Oct 29, 2003, 6:54 AM
I live up in Asheville, NC, about 60 miles north of Greenville-Spartanburg, but I follow the news in Greenville. It's sort of a lingering habit from the thankfully brief time I lived there. What strikes me about Greenville is not only the abundance of sprawl and the overall ugliness of the city, but the fact that nearly all of the metro area's growth is suburban sprawl. And it seems Greenvillians could not be happier about it.
To illustrate this, I'm going to start posting articles from the Greenville News here. Note the frequency of these articles, and also note what folks have to say when they interview the locals about plans for nearby strip malls and subdivisions. Nobody gives the first damn about the environment or about demanding something better than the suburban sprawl that already makes Greenville such a hellhole. I'm glad I escaped but if you're going to be trapped there, I guess it helps to be happy that it's going to hell in a handbasket. What a pit.
Here's the first in what is likely to be a very long series.
DEVELOPMENT BOOMS ALONG I-385 CORRIDOR THROUGH GOLDEN STRIP
By April M. Silvaggio
MAULDIN — Caroline Holland remembers the days as a little girl growing up in the Golden Strip when she could ride toward Greenville and see cattle grazing in pastures along the roadside. But today, the place where this 24-year-old University of South Carolina student was born has almost literally grown up with her.
The last of the rolling hills along the five-mile stretch of Interstate 385 that winds between the Southern Connector and Interstate 85 are quickly becoming one of the hottest locations in Greenville County for what officials call destination-oriented development.
"You know all of the pasture land along the interstate is eventually going to disappear because it is already happening," said Holland, who grew up just south of Bridges Road. "I guess if it has to go, I would rather see something nice built there, and not just a bunch of strip malls."
And that is exactly what is happening, said John Owings, manager of current planning for Greenville County.
An estimated 60 percent of the residential lots that have been developed during each of the last five years in Greenville County were in the Golden Strip, he said. It only makes sense that businesses, professional offices and churches would follow, he said.
"The property owners were waiting for quality tenants," Owings said. "Now the support base is there. What you are going to see are destination-oriented businesses, rather than those that thrive on curb business."
Officials say the Brookfield Corporate Center at Interstate 385 and East Butler Road helped set the standard when it opened in the late 1980s.
Aside from the huge economic boost that Brookfield brings to Mauldin by generating an estimated $200,000 annually in tax revenue and bringing in hundreds of new families through job relocations, it is environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing.
While thousands of people go to Brookfield to work each day at businesses such as Ahold Information Services, Jacobs Engineering Inc., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and Verizon Wireless, the 208-acre office park's existence is barely noticeable to residents living nearby.
It is tastefully landscaped and boasts jogging tails, picnic areas and three lakes for those who work there to enjoy.
"That is just a shining example of what can be done," Mauldin City Administrator Russell Treadway said.
Just across East Butler Road bordered by I-385 and Holland Road sits Brookfield South, a new 57-acre office park ready for more service-oriented business. Across the interstate on another prime piece of real estate is the new $1.5 million Blue Ridge Council of the Boy Scouts Regional Service Center.
Farther south on I-385 at Bridges Road is CenterPointe, home to the new Charter Communications Inc. regional office and customer service center. CenterPointe is an 180-acre commercial park being developed by Greenville developer Phil Hughes.
Not far away, near the entrance to the Southern Connector, Brookwood Community Church is building a new $22 million complex to be known as Brookwood Point. The church has purchased 118 acres for its 114,000 square-foot facility. Plans are to build a 2,500-seat main auditorium and additional education space for up to 1,200 children.
Thomas McAfee Funeral Home has purchased seven acres from the church to build at Brookwood Point.
Aside from the property that is available inside the office parks and the acreage the church intends to sell at Brookwood Point, only a few privately held tracts remain along I-385.
"What we anticipate seeing in the future is the same type of very high quality development," Treadway said.
"I think it is that old real estate song. Location. Location. Location. We've got incredible access from Interstate 385, and it is basically surrounded by Interstate 85 and the Southern Connector."
Staff writer April M. Silvaggio can be reached at 298-4801.
Oct 29, 2003, 7:36 AM
Greenville has a nice downtown. I haven't lived there, but on my visits it always looks nice downtown. On the outer edges it sometimes looks sprawled. The retail areas are bad, but our Tunnel Road is up there with the worst.
