Council preserves open space as Greenville grows

January 10, 2024

In keeping with its priorities, City Council unanimously approved the purchase of 2.5 acres of vacant land located along East Faris Road, to preserve it as open space.

Located near Glenn Road and the Nicholtown neighborhood, the land will remain undeveloped, fulfilling the priority to preserve open space, as identified in the GVL2040 Comprehensive Plan. The Plan, adopted in 2021, specifically aims to preserve 35% of Greenville’s vacant land.

“This particular land behind us has been left that way for a reason and we wanted that reason to remain,” said Yvonne Reeder, former Nicholtown Neighborhood Association president.

Reeder and other neighborhood leaders had concerns about proposed planned development along East Faris Road near Glenn Road because of housing affordability and traffic safety.

“The City had put up a guardrail on Glenn Road in that particular area because there were so many cars that could not maneuver that curve,” said Alan Mitchell, Greenville County Council District 23 representative.

The Council authorized City Manager Shannon Lavrin to proceed with the purchase of the property, and set aside $350,000 from the Open Space Fund for that purpose. This is the second purchase of land for open space. Last year, the City purchased three acres at Conestee Nature Preserve, using the $1.3 million Open Space Fund.

“The city manager, the mayor, City Council, I just applaud them for listening to the community, they listened and not just listened, but they acted upon some of the desires that would help to make the citizens feel like we had been heard,” said Reeder.

After the passage of the GVL2040 Plan, City staff developed a matrix to score land for appropriate for purchase. Lavrin told Council the property on Faris Road scored high for open space (109), high for affordable housing (92) and, high for mobility (95). She said staff also determined the land is challenged for neighborhood development due to topography and other natural conditions.

“The 106 East Faris parcel actually scored high for open space because of its proximity to Cleveland Park and the possibility that we could actually use that for some trails and mobility connections in Nicholtown,” said Barrett Armstrong, City senior landscape architect. “Also,  it’s not a good candidate for redevelopment along the riverbed, and so it makes a lot of sense to preserve that as open space.”

“If we can keep this green space, then that means that we have a healthier environment because not only in this area, but the air is going to circulate in other being, other areas also,” said Mitchell.