The City Council discussion of the New Garden Road Strategic Plan, which was scheduled for the Aug. 20 City Council meeting, has reportedly been delayed until September.
A draft of the report was released July 30 and is available on the city website.
One of the downsides of these strategic plans is that they give residents the false impression that the plan is going to govern how the area will develop. It doesn’t matter how much the city believes an area should be multifamily residential, if a developer doesn’t think multifamily residential will work at that location, it isn’t going to be multifamily residential.
One notable aspect of this strategic plan is that it recommends creating an additional hoop for developers to jump through along the New Garden Road corridor if an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan and the New Garden Strategic Plan is necessary. In that case the plan recommends that the city hold a public meeting on the proposed plan amendment and rezoning request and that if “an adjoining neighborhood has a neighborhood association that meets regularly, the City will ask for their input on the proposed plan amendment and rezoning, giving them up to 60 days to respond.”
Currently, the city recommends that people requesting a rezoning make efforts to notify the neighborhoods about the proposal and they are required to give a report on those efforts. But they are not required to hold any meetings or to give a neighborhood association 60 days to respond.
It’s interesting that the New Garden Road Strategic Plan notes that the Greensboro Comprehensive Plan: Connections 2025, also referred to as the Generalized Future Land Use Map (GFLUM), missed the fact that the portion of New Garden Road near Bryan Boulevard was going to become a retail center.
According to the Comprehensive Plan, there would be two “activity centers,” which is what city planners call retail development – one at the Battleground Avenue intersection with New Garden and one at the Friendly Avenue intersection with New Garden – but it did not foresee the major commercial development near Bryan Boulevard.
The strategic plan notes that although there was a lot of participation by residents and property owners along New Garden Road, there was little participation by developers.
Homeowners tend to like their neighborhoods the way they are, which is why they moved there in the first place. If the goal is to create a strategic plan on how an area should develop, it would seem to make sense to have people who make their living developing property involved in the process.