Greenville City Council met on Thursday night and were presented with multiple public hearings by city planning which will later be voted on in a recessed meeting.
The meeting consisted of seven public hearings, which included a request that involved the East Carolina University Millennial Campus project. The meeting additionally touched on continued operating budget presentations for the coming fiscal year.
Before the City Council could begin its meeting, City Attorney Emanuel McGirt made a request to recess all public hearing items of the agenda at the end of the meeting.
“Senate bill 704, passed recently in response to COVID-19, provides that a public body during a remote virtual meeting is required to allow written comments on the subject of the public hearing to be submitted between notice of the public hearing and 24 hours after the public hearing,” McGirt said.
All public hearings will be recessed until May 18 during a recess meeting, according to McGirt. He advised City Council to not take any action on the public hearings it would hear during the session until the written comment period expires 24 hours after the meeting, which then made the written comment period expire Friday night at approximately 10 p.m.
Seven public hearings were brought to the City Council during the meeting. Some public hearings were ordinance change requests involving zoning changes on parcels of land for development.
The fourth public hearing on the agenda was an Ordinance change requested by the Planning and Development Services Department to amend the City Code by creating a new Mixed Use Institutional (MUI) zoning district.
This request was made for the area that will be home to ECU’s Millennial Campus project but would also benefit hospitals and any other institutions that may want to move into that area, according to City Planner Brad Scevior.
“The Millennial Campus site currently isn’t zoned in a way that would accommodate what they (ECU) are proposing to do with the Millennial Campus,” Sceviour said. “We sat down with ECU and talked through this amendment. We came to a place where we felt like they (ECU) can do what they want and we can have the city’s interests look after as well.”
Sceviour said city planning wanted to make this area a mixed use district which would allow for emphasis on office space, institutional space and other ventures involving research and development and limit commercial use.
The action being presented would only cover the redistricting of the area, not the rezoning, according to City Manager Ann Wall. Sceviour said that the rezoning is currently targeted to be presented in June.
The Millennial Campus project is currently located in District 2, Mayor Pro Tem Rose Glover’s district. Glover said she was concerned about moving to quickly and negatively affecting other property owners in the area.
“I still think that a lot of times we make mistakes in the city by rushing to do something and other people are hurt by our decision and that shouldn’t be,” Glover said. “ECU has to be a good neighbor and that’s not what they do. They’re not good neighbors.”
Several people spoke on behalf of ECU in favor of the ordinance and attempted to answer any questions for the city council. The public hearing, as well as the others, will be revisited for voting on May 18 in a recess City Council meeting.
The meeting was closed by Mayor P.J. Connelly wishing everyone good health. This meeting, as well as many other archived meetings, can be watched in its entirety on Greenville’s city website.