I don't think anyone from Asheville-Hendersonville can pass judgement on Greenville-Spartanburg. Asheville also needs to look into controling sprawl as a region. This area has many wonderful attractions and a lot of money is generated by tourists, who more and more find their views from the Parkway are of rooftops and not fall color. If Asheville (as well as Boone and Roanoke) doesn't watch it's self, the very thing that really drives the economy and attracts so many people to live and move their businesses here could be lost. I still remember when the Citizen-Times did a story on the area increasing in population rankings this summer. They didn't say it would bring large companies to the area, they said it will make us more attractive for retail and they were excited! Lets not forget how excited Asheville area citizens were when the first Target opened. :no: That unfortunately made the TV news. Upscale shopping!
The 2025 Plan must be approved and if changed, it needs to be strengthened and it must include the entire region. Right now South Buncombe and Northern Henderson are the fastest growing area in the region. We need to plan for this retail. Not all developers will design a mixed use village of retail and residential on their own. We need to plan for the already increased traffic and future development along I-26. Madison County is already excited about possible roadside development around the new I-26 exits. That's scarry! We have an attractive downtown, now we must use it. Improve air quality, quality of life, preserve rural areas, preserve tourist sites/views and make downtown a stronger regional center. No more poorly designed suburban office parks and housing spread out over several square miles of landscape. At my house I wake-up to the sound of hammers and construction. New homes, the sign says. I'm a good half-hour drive from downtown Asheville in a very rural area of northern Henderson County with farms and dirt roads. There shouldn't be any "New Homes...starting in the..." anywhere in this area.
Oct 29, 2003, 3:46 PM
I think most metros in the US would boast similar claims in their newspapers too.
You can't really compare it to the atmosphere in Asheville, but quite frankly, the liberal attitude found there isn't the norm. Growth, suburban or urban, is often touted by local economic development officials, and the media, despite the negative side effects that sprawl leaves behind.
Oct 29, 2003, 3:53 PM
despite living in SC for about 5 years, I only visited Greenville once, and went through it a few times.
it's Greenville-Spartanburg metro, an epitomy of sprawl.
Oct 29, 2003, 4:11 PM
Indeed, Asheville does have sprawl, as does any city that has exhibited growth of any kind in the past 50 years. And it's by sheer dumb luck that downtown Asheville has survived as it has because back in the 1980's there was a proposal to level downtown for a suburban-style shopping mall that came uncomfortably close to passing.
However, one strange thing about Asheville is that even the sprawl is strangely attractive because of the landscaping requirements (Hendersonville also does this). In Greenville they have no such thing and it shows. The Cherrydale Point shopping center is an example. It's gargantuan, with only a handful of token scraggly maple saplings in the parking lot. They might as well have not bothered -- and in many places they didn't. There are numerous planting islands in the parking lots where there's nothing but grass.
I will give Greenville credit where credit is due -- they have a splendid downtown. One of the best around, actually, and they've got a performing arts center and a performance and sports arena that tower over anything in Asheville. However, downtown Greenville is just one small district surrounded by a sloppy patchwork of slums and sprawl, trussed by clogged wide roads that are lined to the horizon with suburban, sprawling, visual blight. Downtown doesn't make up for the rest of Greenville, and what's really grating about living there is the fact that people don't want it to change. Greenville has enormous potentiel -- they've got a 60-foot-tall waterfall in the middle of downtown for crying out loud! But people would rather have sprawl.
How do I know this? For one, when a smart growth village was proposed on Greenville's Eastside, people in nearby subdivisions fought and fought and fought it until it was scaled back into just another sprawling residential subdivision -- and then they were happy. That was what they wanted. The developer was quoted as saying that Greenville just wasn't ready for smart growth yet.
And they're not. They don't want it. They want sprawl. Greenville talks a good game about not wanting to be the next Atlanta but I've seen no proof that they're doing anything to prevent that, and in fact when I lived there it seemed that people just wished that Atlanta and Charlotte would hurry up and get there already.
It really is the differences in attitude and in annexation law that makes Asheville so different from Greenville, by the way. South Carolina law effectively prohibits annexation by requiring a majority of the citizens in a proposed annexation area to approve annexation -- which will happen at about the same time that we can all fly for free to Europe on giant winged ferrets. And Greenville's uberconservative population sees nothing wrong with sprawl. At a recent forum in northern Greenville County residents who were brainstorming about how the area should grow overwhelmingly supported no controls on growth or restrictions on "property rights" whatsoever. North Carolina's annexation laws meanwhile are some of the best in the country. A city can annex to its heart's content so long as it provides certain services. I imagine that if Asheville really wanted to, it could probably annex beachfront property, because there are no stipulations against cities crossing county lines or against sattelite annexations. Because of the freedom allowed by North Carolina to municipalities, most cities, including Asheville, have adopted a policy that any urban area should be municipal. That inability to escape city taxes (because the city will just come along and annex you later) is one reason that the phenomenon of developers building outside the city in order to escape a city's extra costs is not as prevalent in North Carolina as it is elsewhere. It's one of the reasons developers are more inclined to look at building in the city, and sometimes in established areas, anyway in North Carolina, and that's one thing that puts a little water, no matter how minor an amount, on the fire of sprawl in this state as opposed to others.
