Local, Mauldin

Don’t Believe Fake News!

Taft Matney

A local newspaper of record recently printed an article with the following headline,

“Mauldin stops construction in proposed downtown zone.”

Let me answer that headline’s claim.

Balderdash! Poppycock! Nonsense! Fake news!

If you took time to read said article, you already knew that, but if you lived by the headline alone, you may have said to yourself, “Great! They’re blowing a chance to improve the city! Harrumph!”

I want to take time to explain what it’s all about.

We aren’t stopping anything. We’re just hitting the “Pause” button for 120 days on any project that would deal with someone knocking down a building and putting up a new one. That’s really all it is.

It’s been a while since the city’s zoning standards have been substantially updated, so we’re taking the time to do that right now.

Because of an economic development designation laid over a roughly 24-acre space near the intersection of Main and Butler, we’re taking a look to see what might be appropriate future use. We’re talking about how we can encourage high-end development in the area that will transform this acreage that is readily accessible to the second busiest intersection in Greenville County. (NOTE: In case you’re curious, the intersection of N. Pleasantburg and Wade Hampton has the top spot as the busiest.)

Still, examining current zoning regulations isn’t a task for city council alone, and that’s the reasoning behind a 120-day pause. We want public input. We’re asking for public input. We’ll conduct one or more meetings to collect that public input.

We need that input because the actions we take today will affect Mauldin’s downtown future for the next 30, 40, and even 50 years. It’s a big task to undertake, but still, it’s not a front page story.

I got a phone call from a local network television affiliate. The reporter said, “Mr. Matney, I’d like to talk with you about the building moratorium.”

I told her, “I generally don’t try and talk a media outlet out of doing a story on Mauldin, but this really is a non-story. If you want me to go on camera and say that we’re updating our zoning standards and will be seeking public input, I’m glad to do it, but I think you’d get more from the meetings where we actually receive the public input that will shape the standards.”

So, as you hear rumor and innuendo, either from mainstream media, social media, or around the table at your favorite breakfast/lunch place, take those rumors for what they’re worth. Find out the facts, and don’t buy in to fake news.

— Taft Matney serves in Seat 1 on Mauldin city Council. He can be reached at tmatney@mauldincitysc.com.♦


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