Online Originals: Rezoning plans have Greenville citizens worried about increased traffic

Greenville

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Greenville’s City Council approved two rezoning plans during its last meeting, despite concerns from citizens about traffic congestion.

In a 5-1 vote, the council approved the requests for new development plans on Dickinson Avenue and Allen Road, located in the southwest quadrant of the city.

The first approved request is an Elks Construction project to rezone 1.34 acres located along the southern right-of-way of the Dickinson Avenue extension between Williams Road and Southwest Greenville Boulevard. The zoning change would take the land from residential-agricultural, which can currently support two single-family homes, to residential high-density multi-family, which would allow up to 10 multi-family units to be built.

Councilmember Rick Smiley, representing the city’s District 4, said the council approved plans because they believe, “neither of these rezonings represent a real or substantial change in the development.”

The second approved request is one Cherry Construction Company requested to rezone 37.150 acres located at the northeastern corner of the intersection of Allen Road and the Norfolk Southern Railroad. The zoning would change the development on that land from medical-office to medical-residential high-density multi-family. The city plans to build over 450 multi-family units in that location within the next 3 to 5 years.

During the city council meeting, officials and developers said the Allen Road development rezoning would reduce the traffic count in the area, a statement that had many citizens confused.

Citizens like Robert West tell 9OYS they believe the developments will only create more traffic in an already over-congested area. West lives near the newly approved development zones. Just last year, he said he was in a head-on collision on Allen Road, one which he now avoids altogether.

West told 9OYS the city has been promising a four-lane development on these roadways but right now, it’s still only two lanes and a median. West said there just isn’t enough space for the traffic that comes through that area.

I would say just take a little more caution about where you’re developing at, maybe look at other areas that might be a little less impacting to just the general traffic in the area.

Robert West, Greenville citizen

Smiley said the change in development on Allen Road will generate less traffic than the original plan to use the land for medical offices. He also said it’s a move from intensive, to less intensive.

The existing zoning for medical offices would generate a certain amount of traffic and quite of bit of traffic if you think about how many people will come and go from medical offices. The proposed zoning for residential would produce less traffic because people generally come and go from their homes less often than people come and go from medical offices.

Rick Smiley, Greenville City Council District 4

But citizens believe it will still generate more traffic regardless because you’re building something on once empty land. West hopes the city will follow through with plans to expand the roadways on Dickinson from two lanes and a median to four lanes to help with traffic flow and congestion.

Both rezoned developments will require 25-year storm retention to reduce stormwater runoff in the area.

See City Council Agenda: https://d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net/greenville/f900a8b8-51f1-11eb-920e-0050569183fa-970bf21f-f56b-416f-a6a9-70488f43e9f9-1628105074.pdf

Stream Council Meeting: https://greenville.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=10&clip_id=3733

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