City Councilmember Sharon Hightower doubled down on her inappropriate behavior before the Greensboro Zoning Commission at the Monday, Nov. 18 meeting in the Council Chamber.
Not only did Hightower speak in opposition to a proposed rezoning, she spoke after all the time for the opposition had expired. But who is going to tell a member of the City Council that they cannot speak? Evidently no one.
Zoning Commission Chair Adam Marshall did about the only thing he could do and gave the proponents extra time to speak. Fortunately, Hightower didn’t get up to speak again or the process could have continued all night.
The City Council appoints the Zoning Commission and cases from the Zoning Commission are appealed to the Greensboro City Council.
So Hightower has two opportunities to affect the outcome of rezoning requests. One in her appointment and second when it comes to the City Council. If Hightower is unhappy with her appointment she should have them removed, not come to the meeting and speak for or against a rezoning request.
The case was denied as Hightower requested, but every indication was it would have been denied without her speech in favor of denial.
The request was for 1201 Ardmore Dr. to be rezoned from residential single family-5 (R-5) to Residential Multi-family-8 (RM-8) for Journey Adult Day Social Center for Trinity Consulting and Development.
The rezoning would have allowed a day care for adults to operate in the house on the property.
Commissioner Zac Engle noted that this was a new house that appeared to have been built for this purpose, but the building permit was to build a single-family house.
The 2,000-square-foot single story house is handicapped accessible and has five handicapped accessible bathrooms. According to testimony at the Zoning Commission meeting, the house could accommodate up to 16 clients plus staff at any given time.
The proponents made a number of mistakes. One was they didn’t call Hightower, and she likes to be consulted on anything taking place in her district. But more importantly they didn’t contact the neighbors. They called a last minute neighborhood meeting on the Friday before the Zoning Commission meeting on Monday.
Several neighbors noted that it was commercial intrusion into an established residential neighborhood.
Even the city planning staff recommended against this rezoning request because it was “incompatible” with the existing neighborhood.
The motion to deny the rezoning request passed on a 6-3 vote.
The proponents can appeal that decision to the City Council where Hightower can speak about it again.