How can you hold a public hearing if the public is banned from the meeting?

The Greensboro City Council hasn’t figured that out, yet.

Which is why all the public hearing items that were on the agenda for the March 17 City Council meeting, which was postponed to March 31, have been removed from the agenda.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that if the stay-at-home and social distancing regulations were still in place on Tuesday, April 21, when the public hearing items are currently scheduled to be heard, that the City Council would either figure out a way to hold a public hearing without having the public in the room, or continue the items until the current bans on gatherings of more than 10 people are lifted.

Vaughan said, “As a council we don’t want to stifle public comment and we’ll have to figure out a way to accommodate that.”

At least two items on the March 17 agenda were expected to attract a large number of opponents to the Council Chamber. One was the rezoning request for the corner of Lake Jeanette Road and Lawndale Drive, which has been given the moniker “devil’s triangle” because it is a triangular shaped piece of property at a busy intersection.

The rezoning request from Residential Single Family (R-3) to Conditional District-Commercial Low (CD-C-L) attracted a large crowd of opponents to the Zoning Commission meeting.

The Lawndale Lake Jeanette Neighborhood Association was in the unusual position of refusing to meet with the developer to discuss development options for the site and the Zoning Commission still voted unanimously to deny the rezoning request.

The other rezoning request that attracted a crowd to the Zoning Commission meeting was to rezone the old Sedgefield Stables property at 3701 Groometown Road to Conditional District Residential Multi-family (CD-RM-18) for an affordable housing development. Some of the opposition to that was from people who said it should be considered a historic site.

There are a total of ten public hearing items that are being continued, so the first meeting after all this is over is going to be a doozy.