Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Spartan

Can SC handle its sprawl?

Recommended Posts

-I summarized this article-

While the report doesn't actually do anything, it does provide evidence that SC is willing to make an effort to contain its sprawl an redevelop existing areas. Perhaps this will lead to more mixed-use and dense development and the continued revitalization of dowtown areas.

---------

This report marks South Carolina's first statewide effort to guide how cities should grow.

If South Carolina keeps growing the way it has in the last few years, it could wind up with more than 900 square miles of new development

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Yep.

The other side of that is that there are some people who think their land is theirs and that nobody should have the right to tell them what to do with it. Period. There have been cases in SC where these country boys would threaten to shoot land surveyors. They would also remove GPS Survey Points that are on government rights of way, and that are held in 3ft of concrete. Basicly, some people are fanatic about their land.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting to see that the issue is at least brought up. I have had a view that sprawl in the Carolina's will far eclipse that of Atlanta's sprawl. Not in terms of the magnitude of development - but in area. The employment centers are far less clustered & zoning regulations are more in favor of low density developments. Already most of upstate SC is in a metropolitan district - which by 2010 will likely be consolidated into a single one. Columbia is stretching it's influence to far flung rural counties & Charlotte already has 3 counties tied to it's consolidated region, likely a fourth will be added.

And it won't be overdeveloped suburban sprawl but development so spread out that little urbanity will occur. In already devestated towns people are already driving 1 to 2 hours to find work. This will only increase. I truly do not want this to occur to my homestate, but already SC is the favored home for Charlotte & Augusta residents. The trend is well in place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The biggest challenge to land planning is the lack of cooperation between neighboring cities and counties, which often compete for funding and jobs."

I used to think that this was only a Detroit problem. As it turns out, every metro with a serious sprawl problem is facing this same issue. Every municipality just wants more jobs & more people to increase the tax revenue, no matter what the consequences of such growth might be. It will continue, and will only get worse, unless sprawling regions can have some sort of regional cooperation.

No Regional Cooperation = Gigantic Sprawling Mess

In Detroit, the council set up to provide regional cooperation unfairly gives the suburbs an advantage. Not that there is much cooperation anyway. I have a feeling it is the same exact way in most US metro areas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is that in SC it is easier and cheaper to build something new out in the middle of nowhere rather than fix up and re-use old buildings.

It will be a long time before Greenville/Spartanburg, Columbia, or Charleston gets to be anything close to Atlanta.

I can see GSP cathing up to Charlotte in terms of population... the question is whether or not Greenville and Spartanburg can and will cooperate to make the eventual merger of these areas a smooth process. Hopefully there will be some sort of joint mass transit system sorta like the DFW area (obviously on a much smaller scale).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is that in SC it is easier and cheaper to build something new out in the middle of nowhere rather than fix up and re-use old buildings.

Which is exatly what happens in Detroit. It is too complicated to build in Detroit. Too much red tape. So almost all developments occur in far reaching suburbs. This has created some interesting new trends. People commute from suburb to suburb, not from suburb to downtown. Of course that's what happens in the most decentralized metro in the county. Only 12% of the metro's jobs are in the city.

Anyway, I've hijacked the thread long enough...back to SC....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well hopefully SC will learn from others' mistakes and not do that. We have alot of potential around here, we just have to use some smart planning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But Detroit or even Atlanta for that matter is not a good example though. The cities in SC were never as urban (except for Charleston 200 years ago) compared to the rest of the US. So there is simply little infill or renovation possible in Greenville. I know there is some urban decay, but believe me - it's minimal. In order to house all the new residents developer's have gone where it's easiest to build - that much is true. But in order to control sprawl, SC residents are going to have to face something they are unfamiliar with - that is high density in residential areas in & around the city.

Which is a problem - much of the new residents are attracted to the wide availability of 1 acre lots in the foothills. There is so much scenic land that sadly so much is being developed. And developer's will have a hard sale promoting urban high dense developments when so many are either accustomed to low density housing or specifically want low density. I am aware there are some urbanist in fill development going on, but unlike Atlanta, where so much of the city was abandoned for decades - Greenville has not had a significant history of high density.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Detroit wasn't as dense as you might think. The city was, and still is, made of almost all single family homes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Certainly SC's cities are not as urban as others, but center city decay is a problem. Greenville, Spartanburg, and Columbia have had their center cities become wastelands (not as much in Columbia b/c of State employees downtown, but it was there). However, many towns in SC are making efforts to revitalize their downtowns. Greenville has been doing that for about 25 years or so, and their efforts have payed off, because downtown Greenville is a very lively place, and it is the 4th largest tourist area in SC (i think... its near the top anyway). Spartanburg hasn't been in the game near as long... maybe 15 years or so, but its efforts are paying off. Downtoen Spartanburg is slowly but surely filling in with neat restaurants and shops af all sorts.

Then you have cities like Sumter and Florence whose downtowns are deserted. Accross the state you have historic mills and other palnts that have been abandoned, but that are not visible because they arent in highly travelled areas.

My point is that there is some decay and non reuse, but certainly not to the extent of other cities in the US. But like you said, cities in SC are simply not as big as most large cities in the US.

