been built or are currently under construction within the last 150+ years. Nashville is one of them:  https://nashvilleyards.com/ Shows how little these people get out of their bubble and explore the world.  

Planning Commission Chairman David Keller said he and his colleagues — all of them volunteers — have felt an enormous obligation to get this one right.

"We got a $1 billion project in the slam middle of a downtown urban area," Keller said. "Ain't nothing like this has happened anywhere except maybe New York City in the 1850s. Usually we are dealing with half acre lots and making three lots of of it. There's a huge gulf between that and this."

You're right.  David Keller doesn't know what he's talking about.

Has he ever heard of Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Center (1930s), the Time Warner Center (opened in the 2000s) or Hudson Yards (which opened this year)?  All were way above a billion dollars (in 2019 dollars).  Hudson Yards is a huge new development.

Or even uptown Charlotte?

Edited by PuppiesandKittens

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1 hour ago, gman430 said:

But the Greenville News article says a deal has been reached. :wacko: I’m confused.

https://www.wyff4.com/article/greenville-county-and-city-leaders-at-standstill-on-university-ridge/29479272

The wyff article reads like a rehash article, not a new update. County councii approved the Conference Center funding  tonight but  stipulates County Square has to be approved by year-end or the money commitment could be reversed. 

I don't see that anything has essentially changed.  

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6 minutes ago, vicupstate said:

I don't see that anything has essentially changed.  

This has to go through two rounds of votes. The second  of which will have new city council members. Things will change.

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