There may be more to the request by David Couch to have the property for his proposed mixed-use development, Summerfield Farms Village, de-annexed from Summerfield than it seems.
Summerfield, by repeated votes of the Town Council, has demonstrated that it doesn’t want Summerfield Farms Village as part of the town.
As a result, Couch has asked that his property de-annexed from Summerfield.
Couch has two major hurdles to get over to get his development off the drawing board and on to his land. One is zoning. Summerfield has made it clear that it isn’t going to rezone the land any time soon for the large residential development Couch is proposing. But even if Summerfield did rezone the land, it wouldn’t help Couch with the second hurdle, which is water and sewer. Couch needs water and sewer service to build at the densities he is requesting, and Summerfield doesn’t provide water and sewer service.
Having the land de-annexed from Summerfield may solve both of those problems.
Greensboro provides water and sewer service only to land that has been annexed into Greensboro, with some notable exceptions like the Greensboro Randolph Megasite.
As long as Couch’s property is in Summerfield, it is not eligible to be annexed into Greensboro. But if the land is de-annexed by the North Carolina General Assembly, it could then be annexed by Greensboro and be eligible for Greensboro water and sewer service.
And there is good reason to believe that the NC General Assembly will approve the de-annexation. President Pro Tem of the Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), when speaking about the de-annexation, was quoted as saying the state needs more housing.
The Republican-led NC General Assembly has been working for over a decade to make the state more business friendly, and as a result North Carolina is one of the fastest growing states in the country. Last year over 100,000 new residents moved to North Carolina. According to a study done by the CATO Institute, North Carolina is going to need 900,000 new homes in the next 10 years.
Because the state is not building new homes at a pace to keep up with demands, the price of homes continues to rise much faster than the rate of inflation, and if that continues it is likely to have a negative effect on North Carolina’s growth.
As indicated by Berger’s statement, the leadership in the state legislature is well aware of these trends, which gives the legislature an incentive to de-annex Couch’s land so that he can move forward with his planned residential development.
De-annexation would make Couch’s land eligible to be annexed by Greensboro, which has no problem with zoning for apartments and denser residential development.
Plus, Greensboro is facing its own housing shortage, which is about to become worse because of two huge economic development wins – the Toyota battery plant and Boom Supersonic.
If Greensboro were to annex Couch’s land, it would also give Greensboro a foothold north of the lakes and open up that area for future growth.
City Councilmember Zack Matheny said about the proposed de-annexation, “If that were to go through, I’d be happy to consider annexation.”
Matheny noted that the increased tax base would be a big incentive for Greensboro to look favorably at an annexation request.
There is another consideration in the whole de-annexation question. Since Summerfield was incorporated in 1996, the state legislature has amended the requirements for incorporation, and, under the current rules, Summerfield would not be eligible for incorporation. Under the current rules, to be eligible for incorporation towns have to provide at least four of eight services – police protection, fire protection, solid waste collection, street construction, street maintenance, water distribution, street lighting and zoning.
The fact that Summerfield does not provide the services that are now required for a town to be incorporated is certainly a factor that the legislators could consider in a de-annexation request.
The Summerfield Town Council held an emergency meeting to consider how to oppose the de-annexation request. But in a state of over 10 million people, a town of 11,000 doesn’t have a whole lot of clout.
I guess the people that live there and don’t want this development have no say. Sad state of affairs!!!
Sure they do…..they have the option to just buy the land…..ez-pz. It is also a pretty sad state of affairs when people protest the use of a piece of land, while they themselves are relative newcomers living in developments that were unwanted when they were built.
Poor future taxpayers if annexation is approved. They don’t have a clue what they would be dealing with…east greensboro city council and friend Skip.
