Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Glenwood Rezoning

The Greensboro City Council this evening will consider whether to rezone four and half acres of the Glenwood neighborhood from RS-7 (single-family residential) to CD RM-18 (multifamily high-density residential).

If they do so, they will also have to amend the Comprehensive Plan's Generalized Future Land Use Map (GFLUM), which designates this area to remain low-density residential.

The city planning department has recommended in favor of both:

[The rezoning] meets Connections 2025 policies of promoting mixed income neighborhoods, promoting compact development, and promoting the diversification of new housing stock to meet the needs for suitable, affordable housing. However, there is a question about whether or not this proposed development will be compatible with its surroundings. The uses to the north, east and west of this site are single-family detached homes. The proposal is for multifamily dwellings that will be limited to two stories in height .... Staff has discussed, with the applicant, the possibility of increasing the landscape buffer (width and/or number of plantings) along the western line and reducing the density to try and make the development more compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. The applicantÂ’s attorney has indicated that added conditions would reduce the density to approximately 12 units per acre . . .
However, city staff also admit that consequences of the rezoning and amendment of the Comp Plan could be bad:
This amendment may encourage other similar amendments in the vicinity as we have had a couple recent amendments in this area already.
I've heard from some neighborhood residents who oppose the rezoning becausee of its incompatibility with the neighborhood character of Glenwood. As the Comp Plan itself says (p. 6-6)
. . . it is important that revitalization objectives be balanced with the need for neighborhood conservation. Infill development is not inherently "good" simply because it is infill and man, in fact, adversely affect the fabric of a neighborhood if the project is not compatible with its context. Rather, the successful infill project is one that complements and supports the character and appearance of the neighborhood that surrounds it.
From what I have heard, the proposed development doesn't sound like it's particularly compatible with its surroundings; in fact, the fact that the developer is offering additional screening seems to be a de facto admission that what's being proposed is incompatible.

The city council has yet to turn down a developer's request to amend the GFLUM portion of the Comp Plan. I hope they will take a very hard look at what's being proposed here. And if they determine that it's incompatible, I hope they'll suck in their guts, gird their loins, and say, "Sorry. We believe in the Comp Plan we voted for. Please bring us a proposal that conforms to it."


Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for regarding Neighborhood Conservation. Neighborhood Conservation is the new speech code for NIMBYism in Chapel Hill. Previously, it was "environmentalism."

If it plays out the same in Greensboro, expect Neighborhood Conservation to be all about preserving single-family housing via downzoning, and little else.

David Wharton said...

Glenwood is about half multifamily at the moment. The planners themselves proposed that Glenwood's underlying zoning remain single-family.

A lot depends on design. I voted for a multifamily development in my own neighborhood because I thought the developer was working to make it compatible.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading about the many changes the City Council has been making to the Comprehensive Plan they voted on and approved for the future appearance of Greensboro.It appears from the alacrity with which the Council members change the plan that they really don't approve of it at all. Could it be they really didn't study and understand the very expensive plan they approved when they voted for it, and just rubber stamped it because they had ordered and paid for the plan? Maybe it would be a good idea for the City Council to meet with the Planning Department for a FULL AND COMPLETE STUDY OF THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN as it stands now so that they can belatedly understand the overall goals that they had previously approved for the city.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wharton, did you watch the televised meeting of the City Council last night? I am sure you did. I drove by, and then walked by, that property, and because of the stream and other features I could see from the street I can understand that a portion of the site is really unbuildable. Perhaps the builders new proposal for town homes and condos is a good idea. You know Greensboro much better than I, what is your take on the idea? Brenda Bowers

David Wharton said...

I think that owner-occupancy would probably be more acceptable to the Glenwood residents.

But there are design issues involved too -- the people that talked to me were concerned to make sure that the streets and property frontages maintained Glenwood's traditional neighborhood character.

Good architects can do good things.

Marshall said...

As a Glenwood resident (and also someone not well-informed on all the ins and outs of these zoning issues), I really don't think this development would be helpful. Our neighborhood needs more stability, and I don't think a new set of space for renters, especially on this side of Glenwood (which is the side I live on) would help that. We also have little greenspace as it is, and I would hate to lose that site, which is nice to walk past when exercising my dog. I am glad to know that people are discussing this, though. Thanks for putting it on the blogging radar.