Local lawmakers can’t always consider homeowners biggest concerns in rezoning decisions

On Your Side

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — We’ve shared with you the stories of homeowners from across the Piedmont Triad expressing frustration about rezoning proposals.

Here’s a quick summary of the process: zoning regulations govern how land can be used and developed. Rezoning can happen when a property owner submits an application to the local governing body asking for those regulations to be changed.

The application goes to the rezoning board. Public hearings must be held. The board makes a recommendation to the city council or board of commissions then those elected officials make the final decision.

Greensboro City Councilman Justin Outling has voted both for and against rezoning properties. He says it’s not always as clear-cut as it may appear.

“The key question is, what is the highest and best use for the property that’s the subject of the application? Does it further the city’s goals? does it fit in with the existing nature and character of a particular area?” Outling explained to FOX8.

Sometimes, people protest rezoning proposals because they don’t want affordable housing developments near their neighborhood or they’re concerned about traffic or water issues.

Outling says, “Some of the things that are often the subject of discussion are matters that the city can’t legally consider, or they’re considered in a different stage of the process.”

The rezoning application could be approved, but the development may not meet the requirements in the next step.

“Sometimes people raise issues about water. What effect is this going to have on where water goes and the volume of water runoff? The city has processes to address that and requirements that have to be met for any approved application and so if for example an application is approved and they can’t meet those requirements that development would not proceed but that comes after their application to rezone is approved or denied,” Outling says.

You can learn about many of the changes coming to a community by looking at a city or county’s master plan.

The Department of Transportation also publishes its plans for future roadways. Realtor Karin Head says that’s an important part of the work you should do before buying a home.

Head said, “You need to do your due diligence as a buyer and pull together as many pieces as possible. Head cautions that master plans can change. If there’s open land near a home you’re considering, be aware.

Head said, “Anything can happen behind that house. They can sell it. They can rezone.”

Head put together a list of the master plans for the cities and counties in our area.

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