Decision delayed for 519-home senior development in Greenwood

A decision on rezone nearly 186 acres on Greenwood’s eastside has been delayed after the developer failed to show up to a city council meeting on Monday.

The Greenwood City Council voted 7-2 Monday to postpone a decision to rezone 185.97 acres of agricultural land for a 55-and-up age-restricted single-family home development located east of Five Points Road and a half-mile south of County Line Road. The planned unit development, or PUD, would be a Del Webb active adult community of up to 519 homes to be built over the course of five phases, city documents show.

Council members Bradley Pendleton and Michael Williams voted against postponing the rezone.

The development had previously received a favorable recommendation from the city’s Advisory Plan Commission in a 5-3 vote with one member absent in August. City planning staff believe the proposed development is a good choice to set the stage for development in the area in the future, said Gabe Nelson, planning director.

More than 15 residents came to Monday’s council meeting to voice their opposition to the development, though due to time constraints, only five residents spoke.

Debra Shrum, a resident who lives east of the development, told the city council she was concerned about how the development would impact drainage on her property. Under the early plans, the development would drain to Grubbs Ditch, which is currently used for agricultural runoff.

“Although the subdivision will have detention ponds … the plan for those ponds is to outlet into Grubbs Ditch, so my concern is the potential effect on my property,” Shrum said.

She asked if any drainage studies had been done for the area, and if they had been, she asked the city to provide a copy of the findings to property owners who border the ditch. If the studies hadn’t been completed, then the council should delay its decision to make sure the development won’t impact neighbors, she said.

Shrum was not alone with these concerns, residents John Hakes and Dannette Morgan also expressed concerns about drainage. Hakes asked for further drainage studies and for cooperation with property owners to improve the ditch.

Morgan told the council she understands it’s difficult for the city to balance growth with infrastructure and services, but officials should consider that high-density development may not be the best use of the land. She also asked council members to consider several commitments if they chose to allow the development, with almost all of the commitments relating to drainage.

Both Morgan and Shrum expressed concerns about traffic. Shurm took issue with the length of the traffic impact study, which was conducted on one day in February that she said was a particularly low-traffic day.

She also brought up the city’s recent approval of a new apartment complex located near the intersection of Main Street and Five Points Road to the south. Both developments combined would add a significant amount of traffic, she said.

While she does not live within city limits, she asked the council to consider the “immense” effect their decisions have on her daily life, Shrum said.

“Your decisions have a much broader reach than just the residents of the city of Greenwood, and therefore, I believe you have a duty to consider the overall results of your actions and the potential damage that may result,” she said.

As part of the commitments the council is requiring for the development, the developer must improve Five Points Road adjacent to the site, Nelson pointed out.

He also told the city council action on the rezoning ordinance is not a final stamp of approval for drainage. The proposal will still need to go through the platting and master plan processes. The drainage plan will be thoroughly reviewed later in the process, and the plan commission would ultimately give final plat approval, Nelson said.

“This project should improve the drainage issues that they’re experiencing out there,” Nelson said. “It is not permissible to discharge water off property onto your neighbors and they will be adding things like detention ponds that should help the situation that they’re having in the area.”

Council member David Hopper later asked to hear from the developer. He wanted to hear why they chose this piece of land and share more about the project. However, the developer was not present at the meeting in person or via Zoom.

“It’s pretty upsetting that they’re not here,” Hopper said.

Hopper then made a motion to postpone their decision on the rezoning so that the developer can address the issues raised by residents. He then told residents that their concerns would be noted.

Williams did not agree with this motion to postpone.

“This wasn’t a surprise. We’ve been talking about this thing since August, they should be here,” Williams said. “I don’t know if we deserve to give them a postponement. If it’s that important to them, they should be here.”

Ultimately Williams and Pendleton, voted against postponing the decision. Final action is expected during the council’s Oct. 17 meeting.