Asheville is the polar opposite of Greenville. Yes it has sprawl but a good percentage of Asheville's growth is smart growth. That's what the city wants and that's what a majority of citizens want. When the Asheville Citizen-Times quoted a developer who gleefully predicted that Airport Road will become the next Tunnel Road, residents who were quoted later in the article were appalled at that possibility. If you could find someone in Greenville who wouldn't be anything short of delighted at news like that, you win a cookie.
I realize that there's a lot to love about Greenville, but I couldn't bring myself to love it. It's too conservative and much too backward for my taste. One of the final straws for me there was when a state representative was quoted in the paper as saying that land trusts are a tool of satan. South Carolina is not interested in good growth, or preserving the natural environment. They consider it unnatural. And to me that's unnatural. I'm happy here in a city where even if people can't prevent all the sprawl they're still disgusted by it. I'm happy here in a city that sees the value of the natural environment, and one that's so much more interested in filling up the central city than in sprawling to the horizons. I find that a liberal city just grows more gracefully and in a greener fashion than a conservative city, and I know of no better examples than liberal Asheville and conservative Greenville.
Oct 29, 2003, 4:17 PM
I was really surprised to discover photos of sprawling areas, in cities I thought they had stronger urban guidelines. Urban sprawl, by itself, is not as harmful as the patterns the developers use to create new communities and subdivisions. Cul-de-sacs, lack of sidewalks, garage doors dominating the facade, unconnected neighborhoods, huge collector roads without attractive streetscapes, lack of mixed-use, high automobile dependency, clear cutting... the list goes on, and on, and on. I understand the need to annex additional territories to host new residents, but give me a break... I doubt it very seriously that we need 10,000 new homes each year, when the vacancy rates increase. In the case of Asheville, tourism is a great financial resource and I agree that the city should pay attention WHERE the growth takes place. I've never been to Greenville, so I can't comment on its own set of problems, but bad sprawl is always a desease.
Oct 29, 2003, 4:17 PM
Excellent post. How anyone disagree with what was just said?
Oct 29, 2003, 5:50 PM
at least while I lived in Columbia there was concern about sprawl, especially in the northeast area where sprawl was in its early life.
but yeah, there's a huge difference in how conservative upstate SC was from the rest of the state.
Oct 30, 2003, 12:42 AM
I agree with LSyd. Columbia seems light years ahead of Greenville when it come to issues like this. I live in the Greenville metro area (actually about 45 minutes south of Greenville) where only a few miles away it is already starting to encroach on cow pastures and farmland. To make it worse, in the farflung exurbs, here they build these "Horse and Farm" subdivisons where every lot has like 4 acres. DT Greenville is quaint, but it is nothing to right home about, basically it is all on one main street (Main Street..lol) and outside that there is NOTHING but suburban type developments, I mean even DownTown. I dont think the area has as much history as say..Columbia or Augusta or Savannah or Charleston. There arent even any urban historical neighborhoods in Greenville to speak of, as there are in those cities. And the city to the west, Anderson SC which makes up the third city in the metro (Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson), where I work, is nothing but a joke. The Downtown is crap. Dilapitated buildings sit next to the new Courthouse that these Andersonians are so proud of..LOL , it's horrible. And this city will eventually meet Greenville to the east and Clemson to the north in a few years the way it is sprawling.
Oct 30, 2003, 1:04 AM
heh, did they actually shoot "Radio" in Anderson?
Oct 30, 2003, 2:00 AM
No, actually. They filmed it in Walterboro. On WSPA-TV out of Spartanburg, they were calling that fact a nice statement about Anderson, in that Anderson has grown and progressed so much that it no longer looks like a sleepy little town stuck in the 1950's. I've never been there so I can't really speak for Anderson, however.
Oct 30, 2003, 2:49 AM
Oh believe me..it is still sleepy. When I first moved here I thought it looked like just a small suburb. Everyone said how much it had grown and I thought, grown? From what? an ant-hill? And it is STILL stuck in the 1950's, believe me..more than any other city ive been to in the USA. And Greenville isnt that far ahead of it!
Oct 30, 2003, 3:10 AM
Radio was a kid who went to T.L. Hannah High School in Anderson though.
