New Summerfield Mayor Tim Sessoms has a job a lot of people wouldn’t touch with a 20-foot pole.
Sessoms is heading up what is certainly the most divided town or city in Guilford County, and he said this week that his goal is to help bridge that divide and get people talking with one another in a less hostile and more honest manner.
The town is sharply divided over how much development – and what type – should be allowed in the town just north of Greensboro, and Sessoms says he knows it will be tough, if not impossible, to get everyone to agree.
When asked if he has the hardest job in the world, he said it may not be, “But it probably ranks in the top five.”
Sessoms said there are some strategies he thinks will help unite the town more than it is now. For instance, he said, he wants to see more town informational meetings where people can come and ask questions and engage in dialogue – as opposed to a typical meeting where each speaker comes and expresses his or her views for three minutes and then the next speaker does the same.
Currently, a lot of heated discussion centers around a proposed large residential development by farmer and local developer David Couch. At Summerfield Town Council meetings, there are frequently heated disputes about the project.
Sessoms said it may not be possible to get everyone to agree on the best options for growth in the town, but he said he at least wants to see everyone engaged in open, civil and honest discussion.
“My goal is to talk very honestly about things,” he said, adding that there had been a lot of hysteria in recent years regarding potential developments in Summerfield.
“I do think people are tired of the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf,” he said.
For instance, Sessoms said, some critics have pointed out that Couch’s development – if carried out to the maximum extent – could double the population of Summerfield from 11,000 to 22,000. But he added that what the critics don’t say is that that would take place gradually over a period of 25 years.
He added that some “troublemakers” in town blow things out of proportion in the discussions.
He said that one of the key questions of divisiveness is whether new developments will include apartments.
Sessoms added that he too wants a pleasant livable community and said one of the main reasons he wanted to be mayor is to play a role in overseeing trails and parks.
Sessoms said he does hope that he can get people talking rationally and honestly about development rather than just have people come to meetings and yell at one another.
He added that he would be more worried about the current large development on the table if it was being done by someone other than Couch.
“Of anyone, David would be the best,” Sessoms said. “He’s a good man and he’s a good developer.”
Sessoms job isn’t that hard. He and the other “leaders” in Summerfield are just afraid of one developer who won’t follow rules and likes to threaten lawsuits. So they call the same people who voted for them hysterical troublemakers and make Summerfield seem divided. It’s easier than standing up to Couch and his big city team, who intimidate Sessoms and crew.
Pretty much the people who want this development are Couch, those Couch pays and large landowners. The rest just want a small town.
Sessoms and his Council campaigned on no apartments, no high density, no public water. This new development has all three. So, Sessoms and Council, grow a backbone and stop letting one person bully a whole town. It’s really not that hard to keep your promises and do what is right.
Is this community not already over crowded? What I see is a wealthy land developer and his constituents wanting to make more money and profit at the cost of the folks who do and have lived in Summerfield for years or even a short period of time. Summerfield farms is nothing more than a place for wannabe rich folks and yuppies to got to and help boost their egos because the have no self esteem to begin with. Sip on a drink or glass of wine and pretend to be farmers. Everything is so overpriced, but yet they claim to bring farming to the community. I’m sorry, but farming has been here for hundreds of years. No need for more development because there is already enough. Just my opinion and thanks.
Ask law enforcement which communities have the most violence and crime. . . .single family homes, or apartments? If you guessed apartments, you win. And the word “affordable” is a clear sign the tenants are getting some kind of rent relief, and the buildings are “thrown together” versus built to last.
Once again, the word “affordable” comes into play which is nothing but low cost, high density” housing. Summerfield needs to wake up and tell those who would benefit from these new apartments that they need to go build them elsewhere, not in a community of homes spaced wide apart, value up in the 300,000-500,000 price range. All Summerfield needs is “affordable” housing, and you’ll see the current resident moving further north into Stokes or Rockingham counties.
Just visited two of the communities in South Carolina that are an inspiration for Couch. Check them out:
Summerfield would be LUCKY to have either one of these beautiful neighborhoods instead of unregulated “regulated” disconnected growth that Oak Ridge is currently experiencing. Take a drive by Northwest High School and see what it looks like when people follow antiquated rules and use any style that is the cheapest to build.
Ponder this: so you are one of the Town leaders who this developer flew on a private plane to see developments he didn’t build? To have hours of private time for Couch to convince you Summerfield needs 1200 apartments?
Are you going to let the thousands against this plan now each have time to take you to areas where overdevelopment and apartments ruined a place? Or only Couch gets special treatment?
Or you could drive a few miles and see the mess Couch makes with apartments
I guess the ‘Muh Freedom’ crowd doesn’t support property owner’s rights to buy, sell and develop as they see fit. I would have thought the anti mask crowd would support all Muh Freedom’s rights…even when those rights impacts the broader community.
Chris – no one in Summerfield has any problem with him developing his land as long as he follows the rules that are currently in place. The problem is that he wants the rules changed so he can do what he wants. Try to keep up.
Oh, so you believe in abolishing all zoning laws, right?
Let him go forward with his plans as long as “he” can figure out the water and sewer problem on his on. Greensboro doesn’t have enough of a water source for its current infrastructure.
It could be worse, you haven’t met my previous wives.
as a longtime inner COG resident, i have always thought of Summerfield as the kind of rural/ suburban community that had such a high level of affluence that residents could routinely ride their horses to work, school, shop, whatever. Great Gatsby Culture. Is that what u have ? or aspire to ? or wut ? It is possible to create attractive new homes & communities – somewhere else. & I have more, & happier X wives than U.
Why is Summerfield copying Greensboro? If we wanted to live in the city, we would have moved there. Keep the apartments out, keep the crime out and have the mayor stop acting like a “city” bureaucrat.
Tim you related to Nancy?