City choosy about crossing development

An intersection that has recently been getting more attention from developers could be a new entrance into Greenwood, and officials want to be picky about what is built there.

Greenwood annexed the intersection of Stones Crossing Road and State Road 135 into the city in 2011, and in the past few months a developer has started conversations about what should be built on 50 undeveloped acres near the southeast corner. One proposal was to build a self-storage facility, set away from Stones Crossing Road so another business could build in front of it, but that was turned down this week.

And city council members don’t want those types of facilities built at any main intersection into Greenwood.

The decision is part of ongoing discussions the city council has been having about what should be built and where. Last year, city council members initially turned down a Goodwill distribution center on Emerson Avenue near County Line Road because they said an industrial facility did not belong in that area. After Goodwill agreed to specific terms, such as what kind of materials could be used and how many truck docks would be installed, the project was approved.

This month, council members were discussing Stones Crossing Road and State Road 135, which they believe could become a new entrance into the city. Currently, the intersection is partially developed with restaurants, a supermarket and a medical plaza, but a developer wanted to rezone undeveloped land on Stones Crossing Road, east of the intersection, so businesses could start building there. One of the businesses that wanted to build on the property was a self-storage facility, which wanted one of its warehouses to be built behind a commercial building or shopping center.

City council members said that development isn’t the type of business that they want at the city’s main intersections.

“This is a huge corridor into the city,” council member Brent Corey said. “Is self-storage what you want at the primary gateway to your city? My answer to that is no, even if it’s surrounded by office buildings or whatnot.”

Council members agreed to rezone the land, with the stipulation that a public warehouse or self-storage facility would not be allowed to be built on the property. The zoning change also prohibits churches, mobile home parks, and automobile or truck sales.

City council members voted 8-0 against allowing self-storage units to be built near the intersection. Council member Tim McLaughlin was absent from the meeting. They also approved rezoning the 50.8 acres from agriculture and commercially-zoned land into commercial-2 use, which is used for tourism.

In recent years, storage units have been constructed in front of two neighborhoods, one on U.S. 31 in front of Greenwood Trace and another on Main Street in front of Homecoming at University Park. Since then, Corey said, he has gotten complaints from residents about those developments being built in front of their neighborhood.

“We’ve failed before in having self-storage places right in the main corridor,” Corey said. “It seems like we’re setting ourselves up again for the same thing.”

Although the proposal was for the self-storage facility to be built behind another development, it would be hidden only if another company decided to build on the land immediately off State Road 135 and Stones Crossing Road, which is not guaranteed. No company has committed to building on the southeast corner of the intersection, Greenwood planning director Bill Peeples said.

Studies have said Stones Crossing Road could become a key intersection for Greenwood by 2025, so building a self-storage unit would not be the best development there, council member Thom Hord said.

“Sticking some self-storage units there would not be a good idea,” Hord said.

Corey said he wants engineers and builders to bring good-quality structures to the city. The city needs to have higher design standards for what is built in Greenwood, he said.

“From the city’s standpoint, I don’t want to look back 20 years from now and say, ‘Geez, that was another bad decision. We didn’t learn from the other ones,'” Corey said.

At a glance

About 50.8 acres at the southeast corner of State Road 135 and Stones Crossing Road is now zoned as C-2, meaning commercially used for tourism purposes. Here’s what’s not allowed to be built there:

  • mobile home parks
  • churches
  • temporary seasonal retail stores
  • roadside produce stand
  • construction contractors or storage-type operators
  • automobile, truck or recreational vehicle sales
  • gas stations
  • public warehouses