Emotions run high as Greenville City Council split on future housing market

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Emotions were running high during Monday’s Greenville City Council meeting, as leaders discussed what the future housing market in the city could look like.

The two big projects discussed were re-zoning requests that would allow for medium and high density housing along areas of Charles Blvd. near Firetower Rd., and Evans St. near the Arlington Blvd. intersection.

The Charles Blvd. request asked for 84 acres to be re-zoned to allow for medium and high density housing. Some who live in the area said the proposal was well planned, and it took into account all of their concerns.

“As a neighborhood, what we asked for was to protect the integrity and the character of the existing single family neighborhood that’s there,” said Christian Porter.

But others said they weren’t even told about the re-zoning request until recently. They were concerned what it could do to traffic in the area, and whether or not it was really needed.

During the meeting, city leaders learned if the property were to be re-zoned, developers were planning to place a 656 bed complex on part of the land.

Some thought this would be yet another student housing complex in the city.

“There is going to reach a tipping point. Whether that’s today or tomorrow, I don’t know. We don’t know this because we haven’t worked with ECU enough, we haven’t worked with Pitt Community enough,” said Councilman McLean Godley.

Tom Taft, who owns several apartment complexes, including The Boundary in Uptown, also expressed concerns. Taft said some complexes have already had to go into foreclosure because students don’t live there.

“My concern is what it does to the outlying projects,” Taft said “You already know what’s happened to North Campus Crossings.”

Patricia Bowen, who’s family owns the property in question, said she believes they’ve been treated unfairly. She said some council members had probably made up their mind before hearing arguments at the meeting.

“It just seems like we’re in compliance with the land use plan, and we figured everything was going to go through tonight,” Bowen said.

After a heated debate, the motion was denied, after Mayor Allen Thomas broke a 3-3 tie.

“We’re a growing community, and sometimes you have to make difficult short term decisions to have long term prosperity,” Thomas said.

Council then voted to table the motion until their May hearing.

The proposal for re-zoning on Evans St. was passed by council with a 5-1 vote. Councilman Godley was the only one who opposed the motion.

Neighbors who live nearby were against the proposal, as they were concerned about added traffic and their safety.

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