After extensive discussion Monday about the Stainback Organization’s request for a zoning change for the second phase of its Keri Beth Crossing development, the Greenville Planning and Zoning Commission was locked in a tie between votes both for and against the change and also tied in a vote to table the decision to a later meeting.
However, despite the stalemate in P&Z, a second public hearing on the developer’s proposed change in zoning for the property at 3602 Interstate 30 from “light industrial” to “multi-family 1,” will go before the Greenville City Council at its Dec. 10 meeting.
At the same city council meeting, its members will be able to approve the request either whole or in part, deny it whole or in part, table the item, or vote to send it back to P&Z for further discussion, City Secretary Carole Kuykendall said.
Phase two of the Keri Beth Crossing project has been a sensitive topic for many residents since the city council approved an “economic development agreement” with the Stainback Organization 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 — the “entertainment anchor” for the development – is completed.
At Monday’s P&Z meeting, Luke Stainback and developers working on various aspects of the project – such as the connector road, the Cinemark theater, and the apartment complex – restated that it had been their intention, since initial discussions of the economic development deal, to include “high end, ‘smart home’ type multi-family housing” in the development along with the Cinemark, KB Boulevard and other retail.
They also assured again that the road would need to be built first, because they “can’t start on housing until the road is built,” and that construction of the Cinemark would also begin before any apartments are added.
Despite the assurances, many P&Z board members and residents who attended Monday’s meeting were at least skeptical of the developer’s zoning change request.
Several of those who made their wariness known referenced the city’s now 10-year-old agreement with another developer in the Greenville Towne Center project, which has so far not drawn any new businesses.
“I won’t have enough faith to change the zoning until I see that the theater has been built,” said P&Z board member Danielle Hood. “Also, the apartments you’re planning may be upscale initially, but with Greenville’s median income (just under $42,000 annually per household), it won’t be too long until they’re section 8.”
Others at the meeting warned against rushing into decisions about the development since the city’s end of its agreement with Stainback is dependent on the construction of KB Boulevard and the Cinemark being completed.
“This city’s reimbursement is based on a post-development trigger,” said Duane May, who is a P&Z board member but joined the audience as a member of the public and did not vote. “This is not a crisis situation where we have to make an emergency decision.”
Similar to Hood’s position on the request, resident Larry Ellis urged the Stainback Organization to “stop selling this and start building,” as a possible way of garnering trust between the developer and Greenville taxpayers.