The Greensboro City Council turned down a second rezoning request at its Sept. 17 meeting.
It didn’t get as much media attention as the New Garden Road rezoning. However, this rezoning request for 1419 Manuel St. from Residential Single-Family-3 (R-3) to Conditional District Residential Single-Family-5 (CD-R-5), with the single condition limiting the maximum number of dwelling units to three, was similar in many ways.
In this case, as in the New Garden Road case, the neighborhood was united in its opposition and the rezoning request itself raised some unanswered questions.
The big difference between the two was that the neighborhood opposition for the Manuel Street rezoning were all members of the Doggett family, which makes sense when you realize the lot was once part of the Doggett family farm.
The rezoning request was from Sonny Vestal, who told the City Council he had divided lots like this many times.
The rezoning request placed the maximum number of houses on the lot at three, but Vestal showed the City Council a drawing that had two houses on the lot and said that was what he intended to build. City Councilmember Sharon Hightower noted that if they passed the rezoning request, Vestal could change his plans and build three houses, but Vestal did not offer to change the condition to a maximum of two houses.
The Doggett family pointed out that although they own land all around the lot in question, no one had come to any of them to talk about the rezoning and there had been no neighborhood meeting. They said they didn’t know what Vestal intended to build and were concerned about traffic and where the driveways would be on their narrow street.
Vestal said he put a sign in the yard with the drawing of two houses on the lot to inform the neighborhood of his intentions.
Councilmember Tammi Thurm noted that when he was before the Zoning Commission, Vestal had been strongly advised to hold a neighborhood meeting to present his plans to the neighbors and Vestal told the City Council he had not done that. Nor had he met with the neighbors individually.
About meeting with the neighborhood, City Councilmember Goldie Wells said, “It’s their neighborhood. They have lived their all their lives. It’s just good manners.”
Hightower said, “When people don’t engage you they dismiss you and they disrespect you.”
Councilmember Yvonne Johnson said, “I heard two people say they weren’t opposed to change but are opposed to being ignored.”
The City Council voted unanimously to deny the rezoning request.