I seem to get a negative vibe about the spawl in the GSP area. This is over all a true thing. The Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson Metro has the 5th worse sprawl in the nation- right after Atlanta (go figure). However, I challenge you to find a city like Greenville that doesnt have sprawl.
Consider that he Upstate of SC has over 1 million people. These people are unevenly spread out over a large area. The area is growing fast. Sprawl is just an unfortunate, yet natural side effect.
I have yet to see any evidence of how Columbia or Asheville is doing with dealing with it though. Especially when compared to the Upstate.
Columbia doesnt have a downtown like Greenville or Asheville. It has the Vista and Five points... two completely different areas that are basicly separated by the buisiness district and USC. It has that trolley thing as the downtown mass transit, which is cool for the drunks after the bars close. they even have a stop at the Greek Village for all the frat boys and sorority girls.
Richland Northeast Has some of the worst sprawl around. All the development in that area is (for the moment) centered around Two Notch Rd. This road has only one side that can be developed in the suburbian area due to a railroad track on the other side. The schools in Richland 2 are absolutely busting over capacity. One school is going to hold back its freshman class to stay in its current school (from one middleschool... for one year) until its new highschool is completed. When this school is completed it will already be very close to capacity. I make it a point to not got further out Two Notch than Richland Mall.
I don't really know that much about Asheville other than i like the town, even despite its horribly liberal majority. But when I'm there, I dont get the impression that its downtown any different than Greenville. Its a little bigger in regards to shops and restraunts and whatnot, but you get the idea.
There is more to Greenville's down town that just Main St. Granted, there are alot of restraunts around there, but you have you remember that downtowns aren't just about restraunts. Greenville has plenty of other things to do. They are working on a new stadium in Greenville's west end that will likely spur more redevelopment in that area. And you can't forget teh BiLo Center and the Peace Center. Also, Greenville is not this "conservative haven" that it is percieved to be. It has a consitently much higher ration of Democratic representatives and Democratic
I would like to suggest that this thread to post ideas about what the Greenville-Spartanburg area could do to prevent it from becoming another Atlanta.
I have none at this present time. Mass transit is not really practical. To most people mass transit is associated poor people. I think that is unfortunate, but its still a fact.
There is the proposed highspeed rail that has stops in Greenville and Spartanburg. I think that will spur some sort of initiative to create some mass transit... but it will probably also increase the I-85 corridor's sprawl since its going ot be easier to travel long distances.
Maybe more townhouse type homes? They're being built. But then what? There are more people, with cars. More congestion... more sprawl. The way I see it right now is that it would be very hard to do anything about the sprawl right now. But its good for the local economy.
Oct 30, 2003, 3:46 AM
And one other thing, Greenville and Spartanburg have just as much history as the rest of the state. Spartanburg was incorporated before anyone ever thought of Columbia. The area has a rich history. The area has grown on its textile industry. (which is now rapidly declining thanks to certain a communist country that will remain nameless). Spartanburg historically has been the Hub City of the Upstate. It is only since Greenville was incporporated (in 1907 i think) that it started to be the dominant city in the Upstate.
And you musnt forget that two important battles of the Revolutionary War took place near by... The Battle of Cowpens and the Battle of Kings Mountain.
"Urban historical neighbor hoods" arent really representative of anything other than old sprawl. But they do exist.
Spartanburg has these neighbor hoods of which you speak. Converse Heights is a great example. I know Greenville has them too... Specifically around E. Washington St. I don't know the specific name of that area though.
Also, the whole Upstate is full of old mill villages, each of which has its own history.
Oct 30, 2003, 6:16 AM
I think just what's happening in Greenville, shows developers there are starting to look towards urban development.
is the first project I think of, when I think of downtown Greenville! What a great idea! two 8 storey residential towers on the sides of a parking deck! 28 residential units are included in the development.
This structure is mixed use, with commercial space and 85 residential units.
Park Avenue East
Located on the edge of McPherson Park along the East Park Avenue Historic District. The residences will reflect the architecture of their classic surroundings, with Craftsman-style homes composed of textured tumbled brick, authentic shaker shingles, horizontal lap siding, standing seam copper accents, custom designed windows and front doors, and large open porches.
400 North Main
5-story building on the 400 block of North Main with 19 homes featuring 9 'to 11' ceilings, hardwood floors, solid surface counter tops, ceramic baths, gourmet kitchens and private balconies.
