By a 7-2 vote, the Greensboro City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 17 approved rezoning 23.3 acres on Cone Boulevard for a 480-unit luxury apartment community despite strong neighborhood opposition.
The property on Cone between Lafayette Avenue and Cleburne Street has been owned by the Koury Corporation for 60 years and is adjacent to both the Kirkwood and Browntown neighborhoods. It had been zoned Single-Family Residential and was rezoned to Conditional District Residential Multifamily-26 (CD-RM-26).
Mike Fox of Tuggle Duggins, who represented Koury, noted that they had held over 125 meetings with individual neighbors as well as two Zoom meetings, and as a result of those meetings had increased the buffers, restricted the height of the buildings closest to adjacent residential property and pushed the development away from the adjacent single-family neighborhoods and out toward Cone. Fox said that it was an $80 million project.
Those in opposition said the project was too dense and with five-story buildings would not fit in with the character of the single-family neighborhoods. A concern that appeared to carry some weight with councilmembers was traffic. John Davenport of Davenport Engineering said the traffic study showed that the estimated 4,000 vehicle trips a day the proposed development would generate would not adversely affect the neighborhoods. Davenport said the study showed that the vast majority of the traffic would be on Cone, which had the capacity to handle it. Both the main entrance and a secondary entrance will be on Cone and the only access directly to the neighborhood will be an emergency entrance on Cleburne that will be gated and restricted to emergency vehicles.
Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann noted that both Charlotte and Raleigh had been developing with more residential density for years and it was now time for Greensboro to follow suit.
She said, “This type of development has been going on in the other two major cities in North Carolina for 30 years.”
She added, “It is the appropriate way for us to grow.”
Both Councilmembers Marikay Abuzuaiter and Tammi Thurm said that they lived near large apartment communities that they had been concerned about before they were developed, but that the anticipated problems had not come to fruition.
Councilmember Justin Outling, who cast one of the two no votes, said he didn’t see a large apartment complex as the highest and best use for the land and believed it would be out of character with the current development on Cone.
Councilmember Michelle Kennedy, who cast the other no vote, said that environmental issues were a major concern.
Councilmember Goldie Wells said, “Greensboro is a city that has to keep moving forward.”
She added, “I feel like these are the kinds of projects we need.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “This will set the standard for other developments across the city.”
Vaughan also noted that the long list of conditions, must be followed and the only way to change a condition is by going back through the rezoning process.