[ ABOVE: Renderings provided by Ryan McKibben ]
A festively decorated City Council chamber was the site of the final Planning Commission meeting of the year last week. With four items on the agenda and one of those postponed, the meeting went quickly enough for everyone to dash out to see the new Star Wars movie.
QuikTrip at Academy and North Markley
The popular gas station and convenience store is expanding rapidly in the Upstate, and the property at Academy and Dorn Avenue (near Markley Street) in the West End is the latest in a long list of conquests. The application reviewed was to rezone 0.61 acres of land from C-4, Central Business District, and RM-2, single and multi-family residential, to C-2, local commercial district.
As of now, the liquor store property at the corner of Academy and Markley is not included in any planning.
This is the first of many steps, said Michael Kerski, planning and development manager for the city of Greenville. Applications for rezoning also need to go to City Council, which will have two readings. QuikTrip (QT) is expected to submit a future application asking the city to abandon existing rights-of-way in order to combine all the parcels into one. QT is also expected to file for two special exceptions, requiring Board of Zoning Appeals approval: one to stay open 24 hours and another to operate as a convenience store.
Given the urban location, QT will not sell single beers at this location, will not have tables outside and will install fencing to ensure drivers do not use the property as a cut-through.
The QT rep said he met with nearby neighborhoods, local landowners and developers, and most are in favor of the proposed project. One resident, Trey Cole, also a local developer, asked the PC board how the project fits into the future land use plan and voiced concerns about what would happen to the property if it were rezoned and QT does not end up building. Kerski said the city would require a contingency contract on this project to alleviate that concern.
The PC board said that QT has done favorable things for communities and thought the location was appropriate. The application passed unanimously.
Text amendments to single-family infill standards for the city of Greenville
Next was a requested change by city staff to make modifications to the current infill standards adopted in August 2014. Changes include some technical updates and clarification to wording throughout the standards.
One big change proposed is to require homeowners to seek a permit to construct a new driveway or parking area in a residential neighborhood. For example, without a permit a resident could no longer put in a concrete driveway to a home if one is not already in existence,, according to city staff. This change would preserve the look, feel and character of the area and prevent a homeowner from turning his whole front yard to concrete (yes, it has happened).
The PC agreed that the changes were indeed needed, and the text amendment was approved unanimously.
Park Place on Hudson
UBJ covered this project in the recap of the December Design Review Board meeting, so no need to review all of the details again. Bottom line: This townhome project was previously approved, but some design changes had occurred when it came time to get a permit, requiring re-approval.
The board agreed the changes were all reasonable and approved them unanimously.
City staff notified the PC board that it has sent out a request for proposals to find a consultant to update the city’s design guidelines for downtown. According to the RFP that went out on Friday, the update will include a review of existing master plans, public engagement, planning and massing studies and a comprehensive review and update of existing guidelines as needed. The consultant’s work on this project is anticipated to begin around March 2016, with completion by the end of 2016.