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The City’s current Land Management Ordinance (the official term for the development or zoning code) is nearly 20 years old and has not had a comprehensive update since it was originally enacted. Both residents and developers are frustrated by the lack of clarity and inconsistencies throughout the ordinance, which provides inconsistent development outcomes, does little to protect existing neighborhoods and is essentially, inadequate for our growing community.
The draft development code and zoning map were prepared through a public, 18-month process that began in October 2021 following the adoption of GVL2040, the City’s comprehensive plan. The draft incorporates feedback received through a variety of public engagement efforts, including presentations to neighborhood associations, community organizations and professional groups, as well as multiple, ongoing public events and information sessions.
This year alone, there have been 75 public and neighborhood-level meetings and nine public Learning Labs related to the development code.
Additionally, when the draft code was published on January 23, a postcard was mailed to every property owner in the city (21,326 addresses) and 1,000 signs were placed in neighborhoods and along commercial corridors throughout the city.
The new code was developed for the residents who currently live in Greenville and is designed to:
No. Zoning is regulated at the state and local levels. The federal government does not have a role in Greenville’s zoning laws, and there is no relationship between the City of Greenville’s zoning ordinance and the funding that the City does or does not receive from the federal government.
No. The amount of single-family zoning in the city will increase with the new code. Currently, 33.6% of city zoning is single-family (this does not include parks and other City-owned properties that are zoned single-family). With the new code, 36.8% of city zoning will be single-family.
All of the existing single-family neighborhoods in the city are preserved as single-family neighborhoods in the new code, meaning they are only permitted one primary single-family dwelling per lot. The only difference is that instead of two single-family zoning classifications, there will be four. The purpose is to account for both larger and smaller single-family lots that currently exist in the city.
Current Single-family Zoning Classifications
R-6 - minimum lot size is 6,000 square feetR-9 - minimum lot size is 9,000 square feet
New Single-family Zoning Classifications
RH-A - minimum lot size is 18,000 SF (new)RH-B - minimum lot size is 9,000 SF (equivalent to R-9)RH-C - minimum lot size is 6,000 SF (equivalent to R-6)RH-D - minimum lot size is 3,000 SF (new)
If conditions allow, the owner of a single-family home may construct a smaller accessory dwelling unit (ADU) at the rear of their property; however, there are size and occupancy requirements associated with ADUs that will limit their use and preserve the character of the surrounding neighborhood. ADUs are a way for a property owner to age in place or even provide housing for adult-age children who would like to move home but need additional space. ADUs may also be rented for 30 days or more, providing additional housing options in the city.
Many of the city’s special-emphasis and historically Black neighborhoods currently have multifamily zoning classifications, which is incompatible with the single-family and duplex homes that actually comprise these neighborhoods. This has contributed significantly to gentrification and development that is out-of-scale with these neighborhoods.
The new code proposes smaller single-family lots or low-density multifamily classifications within these neighborhoods to help protect them from the intense development pressure they are facing today.
While the current code does little to protect existing neighborhoods from intense commercial development on adjacent properties, the new code proposes physical transitions that include additional property line setbacks, landscape buffers, upper-story building step-backs and in some cases, fences or walls to help protect residential properties from commercial and multifamily development.
The new code also concentrates higher density development in very specific areas where density and a mix of uses are already occurring and infrastructure is already in place, rather than adjacent to existing neighborhoods. Wherever possible, transitional zoning allowing for neighborhood-scale commercial uses has also been applied to act as a buffer between single-family neighborhoods and more intense development. An example is the use of the RNX-B and RNX-C districts.
All churches in the existing R-6 and R-9 single-family residential zones have been reviewed to ensure they have been given the appropriate residential zoning in the new code. This means they can only be a church and its accessory uses or a single-family home going forward.
No. Among the list of changes to the draft code is a provision for the zoning administrator to allow the reconstruction of a residential property that contains no more than three units if it is destroyed by fire or other natural disaster.
The new code increases open space requirements for new office, commercial and multifamily construction and extends the protection of neighborhood heritage trees.
The new code also incentivizes developers to work with the City to address our open space and affordable housing goals, which were established in GVL2040, the City’s comprehensive plan. The goals are to preserve as much as 35% of Greenville’s remaining vacant land as open space or parkland and to make at least 10% of all new housing in Greenville income-restricted to preserve access to high-quality affordable housing.
In addition to all of the public engagement opportunities listed above, throughout the process, the City’s Planning staff has made themselves available to anyone with questions or concerns and has made multiple changes to both the development code and the zoning map based on feedback received from the community.
Anyone with questions or concerns about the development code or zoning map is invited and encouraged to contact the Planning Department at email@example.com.