Per “Greensboro-Summerfield Joint Annexation (Legal) Agreement” signed 6 May 1997, even if Berger can convince the Legislature to de-annex developer David Couch’s property investment located in core of Town of Summerfield, the City of Greensboro cannot annex that property. Per section 10 of the agreement, the City of Greensboro barred itself from even (considering) any manner of annexation north of agreed boundary that abuts south side of much of developer Couch’s holdings. Said differently for emphasis, as long as agreement is in effect any discussion (even speculative) by City of Greensboro staff or elected officials pursuant annexation of Couch’s property is direct violation of its agreement – whether Couches property is within incorporated Summerfield Town limits or not. Agreement is posted on City of Greensboro web site: https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/51241/637744677817070000
This idea of de-annexation could catch on. If Couch’s request is approved, then every resident who does not want to be inside the city of Greensboro, should file a de-annexation petition with the state. David Couch’s recorded deed for Summerfield Farms was in 2003. The farm was inside the city of Summerfield in 2003. He was certainly aware at the time where the property was located, and probably enjoyed Summerfield’s local property tax compared with the city of Greensboro. Now that he could not get his way to build houses and apartment buildings in rural Summerfield, he now wants to re-locate his land to inside another city. I would like to de-annex from Guilford County to SW Virginia. Let us just change the NC boundary to include those of us who no longer want to call NC home. This is a ploy by Couch to try and force Summerfield to give him what he wants. After all, he is a developer. The same as a four-letter word.
Hammer, I am really disappointed in your comment “But in a state of over 10 million people, a town of 11,000 doesn’t have a whole lot of clout.” But then a developer is backing Rhino Times.
No one mentions that Summerfield allows everything Couch wants except apartment complexes. He can build houses, townhomes, quadplexes (counting as one unit for density purposes). More housing just like Republicans want.
Summerfield has REPEATEDLY asked Couch to present a development plan under the current Zoning mentioned above, WITH him suggesting zoning variances (such as greater density in certain areas). He has NEVER asked for zoning.
Maybe City Councilmember Zack Matheny should educate himself on the contract between Summerfield and Greensboro that does not permit deannexation. Perhaps Greensboro is willing to violate it and alienate a Town nearby?
If Republicans carve out 1000 disjointed acres in the center of Summerfield, which small town is next? Summerfield may only have 11,000 citizens, but add up all the small towns and that’s a lot of VOTES for or against the legislators.
Only about 2,000 people in Summerfield vote.
Good move Mr. Couch, Godspeed with your development.
You are one of those four letter words.
This is the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard. Truly Greensboro even considering this is mind-boggling. Does anyone besides me remember BUYING water when we were in a drought situation? And how is this anywhere fair to the property owners of Summerfield? This whole situation just makes me sick.
i don’t think Greensboro could annex this property even if they wanted because it is not contiguous to Greensboro at any point. Am I missing something?
If the Rhino wants to keep talking about deannexation, they need to publish the MAP of this land so people can see how absurd and reckless this plan is. Today Senator Berger said he’s trying to determine how much of Couch’s property is in the middle of Summerfield, because he’s not sure it’s actually in the middle.
REALLY? It’s a bunch of jumbled parcels almost dead center of the Town, many of which aren’t even connected to each other!
How on earth is Greensboro going to annex land in the middle of another Town? What will those road signs look like? And how will they plow through land OWNED by Summerfield with Greensboro utilities? What are Greensboro residents going to think about their leaders literally wasting precious limited water so ONE MONTANA DEVELOPER gets rich off their backs?
Why is the Summerfield mayor and council member refusing to disclose the proposed or possible MAP of the property to be possibly de-annexed? Couch is reported to own 5.5% of town acres. They keep saying “in the middle of the town” but after three weeks refuse to disclose the map. Why is the proposed map a secret? Why is the mayor and council members NOT referring to the March 1999 Boundary Agreement with Greensboro and Summerfield that established no annexation and permanent boundary until May 6, 2027? What was the emergency with no annexation allowed for FOUR YEARS? Mayor and council fear it would be approved in days — that is just not true. Why isn’t the Summerfield mayor and town council telling us the truth?
It’s been out. They aren’t hiding anything. It’s been published by the Town, on their website (under news), on Keep Summerfield Rural AND Stand Up For Summerfield FB pages.