A mixed-use office high-rise (at least in Greenville it's a high-rise) with 24 apartments, featuring nine-foot ceilings, balconies overlooking the street or the courtyard, and stone floors in the kitchen and bathrooms. If you work for the bank, you're right at work! :D
An eight-story, 30 unit condominium structure with one bedroom lofts and two bedroom flats.
This should have it's own thread on this forum. No one has ever high-lighted the development in downtown Greenville on this forum. Well, here's a small rundown of some of their biggest projects. And to everyone's surprise, there's a historic district! :eek:
..actually there are more historic neighborhoods downtown.
Source: Web Directory of Greenville
Pettigru Historic District
Overbrook Historic District
West End Historic District
The West End of Greenville, located just across the Reedy River from downtown, has a long and interesting history. Although settlement in the area (near the intersection of Main, Pendleton and Augusta Streets) began as early as the 1830's, the real impetus for growth of the West End resulted from two events occurring in the 1850s. Furman University was established in 1852 on fifty acres of land in the West End, where it expanded and remained until 1958; and the first train on the Greenville & Columbia Railroad arrived in the West End in 1853. These factors led to both residential and commercial development of the area. The University attracted professors and students. Soon a residential and commercial areas began to develop to serve their needs.
Hampton-Pinckney Historic District
Hampton-Pinckney became the first "trolley car" neighborhood in Greenville.
Colonel Elias Earle Historic District
East Park Avenue Historic District
These neighborhoods are about the same age as some of Asheville's. Asheville was a cross-roads, passed-up for the rail-road until about 1880. After years of trying to get a rail line, the opening of the city's first rail line in the 1880's brought the city from a country cross-roads to a small city in a very short period of time. This is when Asheville's historic neighborhoods were built and when the city first became noticed for it's beautiful scenery. Some areas of WNC became summer get-aways for the rich from Wilmington and Charleston.
Oct 30, 2003, 10:49 PM
Matthew-You forgot the Lofts...which is an old textile mill being transformed into many upscale lofts near downtown.
I can't understand all the negativity being said about Greenville. And its downtown IS something to write home about, it is more vibrant than any other city I have seen its size except for Charleston. Greenville is the first city in the Carolinas to win the Great American Main Street Award, so something good must be going for it. The spawl I can understand, the Greenville-Spartanburg metro area is among the fastest growing on the nation.
Oct 30, 2003, 11:30 PM
BeachBumofSC -- Sprawl is certainly understandable in a fast-growing city. The fact that Greenvillians think sprawl is nothing short of wonderful, however, is not understandable.
Matthew -- It's not surprising that Asheville and Greenville are home to neighborhoods about the same age. Greenville is only about 20 years older than Asheville, in fact, and was a resort for Charlestonians and others trying to find a slightly cooler climate even before Asheville. For many years, governors of South Carolina maintained a summer home in Greenville, one of which still stands.
It was Greenville's growth, actually that propelled Asheville toward stardom. It was the "drover's road" that passed through Asheville on its way to Greeneville, TN, and intersected with a Native American trading path in what is now Pack Square that gave birth to the Asheville we know now. Farmers and merchants passing through Asheville on their way to one of the Greenvilles discovered the sulphur and hot springs and "healing airs" that helped Asheville become one of the most fashionable resorts in the world by the 1920's. Asheville owes a lot to Greenville. I don't deny that.
It only makes me sad that Greenville is wasting its potential on sprawl. I'm hoping that by posting news of sprawl in Greenville whenever it appears, that someone will be jolted into looking at development downtown and demanding that developers build more of that kind of development instead of the sprawl that's buried Greenville's beauty beneath so much scar tissue that it's getting easier and easier to forget that there's anything nice about Greenville.
I frankly just don't understand why people in Greenville don't demand better growth. It would seem to me that being able to go downtown, then going through the rest of the city would make it clear enough that you can having something better than strip malls and sprawl. But... then again, maybe I do know why Greenville is sprawling instead of growing (you all did know there's a difference, right?) -- it's because of the area's conservativeness.
Oct 31, 2003, 12:12 AM
You have to remember that in South Carolina, counties generally have no zoning laws. Where they exist, they are very limited. The cities do... bu the cities cont't control what is being developed outside of their limits- and thats where the majority of the growth is. Sure, there is some redevelopment within, but its not significant. Its also really hard to for a city to annex anything.
If the Statehouse would rework the annexation laws, it would make the growth easier to maintain.
