Monday, November 12, 2007

Lawndale / Cornwallis Zoning Denied ... For Now

The Greensboro Zoning Commission denied a request to rezone the block of residential property at Cornwallis and Lawndale that was previously discussed here, here, and here.

City zoning staff had recommended against the rezoning, saying (in part),

Though the proposal includes both residential and non-residential components it is unclear that these uses can be truly integrated either within the site or with the surrounding residential areas, which is a goal of mixed development. The Sketch Plan provided with this request notes a wall separating the drug store and associated townhomes as well as parking areas and a full point of access to the drug store directly adjacent to existing single family residences. Given the heavy concentration of commercial uses already present on Lawndale Drive and Battleground Avenue, and the location of this site at the edge of the larger Mixed Use Commercial area, new higher intensity commercial uses do not appear warranted. Rather residential development that provides transition between the solid commercial and established residential areas appears to be a better fit (emphasis mine).
The developer will almost certainly appeal this decision to the City Council, where it will be heard on Dec. 18.

Staff comments make a lot of sense to me. It's interesting that the developer is proposing a "mixed use" that isn't really mixed -- the drugstore is separated from the residential unit by a huge wall. It reminds me of the "mixed use" designation for the Shops and Friendly, which, as many have noted, is really a couple of strip malls set back-to-back with some condos proposed for a back corner of the site.

A paradox of the area along Lawndale is that there's already a lot of nearby residential property, and a lot of adjacent commercial services, but it's almost impossible for residents to walk to the commercial services. I once watched in terror as a mother with a baby in a stroller tried to cross Lawndale to get to Target. She made it, but just barely.

This developer's proposal seems to be inimical to the very idea behind mixed use development -- that is, an improved urban environment with better pedestrian amenities.


Anonymous said...

As a long time homeowner on that section of Lawndale Dr. I have mixed feelings about the rezoneing request and as a homeowner I have real money invested in the area.

Part of me would like to "Cash out" take the money and run and the other part of me wants things to stay the same as when I first moved into the area. Well it's not the same area as when I first moved in 20+ years ago, the traffic has doubled and is a mess, the hood has changed from owner occupied to rental and those trees everyone likes including me are at the end of their lives. The rental houses on Lawndale now serve as a buffer for the houses behind them.

I would suggest that the city buy up that area, strighten out the traffic mess and in the process provide a buffer for the resdential property behind the lawndale houses.

David Wharton said...

Thanks for providing the insight of someone in the neighborhood.

It would be nice if the city had enough money to do as you suggest! But I don't think it's there. And as I wrote in an earlier post, the transportation problem seems beyond solution.

If that block is really ready to "cash out," maybe rezoning to somewhat higher density residential, and a serious investment by the city in improving the pedestrian environment, would protect Kirkwood as well as the property interests of the current owners.

Anonymous said...

this is just a stall ,the developers will not rest if a profit is to be had from gutting a remnant of green and and non Mcdeveloped land