The 6-1 vote came despite push back from dozens of residents who made it clear they don’t want the development in their neighborhood.
While reiterating the need for affordable housing in the community, the Spartanburg City Council voted Monday to allow two Habitat for Humanity homes to go up on a single piece of property in Duncan Park.
The 6-1 vote came despite push back from dozens of residents who made it clear they don’t want the development in their neighborhood. They expressed fear that this rezoning change, if approved, would affect other lots in the area, or cause their own property values to plummet.
“I think the whole neighborhood will suffer as a result of this,” a disappointed John Scherberger said after the meeting.
Only Sterling Anderson voted against the plan.
“I like my neighborhood and I’d like to keep it the way it is,” resident Michael Green told the council.
Lori McMillan, chairwoman of the United Way of the Piedmont, spoke in favor of the homes to help low-income residents secure a roof over their heads.
“We believe everyone deserves an opportunity to thrive,” she told the council. “Habitat plans to build these homes for two families; we support this project.”
The property, vacant for nearly a century, is located on the corner of Union Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue and was donated to Habitat for Humanity of Spartanburg in 2018 by the Spartanburg County Foundation.
Habitat for Humanity, a faith-based nonprofit that helps provide affordable housing for low income residents, opted to divide the large property, which consists of only trees, so it can accommodate two homes instead of one.
That move to help an additional family requires a zoning change, which must be approved by the City Council.
City staff insisted that that this change would impact this property only, and not others.
Council member Jamie Fulmer, who represents that area of the city, said it would actually be a “positive addition” to the neighborhood.
“I think in my heart this is a good thing for the neighborhood and a good thing for the community,” he said.
Council member Erica Brown said the city’s need for affordable housing is too great to deny this request from Habitat for Humanity.
She wasn’t willing to promise that the city would not take action in the future to use other vacant lots citywide for a similar purpose.
“There is a real problem with affordable housing in Spartanburg,” said Brown.