Greenville Planning & Zoning Commission Recommends Repealing 4 Unrelated Rule

Just over a year after it was put in place, an ordinance allowing an extra unrelated person to live in a home in Greenville could be in jeopardy.

Greenville's 4-unrelated rule for the university neighborhood has come under fire since city council approved it back in October of 2012.

Tuesday night the Planning and Zoning Commission voted on whether or not to recommend that city council remove the ruling.

The commission voted 5 to 3 in favor of removing the 4-unrelated rule, and going back to only allowing 3 unrelated people to live in the same home in the university neighborhood.

In Greenville's university neighborhood, ECU's incoming student body President Michael King feels students are an under-appreciated asset to the city.

King says, "I'm from Virginia. I would have never heard of Greenville, North Carolina if East Carolina University wasn't in Greenville."

Council member Marion Blackburn says, "Since I did initiate this change, I'm very interested in seeing what I consider a more stable approach to occupancy."

Blackburn is referring to owner-occupied homes versus rental homes.

In another recommendation vote, the commission voted 5 to 4 to delete the neighborhood's overlay district entirely from the zoning map, which includes homes inside the borders of Cotanche, 5th, Elm and 1st streets.

Blackburn says, "Unfortunately, the overlay has not been used to benefit the neighborhood because it's only been an avenue to increase rental density and not save students money, and not provide better housing for them."

But King says every student he's spoken to wants to rent in the grid, if they don't already. He thinks removing the 4 unrelated rule would only hurt ECU's growth, which in turn, could hurt the city.

King says, "27,000 more people here. You're going to tell me East Carolina University and the students coming here doesn't help this economy and that Greenville would be the same without it? That's ridiculous."

The commission's recommendations will go before city council. Blackburn says she believes the final vote will take place on Thursday, April 10th at their meeting.