Welcome to Greensboro! Rumor is this was his plan all alone Skip and the city council has wanted to tear down our local housing projects (which we have started) and relocate the people. And couch has been all aboard he gets guaranteed tenets and guaranteed rents remember when Skip called summer field Lilly white? Well he always had plans to change that summer field is a product of the county it doesn’t stand alone, so Skip was always token aback by the rhetoric coming from the small town as if it didn’t benefit from being in Guilford county so he worked out tearing down smith homes and eventually ray warren and moving the people out there to take advantage of a the GUILFORD COUNTY!!! Schools Couch Knew the town wouldn’t give in he hoped he wouldn’t have to pull this card but You left him no choice the council already had the money lined up and approvals for water and sewer ready just needed you to vote down his proposal so he could proceed. This was done long ago. You were just along for the ride. Greensboro didn’t support small towns I mean we don’t even have them really or we starve them of resources to hinder their growth so their ripe for annexation. This is a losing battle when the story first broke I commented and said welcome to Greensboro! Because I knew the internals I knew your objections was just a act of futility this has been in the works for years. The citizens of summerfield didn’t know!
Greensboro cannot provide police for the current city limits at the authorized strength. Do they think about how they are going to provide police, fire, water, and other services to a location in another city? Does anyone in our government think about anything?
I want to say up front I am a member of the Town Council of the town of Pleasant Garden.
That being said, this move by Mr. Cloud concerns me because of the potential fallout for not just Summerfield but every other small town that incorporated in order to protect themselves and their citizens from being swallowed up by Greensboro and losing the ability to chart their own course.
If things go the way of Greensboro and portions of the town become unincorporated it will be the first domino falling, allowing Greensboro to begin taking what they want when they want. PG will become a major target for them due to the Toyota plant, a very large and ripe plum. Yes, only a small portion of the plant is in Guilford county, but how many workers will be living here. This is a potential tax source GSO can’t pass up. And the County Commissioners are the unknown quantity in this equation, although the probability is when it comes to it they will lean towards GSO.
We incorporated to keep GSO out to maintain our small town feel, our independence, our ability to rule ourselves, and set our own course. Before the plant, we were pretty much ignored and treated as a bunch of people who were a bother. But we persevered, we worked, and now we are courted by not just the County but the State as well.
I grew up in a small town like this in Ohio and when the nearby city decided they needed the land they came after them. The area has changed completely. What used to be farms we played on are now housing developments full of cookie cutter houses. PG doesn’t want that and I would guess other small towns around us feel the same way.
This is a David vs. Goliath situation. Possibly Goliaths (plural) because I’m including the County Commissioners and the State. If they believe in the American way, in what people like me who fought for, and in some cases died for this country and the freedom it stands for, in what the people of Pleasant Garden, Summerfield, and all the other small towns around Greensboro wanted when they incorporated because they wanted to decide their OWN fate, their OWN way of life. And the State, with their changes to the rules for incorporation make me think they are going to rule in favor of the de-annexation request.
What we, the small towns have, is the bedrock of what the Republic that is our great country was built on. What Greensboro sees is another source of tax income and they don’t care about the people who they hurt.
Unfortunately, if Greensboro decides to go through with the presented scenario we already know what the outcome will be and short of an armed revolt small towns will lose with the help of the County Commissioners. Only one of them has anything to lose, and we know which side Skippy and his willing thralls will come down on. And don’t think moving across the county line will be the answer. It will continue to spread.
Citizens of Pleasant Garden and all the other small towns…CARPE DIEM!
So 10 million North Carolinas are fighting to get apartment complexes in small towns? Must have missed that big news story and protests….
I am pretty sure most North Carolinians would wonder why their General Assembly is wasting their energy on helping ONE developer get rich by pushing apartment complexes in areas they don’t belong. Let just destroy all our small towns with concrete high rises!
Republicans worry about property rights. How about the rights of the 11,000 voters who bought homes knowing the surrounding area and law?? And they actually followed the rules and invested a combined BILLIONS of dollars in the rest of Summerfield property? Can they sue because their property values go down when 1000 apartment units are shoved next to them? The legislators are certainly depriving them of rights!
In my book the numbers are 11,000 to exactly ONE.
The 11,000 bought their homes expecting Couch to keep his 1,000 acres pristine for their personal eye-candy. Summerfield is hardly a real town. It provides few municipal services. It exists only to keep Greensboro out and yet many of the residents work in and enjoy many of the benefits GSO has to offer while skipping out on the property tax. Crouch’s mistake was thinking all these NIMBY people might actually make a compromise to have a nice development in their “town”. Make a deal with Couch and maybe you’ll have enough funds to have a real town and offer real services.
