Perhaps because it was Valentines Day, City Councilmember Justin Outling’s monthly “Java with Justin” at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14 was more subdued that the last couple have been.
Outling starts these monthly informal meetings held at Dolce Aroma coffee shop on North Elm Street by going over the agenda for the next City Council meeting, in this case the meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Outling said there wasn’t much of note on the agendas except for two rezoning cases that were both controversial.
Robin Stiles wanted to talk about the Lake Jeanette Road and Lawndale Drive rezoning request, which is to rezone the 2.3 acre tract from Residential Single Family R-3 to Commercial Low. She noted that the intersection was already “horrific.”
Outling said in his opinion the tract was not suitable for residential, but he added that the City Council had to take rezoning requests as they come. The council is not allowed to change a rezoning request to what it thinks is appropriate.
Outling also talked about the GSO2040 Comprehensive Plan that has a vision for Greensboro, but said he had questions as to whether the majority of the people in Greensboro had the same vision. One part of the plan is to make Greensboro a “car optional city.”
Outling said, “In my opinion Greensboro is a car drivers’ paradise.” He said that making the city car optional would take away some of the convenience of being able to drive anywhere in the city in 20 minutes and gave the example of North Elm one block north, which has been narrowed from four lanes to two, to allow space for bike lanes.
He said he’d heard both how great that was and how terrible it was, but that kind of change across the city was certainly worthy of discussion.
Another example Outling gave of the vision in the comp plan was to “make Greensboro one of the greenest cities in the South.” He said if the City Council decided that was a worthy goal then it couldn’t do something like stop recycling glass, which it recently did even though it was really expensive.
Outling also talked about an idea he supports to offer some property tax relief, primarily to seniors who met the income requirements. He said Guilford County had a similar program and it would cost the city less than $100,000 a year and help some elderly homeowners stay in their homes.
The group also discussed the now closed Renaissance Community Co-op grocery store, affordable housing, the lawsuit with Point South homeowners association, economic development, gun control and other topics.