We had last written about David Couch’s plan to develop Summerfield with oodles of multifamily housing units when the town zoning board approved his plan. It was subsequently (and mercifully) killed by the Town Council.
But the developer is resourceful. He is now trying to get the North Carolina General Assembly to “de-annex” the land from Summerfield. A good report was published yesterday in the Triad Business Journal.
It turns out that Couch has secured the lobbying services of a former aide to Senator President Pro Tempore Phil Berger. The article explains:
Pat Ryan, a former aide to N.C State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger who now has a public relations firm in Raleigh, is representing Couch’s interests. Berger issued a statement over the weekend about the Villages of Summerfield Farms that at least in some ways seems to support Couch.
Sen. Berger, a Republican from Eden, represents parts of Guilford and Rockingham counties in the N.C. Senate.
“I don’t know if the plans submitted by a local developer should or should not be approved by the local board,” Sen. Berger said in a statement released Monday.
“What I do know is the Triad is attracting billions of dollars in new economic development, and as our area continues to grow, additional housing is urgently needed so the nurses, teachers, first responders and construction workers our area relies on can live in the communities they serve.”
Ryan would not confirm that his client is seeking the legislature’s help but said there is extensive precedent for deannexation.
The article goes on to suggest that we vitally need multifamily housing in Summerfield despite the fact that the Triad has numerous other cities, small towns and rural areas where development could take place. Indeed, much infill development has been taking place in Greensboro, and this is exporting East Greensboro’s crime to other parts of the city.
Of course, the article introduces a racial angle by suggesting that the price of housing in Summerfield currently excludes African Americans. We therefore need to build lots of multifamily there, according to the logic employed, to make it more affordable for that particular group. Why not build more multifamily in east Greensboro to bring housing prices down?
And of course, those who already reside in Summerfield– and who invested in that community because it offered what they wanted– are left out in the cold. Those who have been there for generations are also disregarded.
It would be quite an indictment if the Republicans in Raleigh advance this de-annexation. Mr. Couch has adopted the posture of a scoundrel in the eyes of Summerfield residents; and while the GOP might naturally favor developers because of the campaign contributions they tend to throw around, facilitating his plans would be a downright shame. It would begin the process of ruining a very nice area. And it would be the Republicans’ fault.