The answer is: our unique GREENBELT! Did you know Greenhills is one of three federally planned and constructed greenbelt communities in the nation? The other two greenbelt communities are Greenbelt, Maryland and Greendale, Wisconsin. Planned and constructed by the federal government in the 1930’s, the purpose of the greenbelt project was to 1) supply jobs, and 2) offer an escape from the congested inner city neighborhoods through the construction of a small town with plenty of park-like areas surrounded by a greenbelt.
I find it interesting that of the three greenbelt communities, Greenhills is the only one that has maintained its greenbelt. According to our Comprehensive Plan, our greenbelt encompasses approximately 270 acres, representing 30% of our land area. The Hamilton County Park District is the biggest owner of our greenbelt.
The greenbelt offers a very unique quality to our community. Not only is it a natural buffer of greenery, it also protects from encroaching development.
The concept of greenbelt is often misunderstood:
> Some think any green space or park in the Village is greenbelt – but it is not. In Greenhills, we actually have a zoning district entitled: greenbelt. That district – for the most part – encircles the community.
> Some think it must be publicly owned for it to be greenbelt – but it does not. Approximately 90 home owners in Greenhills own greenbelt land. The benefit to those homeowners is that their park-like surroundings will not change over time.
> Some think that if they own greenbelt land they can use it as they please – but they cannot. The only uses that are currently permitted in the Greenbelt zone (whether publicly or privately owned) include public park reservation and playgrounds, public recreational buildings, allotment gardens (now known as community gardens), farms, nurseries and gardens; public utilities; bus passenger stations; or signs erected by public authorities.
> Some think that if they consolidate their parcels into one it will change the zoning to residential – but it will not. And don’t be confused by the County Auditor’s website indicating your greenbelt land is “residential.” The Auditor’s notation is only indicating the use for which the land is being taxed – not identifying the zoning.
> It may interest you to know that any changes to the text of the greenbelt zoning district can only occur if approved by the voters of Greenhills.
Greenbelt is not identified in property deeds so if you have recently moved to Greenhills you may not know if you own greenbelt land. To find out, contact the Greenhills Municipal Offices at 513-825-2100.