Still, sprawl is an issue. Greenville-Spartanburg was ranked as having the 6th worst sprawl in the nation right after Atlanta. So comparing our sprawl to Atlanta's is to an extent very legitimate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't mean that sprawl isn't a concern in SC - to the contrary, the point I'm making is that because it is a different type of sprawl than large cities it is potentially worse. Have a large urban center helps diffuse sprawl - having a historicly urban core encourages high dense development. But in Greenville's case it has historically been just a small city - but with the new development it is unable to support high dense development. So much of the development occurs in far flung areas - this is what I would consider a potentially worse situation than Atlanta or Detroit.

As for Spartenburg itself, yes there are run down neighborhoods, but I think the main problem is that years ago the city erroneously believed that tearing down structures was the solution. In addition there is a sea of parking lots surrounding downtown giving it an feel of abandonement. Spartenburg at least has tight knit communities directly surrounding downtown that are in good shape - working class to upper class neighborhoods. Spartanburg just needs to preserve the remaining structures (such as the old civic center) & encourage development in those seas of parking lots.

I for one would love to live within walking distance of a cheeseburger a plenty! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I would agree about it being worse. I would have to see the area become only sprawl with no center at all (which isnt impossible if nothing is done to prevent it from happening). What needs to be done is to expand the area that is traditionally known as downtown and incorporate some of the surrounding areas that are not known for being downtown, but are nearby.

As for Spartenburg itself, yes there are run down neighborhoods, but I think the main problem is that years ago the city erroneously believed that tearing down structures was the solution. In addition there is a sea of parking lots surrounding downtown giving it an feel of abandonement. Spartenburg at least has tight knit communities directly surrounding downtown that are in good shape - working class to upper class neighborhoods. Spartanburg just needs to preserve the remaining structures (such as the old civic center) & encourage development in those seas of parking lots.
You are right... Spartanburg has a bad history of removing historic buildings. Those parking lots of which you speak are slowly filling in or being removed, or at least repaved to not look so crappy. It just takes time for the infill to spread out from downtown. The worst one was right on Morgan Square but it has since been removed and a big new building has been put there instead. The other worst one was over on St John and Daniel Morgan, but it has also been filled in an a nother very large building has been built in its place. The downside is that the parking lot was moved accross the street, but the plus side is that it replaced a grassy field that had alot of trash in it... and it is a landscaped lot as well.

My current problem is that while we have all these great new office buildings and hotels going up, they aren't putting in retail space. This is particularly a concern on Morgan Square where they built the new Extended Stay America HQ. It is a magnificent building, but that whole block that faces Morgan Square is completely vacant.

There are only 2 other sides left Morgan Square is more of a triangle), and one of those is on the other side of Church St ( a very bust sreet). It doesn't have much store front property because when those buildings were bulit, Main St was the main focus, and there were some other buildings on the other side of the street that faced the Square (that have since been torn down as mentioned before).

Anyway, all of this is not very conducive to foot traffic, which is a problem if Spartanburg wants to become what Greenville is today.

I for one would love to live within walking distance of a cheeseburger a plenty! 

Truer words have never been spoken. That makes me very hungry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One idea I had about containing the sprawl is making annexation easier. Right now it is very difficult to annex anything. Last year Spartanburg annexed like 50 acres or something, and it was the largest annexation in several years. Yeah, you can stop laughing now :) Anyway, if it were easier to annex, the cities would have more control over how things can be built, and that could result in more productive growth. The county governments in SC are basicly useless when it comes to development. The cities all have zoning, the counties all have none.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One idea I had about containing the sprawl is making annexation easier. Right now it is very difficult to annex anything. Last year Spartanburg annexed like 50 acres or something, and it was the largest annexation in several years. Yeah, you can stop laughing now :) Anyway, if it were easier to annex, the cities would have more control over how things can be built, and that could result in more productive growth. The county governments in SC are basicly useless when it comes to development. The cities all have zoning, the counties all have none.

That has been a huge gripe for SC for decades. Meanwhile NC cities have the right to annex based on population density - not on citizen approval. When county zoning regulations either do not exist or are favored toward low density housing, as growth occurs sprawl is going out of control. It would even be an economic booster - the city of Greenville is only around 60k, if it annexed the immediate urban area around it the city could easily be 200k. Spartanburg even would be 100k.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly, and thats why I'm always saying that SC's cities are poorly represented in population on the national level comparisons.

The actual law says something to the effect of 75% of the citizen's who's land is up for annexation must aggree to be annexed. This results in fairly small tracts of land being annexed, and that's why that 50 acres was such a big deal. It was like a dozen peices of proprety or so.

That is also why you get such long and stringy city limits in SC. Greer is an excellent example of this.

Greer- 16,843

30560402.gif

I got this from the Census website....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've really lost track of SC cities - I used to regularly look for city maps when I was young but by the time I had the available data in GIS, I had lost interest. I remember Greer for the longest time was a little more than a half circle around W Poinsett St in Greenville Co & just a squarish area in Spartanburg Co. The only way for any municipality in SC to grow is to annex land when it's undeveloped & is owned by just a few people. It appears Greer has turned into an agressive town. Meanwhile Spartanburg is completely landlocked by urban communities that have no desire to be incorporated. Little chance of growth unless the city proper redevelops.

My hometown of Rock Hill has done a fairly good job of being aggressive but not becoming too disjointed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not only do the municipalities have 'first dibs' on annexing. But they also have an influence over zoning matters concerning unincorporated county land. This is something that does not exist in GA & SC. Here counties & cities are always at war over land being annexed & zoned to a higher degree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.