GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Greensboro City Council has approved new zoning laws for stretches of High Point Road and West Lee Street, but they aren’t as restrictive as they sound on paper.
The changes were made to coincide with the Central Gateway Corridor plan which will rename the stretch Gate Way Boulevard in the summer of 2015. The road will stretch from Eugene Street to Interstate 40.
Most of the zone will be classified as Auto Oriented. The name implies that only car dealership and auto body repair shops will be eligible, but that’s not the case.
“’Auto Oriented’ is a little deceiving because people automatically think it just means cars,” said Greensboro Zoning Administrator Mike Kirkman. “We acknowledge the fact that there are a lot of cars generated in this area because of those large regional attractions so the development is going to be a little different but the zoning is much more flexible.”
The Greensboro Coliseum Complex and the Four Seasons Town Center are included in the Auto Oriented zone.
Another stretch on what is now W. Lee Street is referred to as University Mixed Use. Kirkman said that will make it easier for businesses to sell their property and develop new opportunities that target students and university staff.
“There's going to be a little more (of an) urban feel to it,” said Kirkman. “It's going to connect the corridor and university and downtown, too.”
Finally, a small stretch of the corridor is now zoned as Neighborhood Support. Kirkman said that will still allow some businesses to move in, but in a limited capacity.
As part of the plan, some streets will also be widened to accommodate more walkers and cyclists.
Kirkman called the old zoning structure a “hodgepodge” of several ordinances that caused problems for new businesses and old ones that wanted to sell.
Even with the new zones and the plan for the name change already approved, some are still unsure what it will mean for their neighborhood and are disappointed by the renaming of Lee and High Point.
“I don't see a good reason for it,” said Ralph Havis, owner of Beef Burger on West Lee Street. “If I saw a good reason for it, if it’s something that’s going to make everyone successful, then I'd be all for it.”