We will see if Phil Berger is a conservative or not. Conservatives conserve. The people of Summerfield want a say in conserving the life they enjoy there and through a democratic process made their wishes known. They don’t want what Greensboro has (crime, congestion, higher taxes) and that is what Berger would be providing them if he comes down on the side of allowing a developer to pull away a portion of an established city. It’s bad policy, sets a bad precedent, and is unfair to the people of Summerfield. It’s the kind of power grab we are used to seeing from Democrats. Time for Berger to decide if he is driven by conservative values or big money.
Summerfield’s Zoning Ordinance does not allow residential on small lots. It only allows single family residential on 1 acre lots. For years Summerfield has left out the middle class and the poor from being able to live there. All they allow is 3000 to 5000 square foot homes on large lots. It’s called Exclusionary Zoning. Nobody but the rich. People have tried and failed to bring a variety of housing to the Town. Even the Town Attorney has said that the Town needs to allow a variety of housing and the Council refuses. Young coup,es don’t want 1 acre lots and large houses. Those living there will eventually not be able to maintain this big houses. There have already been foreclosures and move outs leaving empty houses to sit un-maintained and they are written about in the NW Observer. There will be many more. This is a test for the Town of Summerfield. They have chosen not to let a variety of people live in their community. You can’t do that forever.
You must not have read the new UDO. You might want to. Townhomes, duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, retirement villages, accessory housing, patio homes, and increased density for affordable housing. Doesn’t exactly sound exclusionary.
Haven’t seen any of them yet. We’ll see what gets through planning. But for all the time of its existence, there had been no such housing. Sounds more like last minute big talk. This is not a real town, hardly any services. Couch made a mistake thinking these folks would be open to something new.
I’d like to see a map of the proposed development as well. It seems a bit incredulous to me that one entity could annex land completely contained inside another separate entity. Are there any precedents for this in North Carolina? Could be wrong but I was under the impression that an annexed portion of land had to be in the form of a connected parcel to whatever is doing the annexation. Lol kind of like the old spaghetti voting district up 85 some years ago. I think it was 50 feet across at a few points.
Look at the Summerfield webpage. https://www.summerfieldnc.gov/vertical/sites/%7BC25D1811-CF89-415D-A5B8-0412F39A34CB%7D/uploads/RES-2023-003_Opposition_to_Deannexation-map_for_attachmt.pdf
It is 6% of the Town, by far the LARGEST deaanexation ever asked for in NC. The pieces are smack in the center and It isn’t even all connected! Greensboro would be IN THE MIDDLE of Summerfield. And guess what, EVERY small town in NC is next…
Just donate to Berger, Hardison, etc and YOU can do whatever you want with your land too!
Who cares where it’s located! Who cares if you knew the ordinances when you bought! No problem if you want 1200 apartment units, Walmarts, gas stations, fast food, car dealerships in the middle of residential! Zoning doesn’t matter!
David Couch, with Blue Ridge Companies, office in High Point, is an apartment management company. That is one reason he is so interested in building apartments. He will have a built-in cashflow managing the apartments. There is another developer living in Summerfield who owns about 47 acres. I am sure he is salivating while waiting to see the outcome of Couch’s silliness trying to de-annex his property. If Greensboro wants houses, look around at the possibilities that already exist inside Greensboro limits. Why destroy unspoiled land when there are alternatives? Why, because it is easier and cheaper to build new. It is always about the almighty dollar.
The United States should look to France as an example for handling farm land. A person can own the land, can sell the lane but only as farmland. No subdivision, no dividing.
Yes, if we had done as France, where who you be living? Lots of areas within our cities in and near our cities was farmland.
John who decided and why was it decided to tear down Smith Homes, especially at a time when there is a shortage of low rent housing in Greensboro. It has not been that long ago that the whole property was renovated and where did all those people who lived there go. Why was nothing reported on the news or in the paper about this.
Smith Homes which was built in the 1950s is being completely redeveloped in stages.
Why no news story about it and again where did all the displaced residents go
So Skip calls Summerfield “Lilly White?” Will he only be satisfied with Black Dahlia?
Bye bye Rhino Times! If you can support this horrid developer, Couch, then you are not the right publication for me to be following. He is a menace to Summerfield and GSO.