The rezoning request for the long time home of Sedgefield Showgrounds at 3701 Groometown Road filled the Council Chamber on Monday, Feb. 17 with opponents.
The rezoning request was from County Residential Single Family (RS-40) and City Residential Single Family (R-3) to Conditional District-Residential Multifamily (CD-RM-18) from Affordable Housing Management. One condition was that the 17-acre site be limited to 220 units.
After hearing from both sides, the Zoning Commission voted 6-1-1 to approve the rezoning request. Because the land that is currently outside the city limits will have to be annexed, the annexation and rezoning request automatically goes to the City Council on Tuesday, March 17. Zoning Commissioner Donald Blackstock voted against the rezoning request and Commissioner Ray Trapp was recused because he is on the board of Affordable Housing Management.
At the beginning of the meeting the opponents requested a continuance to have more time to prepare. It was denied by a 7-0-1 vote of the Zoning Commission, after it was explained that in cases where an annexation is involved the Zoning Commission only makes a recommendation to the City Council.
Affordable Housing Management Executive Director David Levy said that this was a good site for affordable housing because it had good access to thoroughfares and had a shopping center across the street. He went into some detail about the quality of the developments that Affordable Housing Management builds and manages.
Reverend Ellis Carson, the pastor of Celia Phelps Memorial United Methodist Church, which is adjacent to the property, spoke in favor of rezoning request, saying that it would “bring young families into the community.”
The opposition mostly fell into four camps, traffic, schools, that Sedgefield Showgrounds is historic and also that it is an important facility to the equestrian community.
Opponents said the site is in the Millis Road Elementary School district and the school is currently at 147 percent capacity.
Unfortunately for the opponents, the city government doesn’t fund or operate the schools. So school overcrowding it is not something that is usually considered by the Zoning Commission or the City Council when rezoning property.
One speaker said that if the opposition were given more time, they would buy the property and keep it operating as a stable.
Levy noted that the property had been for sale since November and the owner didn’t want to run the business and wanted to sell the property.
This will go before the City Council on March 17, and considering the City Council’s consistent support for more affordable housing in Greensboro, it will be a tough rezoning request to defeat.
I must admit it is quite unfortunate that the Commission washed their hands so quickly of GCS. Looking back at their mission statement:
” Promoting quality growth throughout Greensboro with professional and knowledgeable staff, outstanding customer service, and innovative problem-solving.
The Planning Department is charged with promoting the sound growth and development of the City of Greensboro. We work with our residents, businesses and community partners to create a vision for the future of Greensboro, lead programs that strengthen neighborhoods, encourage economic development and support our quality of life. ”
How does rezoning for 220 additional units for an elementary school at 147% of capacity promote sound growth, strengthen neighborhoods and support quality of life?
They seem to have a history of not working together to ensure the students have proper school capacity in place. The zoning commission and city council just blame the school board and the school board is never pro-active. Who suffers? The children! Shameful.