An out of town attorney said that he’d learned the Zoning Commission meeting was the place to be in Greensboro on Monday nights.
And on Monday, April 15 it was if you wanted to skip dinner and stay up late.
The meeting was full of strange twists and turns which added up to a long meeting.
Mike Fox, an attorney with Tuggle Duggins who is usually representing property owners making rezoning requests, was representing a property owner who was asking that his neighbors at least slow down their development plans.
The property owner Fox was representing is Roy Carroll who owns Innisbrook Village Apartments on McConnell Road and also owns this publication. It was just the luck of the draw that at the April 15 Zoning Commission meeting the adjacent properties both to the east and the west of Innisbrook were up to be rezoned to Light Industrial.
First Fox requested continuances. In both cases those making the rezoning requests objected to the request and the Zoning Commission unanimously voted not to grant any continuances.
The first request heard was to rezone property from county Agricultural to city Conditional District Light Industrial (CDLI) for Linder Industrial Machinery for an outdoor equipment sales, leasing and service center.
Fox said that they weren’t necessarily against the rezoning with the right site plan if it was properly conditioned, but he said there was still a lot of work to do to make the light industrial rezoning compatible with the 312 unit apartment community next door. He made a fairly detailed presentation on similar businesses and how they were buffered from residential properties nearby, questioned whether light industrial was really the proper zoning as opposed to heavy industrial and boiled it down to the zoning request needed to be more detailed and have many more conditions.
Robbie Perkins, former mayor and president of NAI Piedmont Triad commercial realty company, also spoke against the rezoning mainly because he said the area should be considered as a whole and was too valuable to develop piecemeal.
The Zoning Commission voted 4-3 for a favorable recommendation to the Greensboro City Council. Since this case involves an annexation and rezoning all the Zoning Commission can do is make a recommendation to the City Council where it will be heard at the meeting Tuesday, May 21. Zoning chairman Gene Lester, and commissioners Janet Mazzurco, Adam Marshall, and Andrew Pinto voted in favor. Hugh Holston, Donald Blackstone and Vernal Alford voted against.
Later the land on the east side of Innisbrook came up and the request was to rezone from County Agricultural to Conditional District Light Industrial (CDLI) for a Penske Truck Leasing company sales, leasing and service facility. Marc Isaacson of Isaacson Sheridan represented Penske.
Isaacson said, “This is the perfect location for Penske. It checks all of their boxes.” He said they sent out a letter to nearby property owners and had not received one telephone call in response to the letter.
Fox noted that because his detailed presentation had come up short in the previous rezoning request, he was going to change tactics and talked about the purpose of rezoning and the need for conditions to make diverse uses compatible.
Perkins expanded on his earlier theme about developing the whole area with a plan and challenged the zoning commission to find another apartment community in Greensboro that had similar neighbors. Perkins said there was a lot of emphasis on development in east Greensboro, but that it had to be the right kind of development.
The motion for a favorable recommendation passed unanimously. After the vote Isaacson said, “Of course we’ll get together and address their concerns and answer all their questions. We look forward to working with our neighbors and want to be good neighbors.”
The rezoning request at this meeting that has had the most publicity was to rezone a tiny triangle of land on Markland Drive and Battleground Avenue from residential single family to Conditional District Commercial Medium (CDCM). For some reason that no one could explain, the rest of the lot was already zoned Commercial Medium and this 0.11 acre parcel was zoned R-5. The rezoning request was to rezone the entire lot CDCM, but the dispute was over the 0.11 acre tract.
The objection of the neighbor Jennifer Leung who was represented by attorney Alan Ferguson was that one of the conditions was that an eight foot opaque fence be constructed to separate the commercial property from the neighborhood.
Leung said she objected to having an opaque fence along the property line that appeared to be within inches of her driveway.
Pinto noted that the property owner could build a fence on the property line whether or not the property was rezoned.
The zoning commission voted 5-2 in favor of the rezoning.
These rezoning cases will be heard by the Greensboro City Council at its meeting on Tuesday, May 21.