Neighbors push back on plans to develop in Greenville; Developers say it’s a solution to affordability

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – There’s a request to rezone part of downtown Greenville in an effort to build on the land. But some people who live and work in the area are pushing back.

Developers said its about creating affordability, neighbors argue the plans add too much density.

The proposal put before Greenville City Council Monday night for a first reading, ‘The Mosaic at West End,’ would rezone four and a half acres of land near Academy Street, Perry Avenue, Calhoun Street, and Ware Street. The land would be turned into a mix of residential and commercial projects, including 133 housing units— both single and multi-family. 

Cheryl Jenkins has built and developed homes in West Greenville for the last decade.

She addressed council Monday night in opposition of the proposal.

“We just want more responsible development. Not try to fit as many units as you can, and make as much money as you can, and you’re gone,” Jenkins explained. “Let’s make it responsible for the people who are going to live here now and who are going to live here in the years to come.”

She said most concerns are over the density.

“They’re allowed to do 90 units on that particular site. They’re asking to do 133 units,” Jenkins said. “The size and scale of what they want to do is going to overshadow the neighbors that are already there.”

She said neighbors have voiced their concerns about other issues, too.

“They’re concerned about how it’s going to look. They’re concerned about the traffic that’s going to be in and out,” Jenkins added. “Where people are going to park, if they’re going to be parking on the street and now we’ve got driveways that are blocked or you can’t get out of your driveway in time to get to work.”

Bryan De Bruin is the Vice President of Development for Saint Capital LLC, one of the developers behind the proposal.

He said neighbor’s concerns are worth discussing.

“We’ve designed elements within our site to combat a lot of the questions and concerns from the neighborhood,” De Bruin said. “Frankly, we’ve listened. We’ve been having these conversations for about a year now and we’ve listened to every single one of their points and where appropriate we’ve made changes.”

That includes considerably reducing the density on one of the streets and performing a traffic study that ultimately revealed the development would create minimal congestion.

De Bruin said they’ve made changes where appropriate, but added there’s a method to the development and it’s to create more affordability.

“Finding a house that you can afford and buy is very difficult for the majority of our workforce. How do we fix this?” he asked. “We think this is a really good mechanism to say increased density leads to an increase in affordability.”

De Bruin said right now there are five affordable homes on the property. The plans would add 29 more of them.

“It is better for our community if this workforce housing group has the ability to not just live in an apartment but also live in a home in the City of Greenville. How are we going to solve that? We think we’ve put forward a plan that does show that path forward,” said De Bruin.

As for Jenkins, she just hopes to meet in the middle.

“And find some sort of common grounds so that everybody, maybe not walk away supremely happy either side… But something that we both can live with,” said Jenkins.

De Bruin said the developers plan to meet with neighbors before council reconsiders the ordinance. No word yet on a set date for the ordinance to go before council again for a first reading.

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