GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Some people living in Greenville say they’re afraid they’ll be pushed out of communities their families have built for generations. This comes after City Council voted against a building moratorium at their last meeting that would put a halt on some new developments across the area.
“To see what has happened to West Greenville, to see what has happened to Nichol Town, Pleasant Valley, other communities… It’s shameful,” said Jalen Elrod.
Elrod said his family has been in the Upstate since the early 1920’s. Last year was the first year since then that no one in his family could afford to live in West Greenville.
He’s among those calling for Greenville’s City Council to reconsider their recent decision on the moratorium.
“Because that is the only, the most robust measure that they can take to stop the gentrification of black communities in Greenville,” Elrod said. “And discontinue their erasure until they decide to take the robust actions needed to ensure that affordable housing can come to these communities and by extension, equity can come to the growth that’s happening in Greenville.”
Two weeks ago council rejected a moratorium that would have hit pause on new developments around the city.
Instead, council voted in favor of text amendments, changing the the design and dimension standards and project and buffering requirements for future developments.
Ken Gibson, who represents District 3, is one of the council members who voted in favor of the moratorium.
“As property values go up, there are a number of renters who are long-time residents of our community who are not able to afford to stay there anymore,” said Gibson.
He said he would love to reconsider it but he doesn’t think enough council members agree.
“I think that now we’re going to move forward with text amendments which hopefully will give some protection to the neighborhoods,” Gibson said. “It will not be as much protection as a moratorium would give.”
But, Gibson said, there are still avenues to explore.
He said he still wants to see the city grow, just through smart development.
“It’s something that we need to try to do as much as we can to try to mitigate the effects of it as we go forward,” Gibson said. “We can’t have that type of development on the backs of the people who have lived here for generations.”
Gibson said the text amendments might let some developments slip through the cracks that maybe council doesn’t want, but they’ll serve as some relief while council looks to re-zone some of its districts as a part of a revamp for the city’s Land Management Ordinance.
City Council is looking for feedback from residents on its land management code. To provide your input, click here.