The highly controversial rezoning request by the Koury Corporation for property on Cone Boulevard was approved by the Greensboro Zoning Commission on Monday, Oct. 19.
The request to rezone the 23.3 acres from Residential Single-Family to Conditional District Residential Multi-Family-26 (CD-RM-26) passed by a 6-to-3 vote and will almost certainly be appealed to the City Council where it will be heard at the Tuesday, Nov. 17 meeting.
The rezoning request, which before the meeting had few conditions, was loaded with conditions, setting buffers and height limitations during the meeting.
Zoning Commissioner Ray Trapp said that he had never seen such a heavily conditioned rezoning request. The total number of dwelling units allowed in an RM-26 district would be close to 600, but a condition limited the maximum number of units to 480.
Mike Fox of Tuggle Duggins, who represented Koury, said that because of the buffering conditions related to building height, the actual number would have to be reduced from 480, but he didn’t know what that new number would be.
Attorney Don Vaughan, who represented a number of opponents, challenged the conditions because the opponents were not given an opportunity to speak about the additional conditions before they were approved by the Zoning Commission.
Vaughan said, “I just got those conditions at three minutes to four and haven’t had a chance to evaluate them.”
Fox said, “We actually presented these conditions to them over a week ago.” Fox said that the only revisions that had been made were in the language at the request of the city staff and that the setbacks had been increased in some areas.
Fox noted that conditions can be added during the meeting.
Vaughan requested a 30-day continuance to allow the opponents time to study the conditions and that request was unanimously defeated by the Zoning Commission.
In his presentation Fox described the proposed gated apartment community as “really high end.” He said that the sloping terrain and the natural buffer would allow the development of the 480 apartment community with some five-story buildings to be situated on the property, which is surrounded by single-family residential homes. He also noted that that two portions of the property totaling about eight acres were being left undisturbed.
The development will have two entrances, both on Cone Boulevard, and Fox noted because of the buffering conditions there was only one area near Cone where five-story buildings could be built.
The opponents main concerns were the density, the height of the buildings and increased traffic. Several opponents said that if the height of the buildings were reduced along with the density, they could support a much smaller multifamily development on the site.
The three zoning commissioners who voted against the rezoning, Chair Hugh Holston and Commissioners Zac Engle and Sandra O’Connor, all cited the density and height of the buildings as their objections.
Zoning Commissioner Tony Collins, who voted in favor said, “Here’s what I’m concerned about do we strive for mediocrity in what we do. We just don’t need regular apartments there.”
Trapp said, “For me this is infill development. Infill development is the way of the future. Infill development combats urban sprawl.”