It looks like the Greensboro City Council will have a hot rezoning case on the agenda for the Tuesday, Feb. 18 meeting.
The Zoning Commission by a 6-0 vote denied a request from Kotis Properties to rezone 2.3 acres at the intersection of Lawndale Drive and Lake Jeanette Road from Residential Single Family R-3 to Conditional District-Commercial-Low (CD-C-L). The conditions include limiting the height of a building to 30 feet and 22,000 square feet and prohibiting a number of uses.
The rezoning was vehemently opposed by the Lawndale-Lake Jeanette Neighborhood Association.
Attorney Marsh Prause, representing Kotis Properties, said that because of the heavy traffic and the triangular configuration of the property, it was not suitable for residential development.
He said, “People don’t like to live where they open their front door and see a thoroughfare and open their backdoor and see another thoroughfare.”
He said, if you accepted that it was not suitable for residential zoning, then you had to consider what zoning would be appropriate, and that commercial low, particularly with the conditions, fit the property.
One factor that made this case unusual is that often developers are reprimanded for not meeting and negotiating more with neighborhoods. In this case it was the opposite. Prause said they met with representatives of the neighborhood association in July, when the plan was to ask for rezoning to commercial-medium; and when they changed that request to commercial-low, he contacted the neighborhood association to schedule another meeting and was told they didn’t want to meet.
Aaron Terranova, the president of the Lawndale-Lake Jeanette Neighborhood Association, said, “He did reach out to us and we invited them to our meeting and we asked questions and he answered some of them and we said we don’t want it.”
Terranova suggested that one single-family residential home might be a good use for the 2.3 acre lot.
Another neighbor said she thought the property should remain as it was – undeveloped; that there was nothing wrong with undeveloped land.
Zoning Commissioner Zac Engle was the only commissioner who spoke at any length about the property. He agreed that it was not suitable for single-family residential and said he might be able to support some mix of office and retail, but the fact that all drive thru uses on the lot were not prohibited by a condition was a sticking point for him and he couldn’t support a rezoning request that would allow any drive thru use.
Zoning Commissioner Vernal Alford said he thought the property should remain zoned R-3 like the property all around it.
Decisions made by the Zoning Commission on rezoning requests can be appealed to the City Council and it would be a surprise if this one were not.