The Guilford County Board of Education has sent a letter to the Greensboro City Council officially opposing an annexation and original zoning request for property on Lake Brandt Road and Trosper Road across the street from Jesse Wharton Elementary School.
The letter from School Board Chairman Alan Duncan gives no reason why the school board is entering into a city zoning matter. However, at the Zoning Commission meeting on August 15, where the request passed on a 5 to 3 vote, school board member Darlene Garrett spoke against the zoning request. Garrett said she couldn’t speak for the school board because the school board had not made a decision on the matter, but she opposed the zoning because the plans included a drug store that would sell beer and wine.
What makes this objection intriguing is that when Jesse Wharton School was built, there was a gas station and convenience store that sold beer and wine on a portion of this property. So when the school was built that school board didn’t have a problem with placing a school across the street from a business that sold beer and wine, but the current school board doesn’t want a business selling beer and wine locating across the street from the school.
When things don’t make sense, politics is usually involved. This is an election year and Garrett is running for reelection. The neighborhood is opposed to this rezoning and it’s in Garrett’s district.
The proposed drug store was not part of the zoning request but was used as an example of what could go on the property.
It is not uncommon for a developer to alter a zoning request between the Zoning Commission meeting and the City Council meeting in response to objections from neighbors. However, in this case, the school board simply opposes the rezoning giving no reason. It’s hard to alter a development plan when there is no specific objection.
Perhaps the school board believes that the property should forever remain undeveloped. Officially the school board is simply opposed to the zoning request, whatever is built on the property.
The school board and the City Council have traditionally had a good working relationship, largely because they stay out of each other’s way. If the school board is going to start weighing in on property use, maybe the City Council will pass a resolution on how education could be improved in Guilford County.