Oct 31, 2003, 1:50 AM
Well I live and work in the area and just hate it. Maybe because of its ULTRA conservative majority, or because it is a sprawly mess, or because the only jobs to be found are in manufacturing (not many white collar workers here.) The majority of white people i have met here are racist and ignorant, I used to work in Greenville and didnt see really any historical districts worth mentioning. For a city its size it should be ALOT more. Ive never been to Spartanburg so I cannot comment on it but im sure it is simialar to the rest of the Upstate. Plus that last map that shows density is a joke. You see that area to the south of greenville that says Peidmont, then a little further south the little blip of yellow (Densley populated?) Hmmm, I live in that area, and Id say maybe 300-400 per square mile. Is that what this state calls densley populated? Im sorry, but I just dont see what the draw is to the Upstate area. I lived in Augusta Georgia before I moved here and there was more density, more urbanity (not that it was dense or urban by any means) and less of a conservative atmosphere in this area that has about half a million more people.
Oct 31, 2003, 2:25 AM
Oh, I know, Spartanburger. The fact that there might as well be no zoning laws outside of incorporated towns in South Carolina is one of the biggest reason sprawl in Greenville-Spartanburg is out of control. Within the city of Greenville, things are about as good as anywhere else. You've got downtown, which is gorgeous with its trees, gardens, squares, parks, mixed use, and more, and that's surrounded by pretty nice historic residential neighborhoods. Beyond Greenville's small sphere of influence though, things degenerate quickly.
And you're right. Greenville has no control over the sprawl that's growing like an algae bloom all over Greenville County. I recall in fact speaking with someone in the police department before I moved there. I was asking about safe and unsafe areas in the city, and they mentioned that the city of Greenville itself is pretty save because they've managed to push most of the crime out into the county. Thing is, you'd never be able to tell when you stepped out of the city and into the county because there are vast urbanized and suburbanized areas in the county that answer to no one but the Greenville County Council -- those same fun folks who shot down a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and left Greenville County being the last in the state without one. They're also the same fun folks who shot down landscaping requirements in new commercial developments due to their threat to "property rights" -- despite the fact that such regulations were strongly supported by area citizens. There's even a large shopping center on Pleasantburg Drive where half of the center falls under the jurisdiction of the city and the other half falls under county jurisdiction. The city half is relatively well landscaped, while the county half isn't landscaped at all.
That's what's killing Greenville. Sure it boasts booming suburban growth, but how long can that go on? Atlanta is a fine example of a place that began to choke on its own sprawl and finally had no choice but to turn back in on itself and grow in a smarter way. How long can Greenville sprawl unchecked? Sure, it would grow in a better way if South Carolina annexation law was changed, but what's the chance of that?
I fear that nobody's interested in changing the state's zoning laws, and while cities have no control over the sprawl on their fringes, counties like Greenville have no interest in controlling it for them. That means that in a worst case scenario, Greenville could sprawl as much as Atlanta and could easily swallow up Henderson County to the north, possibly even up to Asheville. Metro Atlanta covers more than 20 counties, so what's to stop Greenville from sprawling that far out?
I fear that even with better laws to govern growth and cities in North Carolina, the North Carolina counties near Greenville-Spartanburg won't be able to fight off their sprawl. No matter that we do more to encourange smart growth here, they'll drag us down.
Oct 31, 2003, 5:48 AM
scguy: I probably should have commented on that map... its definately not a map of density... The legend is wrong.
That map is one of Incorporated Places and Cenus Defined areas. If you look carefully you can see the city limits of Greenville outlined in the center of that mess.
And you're right. The Upstate has alot of indutry as its base employment. Thats why the China trade policy is killing the textile industry in the area.
It is my opinion that Greenville did the right thing regarding the MLK holiday. It was going to cost the city millions to have that holiday. It would have been fiscally irresponsible. Anyone that wishes to have that day as a holiday make take one of his/her vacation days.
The draw to the Upstate is the small towns. Some people just don't like to live in these massive cities like Atlanta. I love the Upstate... most likely becasue its where I grew up. It has a great climate, beautiful land, great people, great history- you just cant beat it. I can't change your opinion on the Upstate, but for alot of people, its either you love it or you hate it. No offense but I don't really see the big draw to Augusta.
Its true that SC is big on its propoerty rights... thats why the annexation laws are the way they are. Hopefully Gov. Sanford will remove these damn property taxes soon. (I kow he's gotten the process started)
It can't be stressed enough that the Upstate is very spread out its not dense at all, but it has the population to support its growing industries. - Thats likely another draw in itself. You can live in the country and still have some decent activities going on in the cities.
Oct 31, 2003, 6:27 AM
Do you not see the irony when you say you love the countryside that the very countryside you love is being converted to suburban sprawl at a blinding pace? Everything you love about Upstate South Carolina is being steadily destroyed -- are property rights really more important than having a place worthing loving?
