Greenville City Council denies zoning ordinance to expand Sawyer’s Fun Park

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -The owner of a popular amusement center in the east attended a city council meeting Thursday night, looking to receive approval for a zoning ordinance that residents in a nearby neighborhood say would impact them.

Several residents of the Corey Ridge neighborhood filled the seats at the Greenville City Council meeting as they each came to voice concerns about the potential expansion of Sawyer’s Fun Park.

Some say TJ Sawyer, who’s the owner, is trying to turn land near Corey Ridge into commercial land.

Sawyer sat with those in favor of his expansion plan during the meeting as they waited to hear the council’s vote on whether or not to approve the zoning ordinance.

WITN spoke with Sawyer before the meeting about what the expansion would allow him to do.

“This new text amendment would allow us to do the electric go-karts, mini golf, pickleball and a driving range,” Sawyer said.

If changed, the buffer would stop 200 feet short of a ditch behind some people’s backyards, potentially causing issues such as noise.

After listening to both sides, the council unanimously voted 6 to 0 to deny the request as they all were concerned about the residents.

“I believe in smart economic growth and in my opinion, this isn’t that,” said Greenville Councilwoman, Portia Willis. “While, it’s going to bring economic growth and attraction to our city, I think it’s in a poor location.”

“I’ll try to use my common sense and say I think it’s a great amendment, I just think it’s in the wrong location,” said Greenville Councilman, Les Robinson.

About a year ago, due to the land being in Pitt County, Sawyer asked for zoning ordinances from the Pitt County Planning and Zoning Board and was denied 7 to 0.

This could have also affected many more neighborhoods as the ordinance would have amended Title 9, Chapter 4 of the zoning ordinance, changing all land within the zoning district.