Grocery store owner will add apartments
By Michael McClure
The Greenwood Town Council voted to give final approval to Steve Martin for the addition of two apartments to the Greenwood Food Saver building during their meeting on Tuesday, July 3. The council was apprehensive about granting approval of the apartments amid concerns over the upkeep of some of the current apartments in town.
The Planning Commission recommended approval of the apartments, to be located in the back of the building on Market Street. The council's first motion for approval died without a second.
"It's the man's property; he should be able to do what he wants with it," said councilman Carl Peters, who made the motion.
"What are we going to do if he wants to come back and make it (the store) all apartments?" councilwoman Brenda Tallent asked the council. "We've got rental properties in Greenwood that are not properly taken care of now."
Eventually, the motion for approval was made again and seconded. The council voted, 2-1, in favor of the apartments with Tallent opposing it.
In a phone interview Tallent said she had nothing against the applicant but was concerned that the addition of more apartments might add to an existing problem. The town is currently working on a landlord-tenant ordinance that may help alleviate the problem.
For Steve Martin it was the end of a one-and-a-half year process to get approval of the plans for the apartments. He went to the council with the plans in November 1999 but he had to have them redrawn because he needed to make the apartments bigger.
"These things take time," said Martin. "I was very pleased that it was approved."
Martin said he doesn't want to become a landlord but he needed extra income to keep the grocery store open. He told the council in a previous meeting that small stores like the Greenwood Food Saver are a thing of the past.
"I don't think anyone in Greenwood's going to get rich doing what we're doing (retail)," Martin said. "I wanted to keep the store here."
Martin needs to build the inside structure of the two apartments, a process he hopes will only take a year to complete. He expects rental of the apartments to cost around $545 per month including water and sewer.
Martin doesn't rule out the possibility of closing the store and making the entire building apartments at some point in the future. That is something Tallent and the town fears will happen sooner than later.
"I would hate to see Greenwood lose the grocery store," said Tallent. "The store is zoned commercial, he could make it into apartments if he wanted to."
"I plan to stay here for a while and this (the apartments) will help me do it," Martin said.
$1.57 million project would mean new water tower, meters
By Mike McClure
The Town of Greenwood took a significant step toward solving its water problems during the town council meeting on Tuesday, July 3.
The council voted to apply for state funding and grants for a $1.57 million water system improvement plan that would include a new water tower and water meters in every home.
The town had submitted a request for $694,000 in improvement which would have upped the user fee to $224 per year. On July 3, the council mulled other options that would allow it to do more improvements to the town's aging water system.
The council also considered a $930,000 plan which wouldn't include the addition of the water meters and some other water services. That plan would have increased the user fee to $270 per year instead of the more than $400 per year user fee which would come with the $1.57 million project.
The town is concerned about the condition of its water mains and water tower. The current tower holds 67,000 gallons of water, less than the 70,000 to 80,000 gallons of water a day the town uses. The council is looking at getting a 200,000- to 225,000-gallon tank as part of the water system improvements.
"From the bottom up it (the current water tower) is in really bad shape," said vice mayor Randy Willey.
"You want the Food Lions and you want the fast food, you want that development, you need water," mayor Donald Donovan added.
Town engineer Chuck Hauser said the water meters are necessary because they ensure that residents pay for their share of the water they use. He also said the meters will help make residents more conservative with their water use.
Greenwood currently has the second lowest water bill in the state at $100 per year. Even if the water improvements occurred right away, town official say the billing wouldn't start right away and the increases would be gradually phased into the bills.
The council voted, 3 to 0, in favor of moving forward with the application process with the state for the $1.7 million project. The town is eligible for state revolving funds and may be able to get some grants for the project as well.
According to Hauser, grants may reduce the user rates to as low as $350 per year. No matter which option the council chose, current user fees would be doubled.
"All we can do is try. We need it," said Willey. "We're going to have to try for it. If it fails, it fails."
Following state approval the town will call for a referendum and let the taxpayers decide whether to move forward with the project or not.