City right to influence development near interchange

The area around the new Interstate 65 interchange at Worthsville Road in Greenwood is largely a blank slate in terms of development. Thus, it gives city planners unprecedented ability to shape the appearance and function by establishing strict standards for the kinds of businesses that can locate there.

We don’t need more truck stops — there are good ones at the exits immediately north and south of the interchange under construction. And we don’t need more warehouses, as there are plenty between Main Street and County Line Road and room for more there.

And there’s certainly no need for another cluster of fast-food restaurants.

So city officials have taken the pre-emptive step of establishing strict guidelines for what can go in that area and what those buildings should look like. Now, whenever a development is planned in that area, city officials and members of a committee that reviews developments will look specifically at those guidelines to be sure they are being followed. The goal is to make sure the city dictates what they want in this growth area.

The outside of buildings should be at least 75 percent brick, stone, tile, block or concrete panels for business buildings, and no vinyl or aluminum siding on homes. Parking lots must have at least 8 percent of the space be landscaped, with specific requirements of 10 to 15 parking spaces between landscaped medians. Businesses must set aside 15- to 30-foot corridors of green space in front of their buildings, depending on which street they are located along; and the green space can have no signs.

The requirements are neither draconian nor unfair. They represent the city’s efforts to make the area attractive to potential businesses and to prospective residents. While it means certain businesses will not be able to operate there, there are plenty of options available elsewhere in the city and, indeed along the interstate, where those businesses can locate.

Once the new interchange is open, the area will be ripe for development. The city was right to act now before the situation became uncontrollable.

At issue

Greenwood is working with a virtual clean slate in terms of development around the new interchange on Interstate 65.

Our point

By implementing strict development standards, the city will have better control of the businesses that locate there.