Guilford College alumni join fight against rezoning

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Neighbors have been fighting development in a neighborhood near Guilford College for months, and now the school's alumni association has joined them.

Alumni Association President Katherine Helms-Cummings said the plan to build 164 apartments in three new buildings a stone's throw from the football field, would have negative consequences for the school.

"I just hope that this will be worked out so that the integrity of he college campuses maintained and so it's a safe neighborhood for people to live and to visit," Helms-Cummings said.

Potential developer Sterling Kelley said he plans to do just that. He operates Burkely Communities, the company that plans to buy the property from its owner Randall Dixon.

"We think it's a special piece of property, the same as Guilford College, the same as the neighbors," Kelley said. "We are totally committed to building a really high quality residential community."

With zoning as it currently stands, Dixon or Burkely could legally build 44 town home condominiums and sell them.

Burkely is seeking rezoning in order to change the potential buildings to rentable one and two-bedroom apartments.

"With this economy we're seeing much more one-bedroom residents, and this model makes more sense," Kelley said.

Three buildings of two and three bedroom student-only housing already occupies part of the land Kelley is targeting.

The college originally supported those student-only apartments, but Helms-Cummings said this may bring people ink the area who have no business with Guilford College.

"I think any time you've got an open area and there are lots of people around it, some folks are going to choose to wander where they shouldn't," Helms-Cummings said.

The Greensboro Planning and Zoning Committee approved the rezoning request in a 4-3.

By rule, since less than six members voted either way, the City Council will hold a public hearing at Tuesday's meeting.

If the zoning change becomes final, Kelley hopes construction will begin in 2014.