When it comes to new development in Greenwood, officials want more control over what should be built and where.
Officials want to rezone for agricultural use four undeveloped areas of land, stripping away the current residential zoning.
The goal is not to create more farms; the point is for developers to come with a specific proposal, and the city council could rezone the land if it agrees with the plan.
City officials want to rezone a total of 384 acres in order to give the city more say in what will be developed there.
About 224 acres near Cutsinger Road, 80 acres next to Pleasant Crossing Elementary School, 50 acres near Smokey Row Road and 30 acres south of Stones Crossing Road along State Road 135 are the first of what could be many areas rezoned to agricultural use by the city.
Rezoning the areas to agricultural use limits what can go on the property without the city council’s approval, council member Bruce Armstrong said.
If a property already is zoned for commercial or residential use, city officials give up a lot of control over proposed development, Armstrong said.
The idea behind the rezoning to agricultural use is when a developer wants to come into Greenwood and build or expand a business or build a new subdivision, the location would have to be rezoned from agricultural use to the proper zoning for what the developer wants to build, city engineer Mark Richards said.
The change makes undeveloped areas available for any kind of development rather than a predetermined plan for the property, such as commercial or residential.
The change will wipe the slate blank, Richards said. The city council will have more say over the future land use, he said.
This means the city council will have the ultimate say in what is developed.
“It’s kind of getting what the city would desire and also maintaining higher standards so we don’t get things we don’t want in certain areas,” Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said. “The big thing is communication up front with developers on areas we don’t have covered and implementing new standards on what we want to have.”
The ability to see what could potentially go into an area is beneficial to the city’s master plan, city council member Thom Hord said.
Two recent examples prompted the change.
Despite resistance of city council members, a Goodwill store and distribution center is being built on Emerson Avenue because the area was zoned for that type of development.
Then, a Circle K gas station announced plans to build near the Central Park subdivision at Sheek and Worthsville roads.
Residents of Central Park protested, but because it already was zoned commercial for a gas station, the city could not stop the project. Circle K got the permits needed to begin construction.
Despite the latest incident with Circle K, the Goodwill project highlighted the need for the city to have more control on development, Myers said.
If the Goodwill and the Circle K locations had been zoned for agricultural use, the city would have been able to deny the projects or have a say in changes, Hord said.
“The cities that have taken a little bit of control have really begun to prosper in many ways,” Hord said. “Too many areas in this city look run down, and it’s because there hadn’t been stipulations on what should be built there. You have to really think ahead about what could be built here. There are certain pockets of Greenwood that look really bad.”
The proposal will be passed to the city council with a recommendation at September’s plan commission meeting. Once the council votes on it, it would go into effect.
After these properties become agricultural, it’s likely that other undeveloped areas will be rezoned as well, Hord said.
City officials have pushed for higher standards in recent weeks, proposing rezoned residential areas for higher-end homes and higher architectural standards. The council’s request for rezoning to agricultural property is just another step toward Greenwood steering the direction of development.
“I think we have a good hold on our direction,” Myers said. “The city needs to have a plan and an idea of where we want it to go. We just can’t have hodgepodge. We want nice looking businesses and retail, or commercial, something on the main road that says this is who we are, we are a city of pride and progress.”