Those who oppose more development in Summerfield often state that the Summerfield Town Council is “in the pocket of the developers.”

However, on Tuesday, April 12, the Summerfield Town Council, on a  4-to-1 vote, shot down a proposed text amendment to the town’s ordinances that would have allowed local farmer and developer David Couch to proceed with a large residential development that has seen a great deal of opposition from town residents ever since it was officially announced in 2020.

Town Councilmembers John O’Day, Reece Walker, Lynne DeVaney and Janelle Robinson voted against approving the text amendment – to the delight of most of those in attendance that night – while only one town councilmember, John Doggett, voted in favor of Couch’s request.

In Summerfield, the mayor only votes when there’s a tie, and, of course, there wasn’t one this time around.  But, while Mayor Tim Sessoms didn’t vote, he did offer an explanation to the crowd at the meeting.

“It really comes down to listening to the voice of our citizens – that’s what we are tasked to do,” Sessoms said.

At the April 12 meeting, the vast majority of the many speakers were against adopting the text amendment, which would have meant another step toward Couch being able to implement his vision.

Sessoms went on to add that, if the vast majority of people in town had sought the alternative outcome, the vote would likely have been different.

Sessoms thanked the citizens for the many “unbelievably detailed” emails they had sent in on the subject.

Many of the town’s residents are particularly opposed to allowing apartments in Summerfield – something that Couch would very much like to include in his development.

For the past five years, as more development has taken place in the town of about 11,000 people, there has been a virtual civil war in Summerfield over the questions of housing density, zoning ordinances and whether the currently well-water based town should build its own water system supplied by either a large water tank or by city water from an outside source such as the City of Greensboro.