Opponents of a plan by Cameron General Contractors to build a retirement home on a 12-acre portion of the old Pilot Life Insurance Co. property have appealed its rezoning to the Greensboro City Council, which will consider the issue at its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
About 80 people from neighborhoods surrounding the Pilot Life property met on Thursday, Nov. 8 at Sweet Life Bakery, 5002 High Point Road, to plan the appeal and to discuss the planned development with Craig Taylor, general counsel for Kisco Senior Living, which owns the property. Attendees included residents of Sedgefield, Kings Mill and Adams Farm.
Kisco bought the property for $10 million in 2008 with unsuccessful plans to build a larger retirement community that would have used the historic Pilot Life buildings. Kisco still owns the property, and Taylor said the current market will not support developing, as originally planned. If the rezoning is approved it will permit Cameron General Contractors to build a retirement home for its partner company Resort Lifestyle Communities.
Taylor told the crowd that if the City Council rejects the rezoning, Cameron General Contractors will go away, leaving Kisco scrambling, possibly for years, for a new plan for the property. He said, “I’m afraid, eventually, we’re going to have to just unload it.”
Upset opponents told Taylor the planned retirement home does not fit the architecture of the historic building and that they feared the rezoning could result in up to 1,715 residential units on the entire Pilot Life property once it is fully developed.
The Greensboro Zoning Commission on Oct. 15 voted 8 to 0 to approve rezoning the property at 5300 High Point Road with a higher density and a three-story, rather than two-story, height limit on the 12-acre retirement home site.
Carolyn Gorga, who appealed the Zoning Commission decision, said that opponents will be able to address the City Council only about the current 12-acre proposal.
Gorga said, “My appeal is going to be to limit it to what the tract originally said – two stories, 196 units – which I think is pretty reasonable.” She said opponents would have to address concerns over the rest of the property later.
Rezoning opponent Fran Pollock said that dealing with each tract of the property as a separate zoning issue would prevent an overall plan, such as Kisco had. Pollock said, “What we thought we were going to get and what we are looking at are two different things.”