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Guilford County Prison Farm rezoning fight continues

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GREENSBORO, NC -- The Guilford County Planning Board will meet Wednesday to decide whether to rezone the 760 acres near Gibsonville currently referred to as the prison farm.

The land is currently zoned as a public institution. The rezoning request filed by County Manager Brenda Jones Fox seeks to change that designation so that a corporate park can be built.

Dan Lynch, President of the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance, supports the decision, and says rezoning is the first step in getting a business to move in and eventually bring jobs and expand the tax-base.

"That's why we lost [a previous] project, because of the rezoning process. New companies that are interested in the area do not want to come in and the get in the middle of a contentious rezoning," Lynch said.

Commissioner Billy Yow wants to stick to the county commissioners' original plan. A resolution agreed to on September 11th stated Guilford County would wait 90 days for a firm commitment from a company that would bring at least 400 jobs and expand the tax base by at least $85 million.

No such firm commitment has been obtained, according to both Lynch and Yow. County Manager Brenda Jones Fox filed a rezoning request for the property on September 12th.

Yow made a motion to withdraw the request at the county commissioners' meeting on October 4, citing his concerns about the order of the process. The motion failed by a 6-5 vote.

"[Lynch is] hung up on this one piece of property. Him, the chairman, the manager, they're not going to rest until this piece of property is gone," Commissioner Yow said.

The failure of the motion leads to Wednesday night's planning meeting, during which the Guilford County Planning Board will decide if the land will be rezoned.

Yow said the decision will be appealed if the board decides on rezoning.