And do you not see the irony when you say people don't want to live in massive cities like Atlanta, when Greenville-Spartanburg is sprawling hell bent for leather toward becoming the next Atlanta?
And do you not also see the irony in your statement that the Upstate boasts "beautiful land" and "small towns" when those are the very things that sprawl is destroying? It's not as though God's making more land, or that people are still building historic districts. Once they disappear under a strip mall, they're gone for good. But you don't see the need to protect the very things you tout about the Upstate. I don't understand that. To my way of thinking, if you love it, you preserve it. You don't pave over it and then fondly remember the good times, because memories and old photos are no substitute for the real thing.
Furthermore, it wasn't going to cost the city of Greenville a dime to have an MLK holiday because the city already observes one. The county does not, yet has two "floating holidays" that county workers can tack onto a sick leave or personal day. The county should have just set MLK day as an extra holiday and eliminated the floaters. Instead, not only did they choose to make it appear as though everyone in Greenville is a racist buffoon by not observing the holiday (even when the city does observe it), they chose to dredge this issue up every year in perpetuity by making county workers vote every single year on which holidays they will observe that year.
And to read the letters to the editor in the Greenville News, by the way, more than half of those opposed to the MLK holiday did so out of racist reasons. I realize that they're a vocal minority, but it's never good when the county government gives them voice by voting in their favor.
Oct 31, 2003, 7:11 AM
I sense some over reaction here. GSP is light years behind Atlanta, even Charlotte. It doesnt even have a contiguous developed area yet. It does on the Interstae, but if youve ever taken 29 between Greenville and Spartanburg- its very much undeveloped.
I'm not defending the sprawl here, I'm trying to put it into perspective.
I don't care for sprawl any more than you do, but you can't ignore the fact that it exists, and its growing. I can't help it that you seem to detest the Upstate for it. Thats what I'm defending.
I see where you see the irony, but I dont really care. You can't have a growing economy, and growing cities with out the sacrifice of some land. The way I see it, my city is doing better than it has since it was incorporated, so whats the problem? Ah- the careless development of land. But isnt that what this whole thread is about?
Greenville is a whole different bag of potatoes. As a Spartan, I am irritated that Greenville gets all the attention for everything while Spartanburg is just kind of in the shadows. Greenville is not that much bigger than Spartanburg. But I think that is common for any secondary town in a Metro area.
Greenville County is what i meant. It was my impression that people wanted to have the MLK holiday as a paid vacation day in addition to the others. That was the problem, and thats why it was not a practical thing to do.
Oct 31, 2003, 3:23 PM
I agree that Greenville-Spartanburg hasn't gotten as bad as Atlanta yet, but trust me -- it's not from lack of effort on GSP's part.
And no one's trying to ignore the sprawl. Hell, how on earth could you? I'm just lamenting the fact that Greenville isn't doing anything to pursue better growth. Yes, when a place grows you do sacrifice some land, but you can have growth and development in a city without sacrificing all the land. There is smart growth that makes use of existing infrastructure and doesn't waste land in Greenville, but the vast majority of growth in the area is sprawl, which does waste land, and is slowly but steadily turning Greenville into the very thing it professes to hate -- and nobody's much interested in doing anything about that.
Which to me, is ironic.
Oct 31, 2003, 3:53 PM
Is there any move to liberalize South Carolina's Byzantine annexation laws? It is insane that the state doesn't have one city with 100,000 people, while SD has one, and similar sized Oklahoma has two cities over 100,000.
Oct 31, 2003, 4:01 PM
Beats me. Columbia has right around 100,000 people, but if South Carolina's cities could annex the unincorporated sprawl on their fringes (and then hopefully urbanize it with city zoning laws that encourage denser growth in established areas), most cities in the state would double, if not triple in size. The city of Greenville's population alone would jump from 59,000 (officially smaller than Asheville, even), to probably somewhere around 200,000. Spartanburg, at about 35,000, would probably jump to around 150,000.
That glaring disparity in city populations versus suburban populations gives you a clue as to just how out of control sprawl is in the region.
Is there any move to liberalize South Carolina's Byzantine annexation laws? It is insane that the state doesn't have one city with 100,000 people, while SD has one, and similar sized Oklahoma has two cities over 100,000.
Columbia's 115,000 city population.
