SUMMERFIELD, N.C. (WGHP) — The future of Summerfield came down to a 3-2 vote.
During a Thursday night public hearing, the town council approved a change to its current zoning designation ordinance.
The change would scale down the minimum number of acres developers needed to build a project, which would allow developer David Couch, who proposed building apartments and retail stores, to build the project on his nearly 1,000-acre property.
During the meeting, more than two dozen Summerfield residents spoke against the change to the amendment that would reduce the minimum size of any future development that’s proposed to 450 acres.
Some people from Summerfield accused the town council of going against what the majority of residents have resisted for months.
After the meeting, Mayor Tim Sessoms said pressure from Sen. Phil Berger who pushed legislation to de-annex Couch’s property in the General Assembly, influenced the town council vote.
“We have said no and said no and we’ve tried to protect our town and keep it where it is and you know, now with the pressure from the General Assembly and the other forces that are lining up behind this to come after Summerfield, it’s time we’re going to have to make some changes. Some hard changes, and we appreciate our citizens being understanding of what we have to do,” Sessoms said.
Meanwhile, Couch’s attorney Tom Terrell says the town is in good hands.
“If this project does go through as proposed by the internationally known planning firm Dover Coal, it will be a project that this town is immensely proud of,” Terrell said.
It’s unclear whether the vote will keep the General Assembly out of the town’s business.
Senator Berger has said in the past he won’t move the de-annexation bill forward if Couch and the town make progress in their negotiations.
According to Mayor Sessoms, the original amount of acres developers needed to propose a project was 750. He says the Summerfield Town Council changed that to make it more fair for other future developers.