Woodruff Rd. rezoning passes second reading in Greenville Co.

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A busy Upstate road could be getting busier. Tuesday night, Greenville County Council voted 10-2 during a second reading to rezone a portion of Woodruff Road near Highway 14.

It’s currently residential but could soon become a mixed-use commercial development. Neighbors say not every part of Woodruff Road needs to be developed, but council says it’s good for the growth of the county.

“It’s going to be attractively decorated,” Councilman Fred Payne, whose district includes the proposed development, said. “There’s going to be a screen here of evergreen trees.”

Payne says the trees will add even more privacy along a wall already separating the development from the Graceland Cemetery next door.  Disrupting the serenity of the cemetery has been a big concern for people living nearby the proposed development.

“It’s a disappointment because many of us do have loved ones buried next to this property,” said Ann Friedel who lives nearby and opposes the project.

But Payne believes it won’t be a problem.

“The cemetery is on the other side of that road, beyond the wall, and it’ll be protected and as serene as you can be with a road like Woodruff Road right adjacent to you,” Payne said.

A developer who purchased the land wants to put a Sprouts grocery store and other retail space on the land which Payne says goes along with a comprehensive master land use plan from 2009.

“This corner right here is supposed to be a suburban center which suggests it’s going to be commercial,” Payne said.

However, neighbors say more buildings will add more traffic to an already congested area. Payne says the DOT is going to put a turn lane on Highway 14 into the property.

Neighbors are also not in support of another grocery store in an area that already has several.

“We have an overabundance of grocery stores,” Friedel said. “We don’t need it. It’s not bringing value to the community.”

People living nearby the property want the land to remain residential.

“We need zoning,” Friedel said. “We need planning. We can’t just have this haphazard whoever owns the land can decide what they want to do with it.”

Residents have had luck stopping development on the land several times in the past.

“It’s always been defeated before, very disappointed with our county councilman,” Friedel said.

However, Payne says this developers approach was different.

“In the past, the people didn’t buy the land and then try to get it rezoned…He’s done some things that make it a more attractive package today,” Payne said.

Payne says the developer is setting the county up for the inevitable growth it will have.

“We’ve got to accommodate that, so additional groceries stores and that kind of thing,” Payne said.

Part of the rezoning will also give four acres to Southside Christian School.

The third and final reading on the rezoning will be July 18th.

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