Nov 1, 2003, 9:57 PM
Spartanburger and others who live in the Upstate area... I know I came off kind of strong putting down the area like I did. Downtown Greenville is actually really nice, and for a city of its actaul size (city limits) it is not bad. Just seems it could be a little different for a metro population so large (almost a million if not more than that now.) Anyway, the residential midrise projects going up Downtown look nice. Hopefully little Anderson can turn around its pathetic little Downtown but I dont think the people here want that. They would rather be out on Clemson Boulevard by the Mall or near I-85 than anywhere near DT. However, I was in an architects office the other day and saw some renderings of what looked like a nice new residentail midrise (8-10 floors) for Anderson. Hopefully this place will catch up.
Nov 3, 2003, 6:36 AM
Is there any move to liberalize South Carolina's Byzantine annexation laws? It is insane that the state doesn't have one city with 100,000 people...
No. This won't happen anytime soon. peeople don't want to be in the cities because they will have to pay higher taxes as opposed to living in the counties. The other problem is that there isnt really any major benefit to living in the city. It would be great if they would change the law though.
Right now, the easiest way a city can expand is by use/blackmail of its water service. The city water services extend well beyond the city into the county and sometimes into a neighboring county, so the city says "Look, if you want to keep using our water, you have agree to annexation." Of course, its a much more bureaucratic process than that, but you get the idea.
Thats why places like Greer, Rock Hill, Spartanrbug, and Columbia have large areas within the city limits, then a small line that extends to some other area... It creates strange city limit boundaries.
Notice the southeast edge of Spartanburg and the eastern edge...
B1, B3, commercial, office buildings
The rest is pretty straight forward. Excep the area in the southwest labeled as I-1... that is the Downtown Airport.;
Greer- probably the best example.
Pretty much all of the edges of Columbia are like this. The exception being Ft. Jackson, which is that large expanse to the east. Also notice the vast unincorporated urban areas.
On another note, I believe that Charleston will pass the 100k mark by the next Census. It probably has by now, but the Census doesnt do city estimations.
Just for accuracy's sake, the populations of the cities mentioned area as follows:
Just seems it could be a little different for a metro population so large (almost a million if not more than that now.) ... Hopefully little Anderson can turn around its pathetic little Downtown but I dont think the people here want that.
I agree. This irritates me as well, but this goes back to the annexation laws.
Anderson has plenty of potential. I think that the people have to realize and put forth the effort to spend the money for revitalization. Greenville realized it in the 70's. Spartanburg in the 80's. It just takes time.
Nov 3, 2003, 6:44 AM
I thought Charleston had 100,000+ residents? They had a story on Charleston's "Mayor Joe" over the weekend. He is running for his 8th term in office. They say it's a new record for a mayor in a city of 100,000+!
Nov 3, 2003, 7:12 AM
Well, they have the updated facts Im sure, so its entirely possible it has cracked the 100,000 mark. The Census was 3 years ago... and it was less than 4,000 people away from 100,000. Or maybe they are just rounding?
And 8 terms? that's insane! I didnt realize he has been there that long. dang.
Nov 3, 2003, 7:29 AM
I looked it up.
Your right, Charleston is 96,650 (Census 2000).
98,795 is the estimated population for 2002.
1990-2000: 20.2% growth
I wish Charleston and North Charleston would merge. North Charleston has a population of 79,641, up from 70,304 in 1990. It's estimated at 80,691 for 2002. It could be South Carolina's first entry into the top 100 since 1910. I know 176,291 (Census 2000 Numbers) would be close, but with the growth in the area, and the investment made there by the state, Charleston could make it into the top 100 again in 2010 if both cities would merge.
Charleston and the nation's top 100 largest cities...
Charleston's rank among the top 100 cities from 1790-2000
Columbia's rank among the top 100 cities from 1790-2000
Nov 3, 2003, 12:42 PM
yeah, it might be neat for SC to have a city in the top 100 again, but would that actually really make Charleston or Columbia nice places?
Nov 3, 2003, 2:34 PM
It would help South Carolina's image to have it's "showplace" city in the top 100. It also places Charleston on the national radar screen for some companies looking to relocate. It makes it easy to find info on a place, and a city in the top 100 makes more "lists", which bring national attention to a city.
Something to think about...
Would North Charleston be a city of 80,000 if not for Charleston?
You would have a cost savings in the merger (helps keep taxes down) and it would bring more money, not just from the savings of a combined government, but from size. Cities get federal money based on their size. This is why some cities hire their own workers to help with the Census. Having two cities of almost similar size can create problems for a region if they don't agree with each other on everything. There are some benefits for citizens (as seen above) and for the city/state.
Also I just think Charleston should be on that list.
Nov 4, 2003, 1:59 AM
I think Matthew has a good point. And an interesting idea. Columbia and Charleston are great places
Also, where did you get the city estimates Matthew?
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