The Greensboro City Council appears to be an impediment to development in East Greensboro, despite the fact that the same City Council constantly talks about the need to increase development in that area of the city.
A rezoning request that came before the City Council at the Tuesday, June 21 meeting is the latest example of the City Council slowing development in East Greensboro.
The request was for 4.5 acres to be rezoned from R-5 single family residential to RM-12 multi-family residential in order to build 21 townhomes on the property at 1007 Willard St.
Without the rezoning the property owner could build over 20 single family homes on the property.
However, two neighbors objected to the land being developed at all. They both said they didn’t want homes built behind the homes on Willard Street.
For once the City Council didn’t simply deny the rezoning request, but instead approved a 60-day continuance. The current City Council delays decisions as often as possible and this motion fit right in with that modus operandi.
Putting off the development for two months is going to make the development of that land more expensive, which will in turn make the townhomes, if the rezoning is ever approved, more expensive.
Compare that to the rezoning of property on Cone Boulevard by the Koury Corporation in 2020. In that case there were hundreds of neighbors opposed to the rezoning. They held rallies and protests. Signs opposing the rezoning were ubiquitous in the surrounding neighborhoods.
However, the City Council rezoned the property from residential single family (R-3 and R-5) to Conditional District Residential Multi-Family-26 (CD-RM-26).
In September 2021, a request in East Greensboro to rezone property at Vivian Lane and South Elm Eugene Street currently zoned for a trailer park to Planned Unit Development (PUD) in order to build apartments and a convenience store faced no neighborhood opposition.
However, City Councilmember Sharon Hightower opposed the rezoning, spoke against the rezoning at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and found two people who lived in the general area to speak against the rezoning request at the City Council meeting.
Land that is currently an abandoned trailer park and an eyesore was going to be developed for market rate apartments and a convenience store in a part of town that according to the City Council is in desperate need of development. The City Council voted to deny the rezoning request 5-4. Both the city councilmembers from East Greensboro District 1 Councilmember Sharon Hightower and District 2 Councilmember Goldie Wells voted no. They were joined by At-large Councilmembers Yvonne Johnson and Hugh Holston and District 3 Councilmember Justin Outling.
The vote split along racial lines with all four white members of the City Council, Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Councilmembers Marikay Abuzuaiter, Tammi Thurm and Nancy Hoffmann, voting against denying the rezoning.
Hightower said that she didn’t want a convenience store at that location, she wanted a Fresh Market or a Whole Foods.
Wells said that people in the neighborhood “will be trotting to the convenience store getting food they don’t need, buying cigarettes and wine, then they get tanked up and then they start shooting each other and that increases crime.”
The City Council talks about the need for more development in East Greensboro but votes against or delays rezoning requests that would make that development possible.