Development Code FAQs
While a robust and healthy public dialogue is important to the local planning process, it is also important to ensure that information being shared with the public regarding the City’s proposed development code and zoning map is accurate.
As a result, City staff have prepared the following information related to the purpose, intent and application of the new development code.
The code prioritizes the protection of Greenville's historic neighborhoods, guarding them from incompatible development.
New road, sidewalk and bicycle standards will improve mobility and take vehicular pressure off the streets.
Incentives for developers encourage the addition of affordable housing projects.
Expanding recreation and open space will provide a balance as Greenville grows.
Larger development and multifamily housing will be steered to major roadways and corridors.
- Why is the City rezoning properties?
The City’s current Land Management Ordinance (the official term for the development or zoning code) is nearly 20 years old and has not had a comprehensive update since it was originally enacted. Both residents and developers are frustrated by the lack of clarity and inconsistencies throughout the ordinance, which provides inconsistent development outcomes, does little to protect existing neighborhoods and is essentially, inadequate for our growing community.
- When was the draft code developed?
The draft development code and zoning map were prepared through a public, 18-month process that began in October 2021 following the adoption of GVL2040, the City’s comprehensive plan. The draft incorporates feedback received through a variety of public engagement efforts, including presentations to neighborhood associations, community organizations and professional groups, as well as multiple, ongoing public events and information sessions.
This year alone, there have been 75 public and neighborhood-level meetings and nine public Learning Labs related to the development code.
Additionally, when the draft code was published on January 23, a postcard was mailed to every property owner in the city (21,326 addresses) and 1,000 signs were placed in neighborhoods and along commercial corridors throughout the city.
- What will the new code do?
The new code was developed for the residents who currently live in Greenville and is designed to:
- Protect existing neighborhoods from incompatible development
- Provide new housing options at various price points
- Steer more intense development to major roadways
- Provide more recreation and open space
- Enact new road, sidewalk and bicycle standards to improve mobility throughout the community and take vehicular pressure off our streets
- I’ve heard that the federal government is involved in rezoning property in Greenville – is that true?
No. Zoning is regulated at the state and local levels. The federal government does not have a role in Greenville’s zoning laws, and there is no relationship between the City of Greenville’s zoning ordinance and the funding that the City does or does not receive from the federal government.
- I’ve heard that single-family neighborhoods will no longer exist if the development code is approved. Is that true?
No. The amount of single-family zoning in the city will increase with the new code. Currently, 33.6% of city zoning is single-family (this does not include parks and other City-owned properties that are zoned single-family). With the new code, 36.8% of city zoning will be single-family.
All of the existing single-family neighborhoods in the city are preserved as single-family neighborhoods in the new code, meaning they are only permitted one primary single-family dwelling per lot. The only difference is that instead of two single-family zoning classifications, there will be four. The purpose is to account for both larger and smaller single-family lots that currently exist in the city.
Current Single-family Zoning Classifications
R-6 - minimum lot size is 6,000 square feet
R-9 - minimum lot size is 9,000 square feet
New Single-family Zoning Classifications
RH-A - minimum lot size is 18,000 SF (new)
RH-B - minimum lot size is 9,000 SF (equivalent to R-9)
RH-C - minimum lot size is 6,000 SF (equivalent to R-6)
RH-D - minimum lot size is 3,000 SF (new)
If conditions allow, the owner of a single-family home may construct a smaller accessory dwelling unit (ADU) at the rear of their property; however, there are size and occupancy requirements associated with ADUs that will limit their use and preserve the character of the surrounding neighborhood. ADUs are a way for a property owner to age in place or even provide housing for adult-age children who would like to move home but need additional space. ADUs may also be rented for 30 days or more, providing additional housing options in the city.
- How will the development code affect minority and low-income neighborhoods?
Many of the city’s special-emphasis and historically Black neighborhoods currently have multifamily zoning classifications, which is incompatible with the single-family and duplex homes that actually comprise these neighborhoods. This has contributed significantly to gentrification and development that is out-of-scale with these neighborhoods.
The new code proposes smaller single-family lots or low-density multifamily classifications within these neighborhoods to help protect them from the intense development pressure they are facing today.
- How will the new code protect existing neighborhoods?
While the current code does little to protect existing neighborhoods from intense commercial development on adjacent properties, the new code proposes physical transitions that include additional property line setbacks, landscape buffers, upper-story building step-backs and in some cases, fences or walls to help protect residential properties from commercial and multifamily development.
The new code also concentrates higher density development in very specific areas where density and a mix of uses are already occurring and infrastructure is already in place, rather than adjacent to existing neighborhoods. Wherever possible, transitional zoning allowing for neighborhood-scale commercial uses has also been applied to act as a buffer between single-family neighborhoods and more intense development. An example is the use of the RNX-B and RNX-C districts.
- How will the new code affect the neighborhoods where churches are located?
All churches in the existing R-6 and R-9 single-family residential zones have been reviewed to ensure they have been given the appropriate residential zoning in the new code. This means they can only be a church and its accessory uses or a single-family home going forward.
- I heard that, with the new code, residents whose homes are nonconforming will not be able to rebuild their homes if they catch on fire – is that true?
No. Among the list of changes to the draft code is a provision for the zoning administrator to allow the reconstruction of a residential property that contains no more than three units if it is destroyed by fire or other natural disaster.
- What are some of the other benefits of the new code?
The new code increases open space requirements for new office, commercial and multifamily construction and extends the protection of neighborhood heritage trees.
The new code also incentivizes developers to work with the City to address our open space and affordable housing goals, which were established in GVL2040, the City’s comprehensive plan. The goals are to preserve as much as 35% of Greenville’s remaining vacant land as open space or parkland and to make at least 10% of all new housing in Greenville income-restricted to preserve access to high-quality affordable housing.
- Have property owners’ concerns been considered during the process?
In addition to all of the public engagement opportunities listed above, throughout the process, the City’s Planning staff has made themselves available to anyone with questions or concerns and has made multiple changes to both the development code and the zoning map based on feedback received from the community.
Anyone with questions or concerns about the development code or zoning map is invited and encouraged to contact the Planning Department at email@example.com.