The Greensboro City Council didn’t buy the “domino effect” argument and rezoned property at the corner of North Elm Street and Cone Boulevard to multi-family residential.

The 0.68 lot between Rockford Road and Cone Boulevard at 2400 N. Elm St. was described as “an island” by Tom Terrell with Fox Rothschild, representing the developer. It is the only lot in that short block, across Cone Boulevard from Buffalo Lake and adjacent to the Sherwood Swim and Racquet Club.

Opponents noted that this was a part of the Browntown neighborhood that was all zoned Single-Family Residential-3 (R-3) and the requested zoning Conditional District Residential Multi-family-8 (CD-RM-8) was not in keeping with the long established neighborhood.

The Zoning Commission had voted 7-0 to deny the rezoning request, but Mayor Nancy Vaughan noted that a number of conditions had been added since the Zoning Commission meeting.

Terrell in his presentation noted that the property had been for sale for years and the price had dropped from $235,000 to $162,000 in a very strong real estate market. Terrell said that the proposal to build five townhomes on the property was in keeping with the old Comprehensive Plan Connections 2025, the new Comprehensive Plan GSO 2040 and with the proposed Browntown Neighborhood Conservation Plan, which was never passed.

He said, “This is a classic property in transition. It is an island unto itself.”

Vaughan noted that the city could no longer grow by annexing property as it had done in the past and said, “This is where difficult decisions are going to be made on infill.”

Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter noted that two houses could be built on the property without rezoning and this was only adding three more.

She said, “I’m really excited that we have more infill opportunities.”

Councilmember Tammi Thurm said that having the entrance on Rockford Road instead of on Elm Street made a huge difference.

Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann said, “The market really does drive land use development and the market is telling us something about this property.”