Mauldin City Council nixes Habitat for Humanity’s Restore plans in town

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MAULDIN, SC (WSPA)– Mauldin City Council voted 4-3 to approve am amendment to their zoning ordinance Monday night.

Leaders with Habitat for Humanity say they’re disappointed following Monday’s vote.

“We obviously are disappointed in this vote and outcome. We are reviewing our next options,” said Present and CEO, Monroe Free.

Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County is pushing for a new Restore in Mauldin. The City of Mauldin’s proposed thrift store ordinance could limit where thrift and consignment stores can go within the city limits.

Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County, wants to open a restore in the former BI-LO store on West Butler Road.

“As we face this crisis of affordable housing, the City of Mauldin has an opportunity tonight, to stand up and support affordable housing in our county,” said Monroe Free, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County. “The restores generate about one third of our revenue at Habitat for Humanity. They are a critical role. They have funded much of our growth over the last few years.”

Mauldin’s drafted thrift store ordinance would not ban the stores from the city but will limit where they can go.

“In my opinion abutting our downtown, abutting our central business district, is not the appropriate place for a thrift store,” said Taft Matney, Mauldin City Council, Seat One. “This has nothing to do with Habitat, that this is about economic development. This is about the City Center Village, and it’s about the future of the City of Mauldin for years to come, and as someone who is elected to represent the citizens of the City of Mauldin, and to look out for it’s future, we have to consider how will our downtown area be affected.”

Matney said Mauldin started this process before they received Habitat’s application. City leaders said there are reasons why the ordinance is on the table.

“So, we wanted to make sure that when it came to the stores that we currently have in and around our City Center area, that those would be favorable, and one of the things that we were looking at, happen to be thrift stores, and limiting the number of thrift stores in and around our city center area and central business district,” Matney said.

Mauldin’s City Center will include shopping, dining and entertainment, and this area includes North Main Street, Murray Drive, Jenkins Street, and East Butler Road. The former BI-LO is near this area.

“So our City Center Village is something that’s been in discussion for a number of years, and it’s finally starting to come into fruition,” Matney said.

City leaders said they are willing to help Habitat find another location, outside of the current desired space. Free said they hired a realtor to help.

“A well respected active realtor there in Mauldin, did a search and could not identify any property that met the restrictions that are in the ordinance, specifically to be more than 200 feet from a residential area, and to not be a free standing building,” Free said.

To read the drafted ordinance and it’s restrictions, click here.

Free said he hopes council will vote not to support the ordinance, and he said if not, the non-profit could look at legal options.

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