GREENWOOD — City Council voted unanimously Monday to reject a zoning change and overlay request for the property known as Sunnyside.
A number of people spoke in opposition to the changes during a public hearing at council’s regular monthly meeting.
Sunnyside, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sits on property where a developer was proposing to build several houses and rent them to fraternities and sororities, presumably associated with Lander University.
The city’s Board of Architectural Review and Planning Commission, respectively, recommended that council deny the request.
Peggy Dean, a former owner of Sunnyside, said she and a number of others in the neighborhood opposed the rezoning. The house is 165 years old and should be protected, she said.
One nearby resident said approving the rezoning request would “triple the density” of traffic in the area. “Lander does not take any part in this development,” the resident said, and such a development would increase already existing crime and sanitation problems.
Michael Bedenbaugh, executive director of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, said he was contacted late last year by the developer about the possibility of securing easements through his organization. He said he has not heard from the developer since the initial communication.
“This building is not protected now,” Bedenbaugh said. “It is not in the best interest of this property or this neighborhood for it to be rezoned.”
He warned of a “continued spiraling down” of the neighborhood.
“Whatever it takes to preserve the house, you should do within your power as City Council,” Bedenbaugh said.
Neighborhood resident Brenda Jolly said the area was once a quiet residential area. Approving the requests would add to problems that already exist, she said.
“We need to clean up what we already have and I ask you to vote against it,” Jolly said.
Council voted unanimously to deny both requests.
In other business, a spirited debate preceded council voting 4-2 to accept a $250,000 grant award from the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation. The grant would be used for the development of the uptown Farmer’s Market, plans for which will be discussed in the near future, City Manager Charlie Barrineau said.
“We need to have meetings (to discuss plans) before we accept these people’s money,” Council Member Ronnie Ables said. “This is being called a Farmer’s Market, but I understand it will also include retail (stores).”
Barrineau said the “open-air” market would consist of a number of different activities. “We will include whatever we can to draw people to the area,” he said.
“We’re doing this to draw people to the uptown,” Mayor Welborn Adams said. “We’re creating an experience.”
Ables said council needs to discuss its plans for the project.
Self Regional Healthcare Foundation will serve as the third party agency to receive the money. “The hospital foundation won’t release the funds until we’re ready to do something,” Barrineau said. “We’ll be discussing selection of a design and engineering firm and we’ll have to design it for multi-use.”
Council Member Kenn Wiltshire made a motion to accept the grant and voted in favor along with Adams and Council Members Betty Boles and Niki Hutto. Ables and Council Member Johnny Williams voted against the measure.
Also, the city received a clean bill of health in its audit report for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2012. David Phillips, representing the Greene, Finney and Horton firm, reported that the city received an unmodified opinion, which is the “best opinion the city can receive.”
Revenue was $12.7 million in 2012, up 4 percent over the prior year, while expenses were $13 million, down 3 percent from the year before.
The city fund balance increased from $4.7 million in 2011 to $4.8 million in 2012.
Council approved amendments to ordinances concerning parking requirements for outdoor retail (permanent) and City of Greenwood budgets for 2013.
Annexation of property owned by Greenwood Rental Center was approved on second reading and council voted to table a measure requesting rezoning of 202 Beadle Avenue at the request of Boles.
Council also agreed to authorize Barrineau to execute a violent crimes task force agreement with the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Department and approved a request from the Greater Greenwood Parks and Trails Foundation to thin timber on the Grace Street property.