Since 1991, there have been five failed attempts at rezoning 10.66 acres at the corner of Highway 14 and Woodruff Road, the most recent was in 2009.
It is now zoned R-S (Residential Suburban District) and it the developers are asking for it to be rezoned PD (Planned Development).
Unsurprisingly, there are lots of opponents. But many of those critics were caught off guard by the large number of supporters at the May 15th public hearing. A Stonehaven II resident in attendance put it at 100 in favor against 15 opponents at the hearing.
The land sits next to Graceland Cemetery, but across the street is Southside Christian School. If rezoning is approved, developers will turn over 4 acres to the school for an early childhood center for 200 or more students. Southside Christian also would be permitted to sell the property. Such donations in exchange for support aren’t uncommon among rezoning requests, but some opponents view it as a slick tactic. One upset Summerwalk Subdivision resident wrote on Neighborhood Bulletin Board NextDoor.com (registration required):
“If you had a vested interest in something, wouldn’t you show up too? If you were being given a piece of property to develop, you would have been there as well.”
Most rezoning requests draw opposition but in this case, the location next to a cemetery adds fuel to the often fiery debate. Opponents see it as disrespectful to the dead. Some with loved ones buried there say they were promised the land next door would never be developed. Supporters say that the wall, which has already been built, will protect it and the store side will be better off than the side just a few feet away from Woodruff Road.
The land will almost surely be developed, if not as a commercial development, then as a new residential subdivision. Supporters of the rezoning say that traffic will be worse if another subdivision is built on that land.
The rezoning proposal calls for a Sprouts Farmer’s Market, an organic and natural grocery store, within a 30,000-square-feet building to allow for offices, restaurants, retail space. 255 parking spaces are planned.
A representative of the developer, RealtyLink, says that not just any business would be allowed. A clause would prevent businesses that would be inappropriate next to a cemetery from being added. Examples cited of businesses not permitted include a bowling alley, dollar store, dry cleaning, manufacturing, nightclub, large thrift stores and adult book stores.
The second reading of the proposed rezoning is schedule for June 20th, 2017. The third and final reading is to be held July 18, 2017. It is identified on the Greenville SC County website as Docket CZ-2017-31.