by Sam Hieb
..In the words of Guilford County Commissioner Billy Yow, as only he can put it. For starters, I read the N&R blurb that the Planning Board had rejected a proposal to rezone the county’s prison farm for industrial development. Interesting coverage, considering the fact that the local paper of record was all over the story when it appeared there was a developer interested in the land. Perhaps there will be a follow-up story.
As it stands, the Rhino has the behind-the scenes story, and –as is the case with much involving Guilford County government —it’s not pretty. Basically the question revolves around who has the authority to request rezoning of county-owned land. The Rhino says county commissioners have that authority but —imagine this — County Manager Brenda Jones Fox took it upon herself to request the rezoning.
At a meeting earlier this month, Yow made a motion to stop the rezoning request, which failed by 6-5 vote. Despite the commissioners’ vote, the rezoning still had to go before the planning board, which rejected it yesterday by a 6-2 vote.
But —as Yow maintians– the bigger issue here really isn’t who has the authority to request a rezoning; it’s requesting the rezoning with no plan in place:
Yow also said that, while he and probably every other commissioner on the board wanted to see the Prison Farm land developed at some point, this was a ludicrous way to go about it.
“We don’t even have a plan,” Yow said. “There’s no water.”
“This is ass-backwards” Yow said.
Little doubt one of the six votes on the county commission will appeal the planning board’s decision.