As if there weren’t enough interesting things happening in the town of Summerfield, this week a citizen’s public records request revealed the specifics of a complaint that the Greensboro NAACP has filed against the town.

The complaint, which was filed with the State of North Carolina Civil Rights Division of the Human Relations Commission, accuses the town of a long history of discriminatory housing practices by not allowing lower-cost housing.

The complaint alleges that the town is in violation of the NC Fair Housing Act, and the complaint was also filed under a federal law with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“The available housing stock in Summerfield is … substantially different than in the rest of the region,” it states. “More than 97 percent of homes in Summerfield are single-family dwellings, and according to the American Community Survey data there are no apartment dwellings in Summerfield. By contrast, 69 percent of homes in the Greensboro MSA are single-family homes and 24 percent are in multi-family dwellings. And the Summerfield median listed home price is more than $600,000, as compared to Greensboro’s median of approximately $300,000.”

The complaint adds that “Summerfield’s racial homogeny and relative affluence are no coincidence. Rather, they are the direct and intentional result of Summerfield’s long history of exclusionary zoning ordinances and housing policies … Summerfield has one of the most exclusionary and discrimination zoning ordinances in the country – an ordinance that, for decades. prohibited anything other than single-family homes, and still today allows a density of no more than one unit per acre. In fact, Summerfield has never approved the development of a single apartment complex.”

The complaint also points to the town’s initial failure, in June of 2021, to allow developer David Couch’s proposal to create a residential development that would include housing that was more affordable.

It goes on to list a series of quotes of residents and leaders meant to show the town wanted to keep certain people from moving there.  For instance, one resident years ago at a Summerfield Town Council meeting expressed concern – regarding developments near the town –  that the growth of developments for lower income individuals was “get[ting] out of hand.”

The Town of Summerfield published a press release this week on the town’s website stating that the town “denies that it has engaged in any intentional, purposeful, or unlawful discrimination — and it specifically denies that its zoning practices are discriminatory in nature.”

It adds, “That complaint alleges that the Town has engaged in discriminatory housing practices. Those allegations are meritless; the Town Council takes its obligations seriously and has developed a Comprehensive Plan to ensure well-managed growth as Summerfield becomes an increasingly desirable place to live.”

Summerfield has hired the law firm of Maynard Nexsen to help provide the defense of its zoning policies and procedures.

The Human Rights Commission will now begin an investigation of the complaint to determine if there are any reasonable grounds to believe discriminatory housing practices have taken place.

It should take about three months for the commission to make a determination.