In keeping with its goal to build more affordable housing, the Greensboro City Council voted 8-0 with one recusal to rezone the old Sedgefield Show Grounds at the corner of Groometown Road and Vandalia Road for affordable housing.

The rezoning request was from Affordable Housing Management for 17 acres at 3701 and 3709-ZZ Groometown Road from County Residential Single-Family- 40 (RS-40) and City Residential Single-Family-3 (R-3) to Conditional District-Residential Multi-Family-18 (CD-RM-18).

The conditions limit the maximum number of dwelling units to 220.

Executive Director of Affordable Housing Management David Levy said that two issues brought up by opponents to the rezoning request were the old cemetery on the property and the barn, which was reportedly eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Levy said the cemetery was being deeded to the Celia Phelps United Methodist Church adjacent to the property and that a one-acre plot including the barn had been offered to Preservation Greensboro if a use could be found for it.

City Councilmember Tammi Thurm said that when this was first being considered she met with some of the neighbors and the primary concern seemed to be the barn. She complimented Levy for working with the community and said, “He has worked very hard and come up with what I think is a great solution.”

David Pokela with the Nexsen Pruet law firm spoke for the opposition. Some of his points were that the rezoning was not in keeping with the Connections 2025 Comprehensive Plan, that 220 apartments would overcrowd the schools in the area, that the entire show grounds and not just the barn was considered historic and that the annexation agreement was not signed properly.

The Comp Plan issue was solved by amending the Comp Plan, something that Mayor Nancy Vaughan noted the City Council does “on a fairly regular basis.”

Councilmember Yvonne Johnson said that the City Council was not allowed to consider school overcrowding in rezoning cases.

City Attorney Chuck Watts said that his staff had looked into the annexation agreement and that it appeared to be in order.

Councilmember Goldie Wells said, “I am really interested in preserving historic sites, but we need affordable housing.”

Thurm said, “This is an ideal property, in a really good area and we need this desperately.”

Councilmember Justin Outling was recused from the matter because of a conflict of interest.