Summerfield farmer and developer David Couch has asked that a large swath of property he wants to use for a mixed use residential development be de-annexed from the town due to disagreements over the density that should be allowed on the land.
NC state Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) said this week that he’s not sure how he feels about the matter and he give a simple answer why: Nothing firm has taken shape, and he also has yet to hear all arguments from both sides.
“There’s not really a proposal yet – so I don’t know what it’s going to look like,” Hardister said.
Much of the battle between Couch and the Summerfield Town Council in the past year have centered on the development and the number of apartments that could be built on the land.
When Couch decided to go to the state legislature and have his land de-annexed from the town, the Summerfield Town Council called an emergency council meeting on Saturday, March 4 to “discuss a pressing State legislative matter that could have a significant impact on the town.” At that meeting, Summerfield Mayor Tim Sessoms encouraged Summerfield residents to contact state legislators including Hardister and tell them this move would damage Summerfield. State House District 59 which Hardister represents does not include Summerfield which is in District 57 represented by state Rep. Ashton Clemmons (D-Guilford). However, since the Republicans have a large majority in the state House, it makes sense to contact Republican representatives. Hardister is also the House Majority Whip.
Hardister’s voice mailbox stayed full this week – though he said he hadn’t been overwhelmed with calls or emails yet from Summerfield residents. He said he does know that the General Assembly sees some de-annexations from time to time and he is now looking into de-annexations of the past.
“Currently, there’s not a bill on the table,” he said regarding Summerfield. “It will be easier to talk about when there is.”
It would be a shame to permit one man”s greed to change the character of the Summerfield community forever…and not for the better.
How is it possible that Representative Hardister would ignore the wishes of 11,000 residents and side with a greedy developer. There is a map of the massive amount to be deannexed on a FB page, Keep Summerfield Rural. I saw it and the land is in the MIDDLE of Summerfield. It will destroy it. What small town in NC is next to be deannexed for developer donors?
At his point, Couch is essentially telling mistruths to get rich! He says the Summerfield UDO doesn’t allow multi-family dwellings and affordable housing options. False. Quadplexes, duplexes, triplexes, townhomes all allowed! Couch also implies constantly that Summerfield is racist. (Comical from a man with 1 African-American out of 26 in his management team). No town can control every single person’s thoughts or statements. But I have lived here for years and I have minorities in my family. Never have they been treated with anything but respect. My road alone has residents who are Latino, African-American, and Indian.
If Hardister believes Couch, then he is a fool. Hopefully he sees this for what it is. Greed at the expense of small towns.
I disagree. All this sounds like envy to me. Developers and businesses are not “greedy”. Who do you think puts up their money and time to risk a new business? Who do you think provides jobs? Government? Who builds the home and apartments where we live? The cars we drive? The clothes we wear? The food we eat? Farmers can’t stay in business if they can’t make a profit.
If business meets our needs, then they prosper. If we don’t like their stuff, then they fail.
I don’t disagree. But this is not envy. People in Summerfield are happy for him to build, develop and make money, but within the ordinances.
Couch is not a farmer. He is a real estate investor whose main home is a ranch in Montana. Summerfield Farms is mainly an event center. He bought his 1000 acres in Summerfield as an INVESTMENT, knowing the development rules. He knew the land was in a small town. New 2021 ordinances have gotten more developer friendly (higher density housing, townhomes, quadplexes all permitted). Couch has every right to profit, but under the rules. Clothing or car manufacturers can make money, but have to follow all kinds of rules. This is no different.
Couch wants special treatment. So he can put 1300 or more apartment units and DOUBLE population of an area that CANNOT handle it. He maximizes profit off the backs of 11,000 small town residents who lose home values and quality of life? How is that fair?
Developers are greedy.
Here’s the problem…the people (democracy} have spoken and voted. They elected a board that represents their wishes, in this case against David Couch’s’ proposals. Couch lost and is now back dooring the peoples decision. EVERYONE HATES A SPOILED LITTLE CRY BABY, and that is what he has turned out to be. Farmer? good one! I bet he’s farming on his 200 acre ranch in Wyoming/ Montana.
To be truly considering both sides Representative Hardister has either never read our UDO or has been misinformed by Couch and his team of Florida “Urbanists”. The Summerfield UDO very clearly allows for developers to build Duplexes, Triplexes, Quadplexes and even allows the four unit quadplex to count as a single unit for density purposes. The only reason a developer “cant” build housing priced for teachers or other service folks is profits. This developer could very easily build a nice community with OSM (open space mixed use) zoning but he will not make the profits he feels he needs. He could even build a higher density quadraplex complex if he had not bought property that used to be a granite mine and wont perk. This is 100% about profits and the State Legislature has no right to interfere. If any Congresspersons or Senators back this bill we will vote them out of office. If you doubt this look at the grass root support that has been developed against this issue. As a elected representative would you rather have that support behind you or against you?
Get your head out of that wad of cash developer David Couch donated to you and start paying attention. I realize the smell of cash can be persuasive but come on man.
Is there any farming or crop production currently on the Summerfield Farms land, or is Summerfield Farms a name to only identify the property?
That’s an interesting quote from Rep Hardister about not being overwhelmed by Summerfield responses yet. I had heard through the grapevine that he asked for his name to be removed from call lists on this issue because he was getting too many calls. There was another rumor that he was too busy to take in person meetings about this deannexation, which will potentially destroy a small town in the area he represents.
So, truthfully, it doesn’t seem as though he is listening to constituents. This is by far the most important issue Summerfield has ever faced and residents are united against it. The 1000 acres at issue is in the middle of town, not a small piece of property on the outskirts. If this deannexation is passed in Raleigh, there will be a domino effect of developers in every small town, asking for political favors so they can avoid development ordinances.
The voters will be watching representative Hardister carefully. And it appears we will need to up the pressure if he does not take a public position immediately when this bill is filed.
Maybe Summerfield should let Greensboro annex the property if they can negotiate some sort of concession from Greensboro. Something that would help Summerfield keep its rural nature.
I thought this property was between Summerfield and Greensboro. Now that I see the map mentioned in Tw’s comment, I realize my suggestion is not feasible.
GSO does not negotiate. Think camel’s nose under the tent
I absolutely agree with Mr. Couch, the town of Summerfield Mayor and council are intimidated by the left-wing degenerates and he should absolutely withdraw his material investment from this place. It’s a shame to see a good wholesome community like Summerfield be degraded by the Irving Park wannabes crowd that moved here to avoid City taxes. Once we lost our Lamborghini dealership this whole place went to hell.
If this de-annex proposal is successful, does that mean others can secede from their existing city?
I like my house, but would love to withdraw from Greensboro. My property tax would be half and I could legally shoot skeet in my yard. If they let this rich guy pull this stunt, it’s only equitable that anybody can also quit a town if they don’t like the rules.
Is Hardister listening to the citizens of Summerfield or the politicians who do not live or even know where Summerfield is located? To be determined. To many of our politicians are spineless, mindless individuals who do as a party leader says and not what we the people want. Cowards?