June 23, 2021

Judge Sends Fews Crossing Subdivision Back to Greenville County Planning Commission

GREENVILLE, S.C.The Honorable Edward R. Miller, Thirteenth Circuit Judge, issued an order (download below) yesterday to remand the approval of the Fews Crossing subdivision to the Greenville County Planning Commission. Fews Crossing subdivision is a proposal by Vicars Construction, LLC, to build a high-density subdivision in an unzoned area on Fews Chapel Road.

Northern Greenville County Rural Landowners appealed the Planning Commission’s approval of the Fews Crossing subdivision, claiming the Planning Commission failed to apply the density and environmental compatibility provisions of Article 3.1 of the Greenville County Land Development Regulations. On June 1, 2021, the Greenville County Circuit Court held a hearing but delayed ruling and took the matter under advisement.

At the hearing, Michael Martinez, Upstate Staff Attorney for the South Carolina Environmental Law Project, argued on behalf of Northern Greenville County Rural Landowners that the Planning Commission improperly approved the Fews Crossing subdivision by refusing to apply the criteria requiring a project’s compatibility with the surrounding land use density because it is an unzoned area and by failing to assess the potential for increased flooding caused by the project.  

In the order, Judge Miller remanded the approval back to the Planning Commission and ordered the Planning Commission to make “comprehensive written findings to delineate the reasoning of its approval of the subdivision.” The written findings “must expressly address the factors outlined in Article 3.1 of the County’s Land Development Regulations.” The Court determined “the lack of specific findings” for the three factors delineated in Article 3.1 was “inadequate to support the Planning Commission’s decision to approve the proposed subdivision.”

“Judge Miller’s order affirms the Planning Commission’s obligation to apply the law and specifically address all three of the criteria listed in Article 3.1 when it issues a decision, including whether a project is compatible with the surrounding land use density,” Martinez said. “The Court’s ruling is a significant win in SCELP’s ongoing effort to preserve the character of Greenville County’s rural communities and ensure development does not harm sensitive environmental features or exacerbate the risk of flooding.”  

Vicars Construction, LLC, has thirty days to appeal Judge Miller’s order to the South Carolina Court of Appeals.

CASE: Northern Greenville County Rural Landowners, Appellant, v. Greenville County Planning Commission and Vicars Construction, LLC, Respondents; 2020CP2303513


Michael Martinez, Esquire

Upstate Staff Attorney

South Carolina Environmental Law Project

mike@scelp.org or (864) 412-7921

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The South Carolina Environmental Law Project is a nonprofit public interest law firm. We use our legal expertise to protect land, water, and communities across South Carolina.

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Fews Crossing Order for Remand

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