Live from City Hall

Blogging Live:   I decided to come to tonight’s City Council meeting after running into a friend of mine from the Westerwood Neighborhood who is speaking against a rezoning that would result in the demolition of three historic house near the intersection of Smith Street and Spring Street.

Of course the Council will also be considering the request form the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission so it will likely be an interesting night.


7:07 – Listening to a rezoning request from a fellow who want to set up an “internet business” right on the edge of a residential district.  It had been unanimously denied by the Zoning Commisssion but the owner must have figured he would take his chances and see if he could slip one by the Council.  He did not, but we did learn a new phrase from Zoning Department head Dick Hails – “fuzzy line analysis”.

This phrase apparently describes any property that need to be looked at by Zoning because it is a ‘taint’ property.  It ‘taint really commercial and it ‘taint really residential.  The phrase “taint neither analysis” would have been much more descriptive and easily understood.

7:50 – Another rezoning – this one involving a plot of land off of North Church Street.  The owners want to develop the property to RS-5 (5,000 sq ft lots) standards – everything around the proposed development is zoned RS-9 (9,000 sq ft lots).  Normally I would think this request would be an automatic ‘no’ because of the disparity in density.  But the Zoning Commission voted 8-0 for the re-zoning.  My guess is they cited the area’s new higher density land use recommendations outlined within Greensboro’s Comprehensive Plan as justification for recommending the change to Council.  The Comp Plan complicates things in a case like this.

9:28 – Kind of strange.  I got up to speak before council against the rezoning of the three historic houses on Spring Street that would end in their destruction, then came back to sit and blog at the press desk.  Citizen – journalist – citizen – journalist… it is all so confusing.  but anyway…

Robbie Perkins is showing his preservationist colors, “I am willing to take a risk to try and preserve these houses.” “Create interesting and unique opportunities for downtown, not just the same ol’ same ol’.”  Sandy Carmany, “We are interested in affordable houses downtown, and we have that here.”

Tom Phillips and Mayor Holliday think the houses are doomed regardless of this rezoning decision.  They demonstrated they have no vision or creativity when it comes to historic preservation.  Putting on his bankers hat, the mayor said, “As usual I am going to provide the real against the ideal… it will take a benevolent property owner to fix those houses up for no more than $800 per month income when they could build several apartments on each lot under the current zoning.”

The rezoning passed on a 5 to 4 vote with Bellamy-Small casting a confusing vote.  She never votes to change zoning but did this time.  Because of the 5-4 margin, the matter will come up for a re-vote during the next meeting.  Perhaps she will reconsider.

10:15 – The Council then said some other stuff and spent some money and I went out to… well… I left for a while.  When I came back they were in recess.

10:30 – Now, on to some reconcilliation.  My battery is running low as Mayor Holliday makes his lengthy statement.

My short version of each Council Members comments…

Keith Holliday – He has thought his objections through and is very sincere in is belief that the T&R process will hurt Greensboro’s image.

Don Vaughan – Without subpoena power - the truth will not come out.

Yvonne Johnson – We need to heal, this is the way to do it.

Claudette Burroughs-White – She trusts the process.  Claudette talked more about race than the process requires.  She framed the process as a way to help rid our city of racism. 

T. Diane Bellamy-Small – ‘Twoness’ is her theme.  She is also making this a racial issue.  She’s fer truth and the other thing.

Tom Phillips – We don’t need to be involved in this.  We have moved on.

Florence Gatton – Battery is gone… not hers, mine.


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