Zoning change sought

A public hearing concerning a zoning change requested by the Stainback Organization for phase two of its Keri Beth Crossing development is planned for the Greenville Planning and Zoning Commission’s meeting this coming Monday.

A public hearing concerning a zoning change requested by the Stainback Organization for phase two of its Keri Beth Crossing development is planned for the Greenville Planning and Zoning Commission’s meeting this coming Monday.

The specific request being made by the developer for the property at 3602 Interstate 30 is to change its classification from “light industrial” to “multi-family 1.”

Since the agenda for the P&Z meeting was posted earlier this week, many in the community have been asking questions like, “whatever happened to the deal with Cinemark,” since the construction of a Cinemark theater was a major component in an agreement the developer made with the city earlier this year in May.

In that agreement, the city is to begin making payments toward a $4.3 million reimbursement to the Stainback Organization upon completion of the construction of KB Boulevard – a road connecting Monty Stratton Parkway and Sayle Street – as well as for the completion of supporting infrastructure such as erosion control, pavement, storm drains, and water and sewer lines.

Also under the agreement, the city will begin making payments toward a second $4.3 million reimbursement after the promised Cinemark movie theater is completed.

According to Ford Stainback, though, the reason for the requested zoning change is to allow multi-family housing in addition to the theater and retailers.

“From the beginning, we were wanting to include some high end, ‘smart home’ type multi-family housing along with the Cinemark and other retail establishments,” Stainback said. “The only thing we’re wanting to add that our current zoning doesn’t allow is multi-family, and we know of a lot of builders who have an interest in building new, high-end multi-family housing.”

Stainback also gave a new projection as far as when construction will begin on the Cinemark and KB Boulevard.

“Ideally, we’re hoping that within 90 to 120 days, or three to four months, that construction will begin on the road and Cinemark,” Stainback said. “And, we’ll still be doing that before any multi-family is built because we can’t start on housing until the road is built.

“So, the Cinemark and the road will be built first, but we just want to get our foot in the door with zoning for now,” he added.

“Things are still good between us and Cinemark, in fact, they’re only working on about nine deals throughout the whole country this year,” Stainback assured.

Other terms of the agreement made between the city and the Stainback Organization in May are as follows.

Most of the city’s payments to the developer will, according to the agreement, come from sales taxes and property taxes from businesses within the development.

And, after a maximum of 15 years, the city is to pay the developer no more than $6.75 million from the development-generated sales and property taxes.

Similarly, the city will also make payments to the Stainback Organization through TIRZ revenues that the development generates, starting in 2025.

The reason why Stainback won’t be able to get any TIRZ money until 2025, is because the city is also currently under another agreement in which TIRZ funds are to be used to reimburse developer Scott Steenson in the Greenville Towne Center development.

However, the Towne Center plan, so far in its 10 years, has not drawn any new businesses, which led many residents to be wary about entering an agreement with another developer.

At the May 21 Greenville City Council meeting, when the agreement with the Stainback Organization was being considered and was eventually approved, resident Buddy Crump warned against the city trying to “force demand” in an effort to increase sales tax revenue.

“The free market economy is based on supply and demand,” Crump said, and after mentioning Salt Grass Steakhouse, Olive Garden and other chains that opted out of opening locations in Greenville, he added, “if there’s not enough demand for something, you cannot force demand.”

Despite some residents’ reservations about the city entering the agreement, others and a majority of the members of the Greenville City Council decided that supporting the planned 110-acre development was a risk worth taking, and the agreement was approved.

However, at that same city council meeting, even the council members who voted in favor of the deal pondered the weight of the decision.

“This is a very hard decision we have to make,” Councilwoman Holly Gotcher said in May. “Either way, I may forever regret it.”

This Monday’s Greenville P&Z meeting, in which the Stainback Organization will request the zoning change from light industrial to multi-family, will be at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers of the Greenville Municipal Building at 2821 Washington St.

Travis Hairgrove is a news reporter and features writer at the Herald-Banner and covers city government for many municipalities in Hunt County. To reach him outside of business hours, email THairgroveReporter@gmail.com.

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