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August 15th, 2021
We've been working to keep you informed on Greenville County's efforts to replace Article 3.1, a controversial land development regulation that impacts rural, unzoned parts of the county. Below is a message from Executive Director Andrea Cooper to County Council in advance of the replacement ordinance's third and final reading this Tuesday, August 17.
Good evening Members of Greenville County Council,
I am writing to you today regarding the Article 3.1 replacement ordinance that will come before you on Tuesday, August 17. Please vote YES to support staff’s recommended ordinance — as is — which council advanced during the July 20th meeting. Vote NO to the harmful amendments being proposed at third reading, all of which are designed to increase developers’ profit margins at the expense of residents’ quality of life.
When you cast your votes at Tuesday’s meeting, please remember that the people of Greenville County have worked tirelessly for nearly two years to find solutions to replace Article 3.1. They have attended countless meetings, including on July 20 when they spoke with one unified message – adopt staff’s plan. Please listen to the constituents you serve and the professional planning staff the county employs. Please remember that while new residents will need affordable homes in the years ahead, the Homebuilders Association is a special interest group with one primary driver for their advocacy — to increase the profits of their membership.
Amendment #1 — a compilation of amendments #2, #3, and #4 — would be the most damaging to staff’s recommended ordinance, the most obvious slap in the face to citizens, and the largest give-away to developers. This amendment so disproportionately benefits developers at the expense of citizens that it appears it was in fact written by a developer.
Amendment #4, regarding Open Space, is also particularly offensive to the interests of citizens and a clear give-away to developers. If this amendment is adopted, the result will be rapid suburban sprawl into currently undeveloped areas at an intensity level that rural roads simply cannot support. If Council votes to accept this amendment, they should also prepare to levy large millage increases in the coming years, which will most certainly be needed to upgrade infrastructure to serve the sprawl that will have resulted.
Does Upstate Forever think staff’s proposed ordinance is perfect? No. We wish its requirements were far stronger regarding open space and more in line with the recommendations of the comp plan, which the county spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop. However, as with all things policy-related, compromise is necessary. The ordinance proposed by county staff is a COMPROMISE. It does not give developers everything they want, nor citizens living in rural areas, nor conservation groups like Upstate Forever. It does, however, reasonably balance those sometimes competing interests.
The meeting on August 17 presents a huge, pivotal opportunity for Greenville County Council. An opportunity to stop the confusion, frustration, and costly litigation related to the existing Article 3.1. An opportunity to build trust with the hundreds of residents that participated in the comp plan process and have since advocated tirelessly for its implementation. An opportunity to adopt regulations that would have substantial, positive, and long-lasting impacts on the citizens they serve — and generations to come. Please do NOT miss that opportunity. Support staff’s plan as is.