Downtown will always be our primary urban center, and the plan continues to emphasize downtown. The recently completed Downtown Master Plan also affirms its role as our city center.
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A comprehensive plan provides a framework and guiding principles, and the creation of jobs is an outcome of a successful plan. The plan does advocate for the creation of small urban centers located throughout the city, and those commerce areas will become job centers.
Currently, developers are seeking land in traditional neighborhoods because there are no incentives to do otherwise. By developing small urban centers or “nodes,” Greenville will shift the tide, encouraging growth in defined areas through incentives such as increased building heights and allowances for density. While land values in these urban centers will increase, the values of homes in traditional neighborhoods will become more stable over time.
Green space and open space actually play a key role in the plan. While Greenville is an urban environment, the plan emphasizes the preservation of green space as a key contributor to quality of life
Creating more desirable areas in our city will help attract more companies to Greenville. Quality of life can be a deciding factor in the site selection process and the plan puts Greenville on track for a high quality of life ranking.
We don’t consider the plan to be auto-oriented. The plan supports the creation of small urban centers within a five-minute walk of adjacent traditional neighborhoods. Those urban centers are connected via corridors designed to support public transportation, which could be bus, light rail or some future option.
Our data (census, development, etc.) tells us that growth has occurred and is projected to continue. The plan acknowledges that growth will happen and gives us the ability to shape growth in a healthy way.
The plan preserves single-family housing because it strengthens traditional neighborhoods. By redirecting development to small urban centers, the plan effectively takes the pressure off of traditional neighborhoods.
Company leaders are looking for quality of life for themselves and their employees. The plan helps us create areas where people want to live.
Regardless of race, many cannot afford to live in the city. People leave because the land values are inflated. We want to create a new balance that slows the rate of increase in residential land values and stabilizes our existing neighborhoods. The plan also establishes a goal of making 10-12% of all new housing units affordable (an increase from 8% currently) and recommends creating affordable housing throughout the city instead of only in specific areas.
There is a clear connection between the City’s and the County’s plans. The county plan directs growth to its existing urban centers, including the city of Greenville, which is the largest. The City’s plan assumes that and, in turn, directs that growth to small urban centers.
The overall vision is for Greenville to grow in a healthy way that makes it stronger rather than allowing growth to occur at the expense of quality of life. The plan considers a new way of growing, a willingness to work for what Greenville wants to be and a willingness to adapt, putting Greenville squarely on the path to becoming a vibrant, sustainable and successful community.
Comprehensive plans are not meant to be project-specific. The plan is designed to provide a framework for the community to consider each new development based on its merits.
Because it will require collaboration between the public and private sectors, the plan calls for incentives to provide balance. For example, developers can donate more green space on a specific project and receive an allowance for added building height. In addition to using incentives, the City will also seek grant funding.
The nodes included in the plan are for illustrative purposes, based on areas where small urban centers are already forming. When a node location is officially identified, there will be a master planning process, which involves numerous opportunities for public participation.
The plan supports the concept that affordable housing can go anywhere. An affordable home could be in an apartment complex, mixed in with market-priced apartments or it could be a townhome in a traditional neighborhood. Federal guidelines are used to determine who is eligible for affordable housing.
Open space has a direct impact on a community’s quality of life. Economic development analysts call it the “golden rule” of development. Cities that maintain a high quality of life enjoy ongoing growth and prosperity.
When we consolidate growth in nodes that are bikeable, walkable and accessible via public transportation, we reduce the traffic pressure along the corridors that connect them. The goal is to create an environment where maintaining an automobile is not considered essential.
Widening roads could be part of a solution to a specific congestion issue, but it is only one option. There are other ways to manage traffic (such as public transit, integrated trail systems, etc.). The plan considers using other options to reduce pressure on roadways.
All three of the plan’s identified priorities (affordable housing, open space and transportation) are about growth. The plan emphasizes directing most of Greenville’s new growth into higher density nodes or centers located throughout the city that are connected by major corridors. We are creating a place where people can live, work and play within five miles of their home.
Throughout the public engagement phases of the planning process, the need to add more affordable housing continued to emerge as a top priority for the community. Home prices and rents have risen faster than inflation in recent years and many residents have diminishing options—especially for homeownership.
Effective public transit requires density. Right now, our community is spread out, which makes it difficult and expensive to meet transportation needs. The plan creates nodes of density throughout the city, which will increase ridership opportunities.
We are preserving traditional neighborhoods by protecting them from gentrification. The plan recommends incentives and regulations to push development pressure to the nodes rather than established neighborhoods. The result will be stabilized land values in neighborhoods because redevelopment will be more costly.
While the core values listed in the plan may not reflect the values of any one person, they do reflect the community’s values, which were identified through extensive public engagement efforts.
There is no impact on tax rates associated with the plan.