As a wise man once said, it ain’t over till it’s over; and, while Summerfield farmer and developer David Couch may have won the battle to de-annex nearly 1,000 acres from the Town of Summerfield in order to build a large residential and mixed-use development on the property, in no way is the battle over.

It’s true that Couch managed to get his land out from under the jurisdiction of a town notorious for its stringent development rules; however, the land is, as of Monday, July 1, now officially an “unzoned” part of unincorporated Guilford County. In order to build his large community in the way he sees fit, he will still have to get permission – it’s just that now he will have to get it from Guilford County and the Guilford County Planning Department, which has a vetting process of their own regarding what they will and will not allow.

Given the strong emotions in the case and the way this de-annexation was jammed through the NC General Assembly, it’s a safe bet that any zoning allowing dense population on the land will eventually be appealed to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and perhaps then to the court system.

So, Couch may not be out of the woods yet.

According to Guilford County Planning Director Leslie Bell, given that the state approved the de-annexation from Summerfield, now Guilford County has 60 days to determine how the land should be zoned, which will go a long way toward deciding what types of projects may be built on the property.

Bell said the county will look at issues such as water and sewer, other infrastructure issues, compatibility with surrounding areas, fire protection and other considerations typically examined when property is zoned or rezoned.

Bell said that county planners will talk with the developer and see what kind of timeline he has under consideration, what density is desired, and the ability of a project to meet infrastructure needs.

“It’s not done in a vacuum,” Bell said of the Planning Department’s decision-making process, which involves give and take with developers.

Bell said that input from the public is taken into consideration as well.

“The public hearing is a factor,” Bell said.

The densest residential zoning that Guilford County allows is 5,000 square foot lot sizes, which equates to 8.7 units per acre.

Both the Guilford County Planning Board and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners have sometimes been swayed over the years when the large meeting room on the second floor of the Old Guilford County Court House in Downtown Greensboro is packed to the rafters with angry county residents opposing a project.

Others think Couch could run into some physical problems when it comes to building his dream community. One longtime Summerfield resident familiar with the land said that he believes Couch might find a lot more granite than he anticipates and that could lead to some real construction problems.