At some point this year the City Council will almost certainly pass a newly minted Comprehensive Plan called PLANIT GSO.
The current Comprehensive Plan was passed in 2003 and is officially named Connections 2025 because it was supposed to be the plan for the city until 2025 and in 2003 “connections” was a really hot word.
But before this City Council passes PLANIT GSO a newly revised Comp Plan and its accompanying Generalized Future Land Use Map (GFLUM) it might want to take a walk down memory lane and look at what happened in 2003.
The City Council apparently passed Connections 2025 without reading it. Because after it passed the City Council was shocked to learn that it had taken away its own ability to rezone land, something the City Council does with some frequency. The City Council by passing Connections 2025 (Comp Plan) had restricted itself to only two amendments per year to the Comp Plan which meant the third time a rezoning came before the City Council that required a Comp Plan amendment the City Council couldn’t pass the rezoning, until it went back and amended the Comp Plan.
Also while a rezoning only had to be passed by the City Council, the way the Comp Plan was originally set up both the Zoning Commission and the Planning Board had to pass a Comp Plan amendment before it went to the City Council. So if either of those bodies voted down the Comp Plan amendment the rezoning request was killed because the City Council doesn’t have the authority to rezone property that is not consistent with the Comp Plan and it couldn’t amend the Comp Plan without the prior approval of those two boards.
This whole mess resulted in joint meetings of the Planning Board and the Zoning Commission where no one knew who was in charge, or how exactly they were supposed to take votes. The Comp Plan had evidently left those details out.
It took years for the City Council to get to the point where it is now when amending the Comp Plan is not even discussed. If the City Council decides to rezone land then the City Council first amends the Comp Plan. It is unknown exactly how many times what was supposed to be the plan for the city in 2025 has been amended, but it seems most major rezoning requests and many that are not so major also require an amendment to the Comp Plan. It has been far more than two a year and sometimes has been two or more at a meeting.
The City Council should make certain that none of those old ideas from Connections 2025, that the Comp Plan is sacred and cannot be amended, slip into the PLANIT GSO because the City Council in 2003 didn’t, and it was a major headache for years. The Comp Plan also effectively halted major rezoning requests until the City Council could go back and fix the mistakes it had made in passing Connections 2025 without reading it carefully.
Development in Greensboro is picking up steam and the last thing the city needs right now are a bunch of new regulations that make growing and building in Greensboro more difficult or as in the case of Connections 2025 nearly impossible.