Passing ordinance would be mistake

As leaders of the two primary bodies charged with driving and facilitating economic development in Greenwood, we are writing to profess our unified, unequivocal opposition to Greenwood City Council Ordinance 17-22.

This ordinance is a dangerous step in the wrong direction for Greenwood’s economy. If approved, this legislation will initiate an almost immediate downward spiral for development projects, essentially rendering the City of Greenwood an economic development dead zone.

Since the ordinance received initial approval on April 17, we have fielded a number of calls and emails from concerned business leaders explaining its potentially disastrous consequences.

Industrial executives warn that expansion will no longer be economically feasible. Site selectors and private development professionals indicate Greenwood may be removed from future consideration altogether. The negative impact on jobs alone would be in the thousands.

Given new, blanket standards on design and construction, development plans for Old Town would be halted as well. This area cannot possibly meet standards listed in the State Road 135 overlay.

Unfortunately, this is just the short-term impact. Long-term negative effects would be significant as well.

During the past several years, Greenwood officials have worked very hard to position the city as an attractive option for private development. These efforts are working, and we are only beginning to reap the rewards.

Passage of this ordinance would reverse all progress made in this area, severely damaging the city’s reputation among business leaders and economic development professionals.

We agree that architectural and building standards are important. However, overlay zoning should take into account an area’s existing infrastructure and unique elements. For instance, the Greenwood City Center building — an impressive example of new construction and downtown revitalization — would not even qualify for the citywide overlay being discussed.

Greenwood is constantly competing for economic development opportunities. We are on the front line of these efforts, and the current landscape is challenging enough. Ordinance 17-22 would be a disastrous burden to this process, the impact of which may be impossible to overcome.