The Greensboro Zoning Commission on Monday, Oct. 15 voted 8-to-0 to approve rezoning the old Pilot Life Insurance Co. property at 5300 High Point Road to allow the development of 12 acres for a three-story retirement home, with last-minute conditions.

A handful of Sedgefield residents and the developer clashed before the commission over the proposal to rezone the 130-acre Pilot Life property from Planned Unit Development (PUD) to PUD with a higher density of living units and a three-story, rather than two-story, height limit, on part of the property.

The developer, Cameron General Contractors, has proposed building the retirement home for its associated company, Resort Lifestyle Communities, on a 12-acre tract of the 131-acre Pilot Life property, at the corner of High Point Road and North Alamance Road.

The Pilot Life buildings on the property, where hundreds of people were once employed, is considered historic, a fact that increased emotions.

Lewis said the retirement home would be low intensity from a traffic perspective, since 40 percent of residents of Resort Lifestyle Communities homes don’t drive. He said the development would have live-in management and a theater, salon, bank, drop-off drugstore and gift shop – but only for use by residents. He said that it was a $35 million project. Lewis said, “Everything is substantial, because we are the owner-operator of the property.”

Opponents of the rezoning said they had participated in rezonings for two earlier proposals to develop the site, and that allowing changes to the conditions on individual tracts would open the door to other high-density uses. Some also objected to the fact that the proposal, unlike an earlier development proposal by Kisco Senior Living, would not restore the Pilot Life Insurance buildings.

Lewis said the Zoning Commission could not impose new conditions, but recessed the meeting for 15 minutes to allow the two sides to come to an agreement.

After the recess, the developer agreed to additional conditions: limiting additional uses of the property to housing for people 55 years and older, and prohibiting chain-link fences, vinyl siding and stucco. A final condition was that the developer would place no additional buildings between the retirement home and the road.