Tuesday, November 22, 2005


If St. Augustine can write them, so can I.


I wrote last week that I thought the city's Comprehensive Plan would be a dead letter if the city council approved a particular rezoning. I think I was wrong about that.

I was going to revise that opinion to say that only a part of the plan is a dead letter -- the Generalized Future Land Use Map (GFLUM) -- but I don't even think that any more.

After attending the latest LDO citizens' advisory team meeting, I realized that Greensboro's development community believes the GFLUM is quite alive (and they don't seem very happy about that fact), and will continue to be a factor in development projects, especially ones that are handled at the staff level.

What does seem clear, however, is that if a reputable developer proposes a serious development that is in conflict with the GFLUM, then the city council will vote to rezone using traditional rezoning criteria, not GFLUM. In that sense, GFLUM is very weak, but not dead.

As for the rest of the 1.5-inch thick Comp Plan, some checking has convinced me that it's mostly clicking along quite nicely. A good example of this is the council's adoption of the Cedar Street Area Strategic Plan, which fits nicely into the Comp Plan's provisions for neighborhood planning, protecting historical resources, and community identity projects.


Andy Scott in HCD e-mailed me with some very pertinent information about the use of eminent domain with regard to my earlier post. Here's what he said:

First: North Carolina has very conservative eminent domain laws (which is not necessarily a bad thing). In order for the city to use eminent domain to purchase the property it has to go through a statutory process that qualifies the area (neighborhood) as a redevelopment area. This would take from six months to a year.

Second: Then [if] the city began the acquisition process, that would take from six months to three years (it took us over three years and a trip to the state supreme court to acquire 14 dilapidated buildings structures in the Rosewood Neighborhood from Mr. Agapion).

Third: Currently the units that remain meet the minimum housing code - which substantially complicates the acquisition process (using eminent domain).
So of course the situation is not nearly as simple as I had indicated.

Andy also encouraged me to focus on the important question: not what we might think of a particular property owner, but what is best for Cedar Street and the city.

And I'm thinking about it.

UPDATE: Sandy Carmany and Beth McKee Huger are thinking about it, too.

UPDATE II: The News & Record has a fuller story; they also printed most of my earlier post on the editorial page.

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