Friendly Ave. Rezoning Opposition Has a Plan

I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of a community group at Westminster Presbyterian Church this afternoon. This group is called Preserve Friendly Avenue; and has formed to oppose the rezoning of a large piece of property on West Friendly Ave. about which I had reported here previously.

The developer is Glenn Drew– the fellow who used to run the American Hebrew Academy that is now being turned into a federal illegal immigrant facility. This gentleman’s uncle is apparently the wealthy Greensboro man– Maurice Sabbah– who defrauded his customers and plowed their monies into the building of the Jewish school. And if I understood correctly the information presented at the meeting, Mr. Drew inherited his uncle’s property on Friendly Avenue and is now developing it.

Mr. Drew was represented to be a new developer. He wants to change the zoning so that up to 8 residential units per acre are permitted. He is proposing to build 13 two-story duplex units. The current zoning only allows 3 units per acre.

The existing homes on Friendly Ave. are at least 100 feet from the road. This is referred to as a “setback”. He is proposing only a 35 foot setback for these new duplexes. And they will be located only 12 feet from the property line beside or behind the property.

The group opposing him is appealing to the singular character of Friendly Avenue with its mixture of unique, older single homes; its canopy of trees; and its setback. They have a petition drive underway. The petition is found at their website– i.e.

The organizers represented that over 300 community members attended the last zoning commission meeting on this matter a couple of weeks ago. That was represented to be a record turnout for a zoning commission meeting in the city of Greensboro. Drew’s attorney requested a delay when so many people showed up in opposition.

The group announced they are seeking a “Conservation Overlay Plan” designation from the city of Greensboro for this portion of Friendly Avenue. This is a type of designation that requires that all development within the designated zone meet certain requirements. Such a plan would prevent future proposals of this type; and was described as a stronger level of protection than mere zoning categories.

The group was well organized; had researched thoroughly its task; and presented the issue well. They have raised enough money to hire and pay an attorney– Marsh Prouse– to represent them even if the matter goes to court.

The meeting today was well attended. I estimate approximately 300 concerned area residents were present.

It should be interesting to see how this develops. The group has a point– Friendly Avenue in this vicinity has a unique character they are trying to preserve.


2 thoughts on “Friendly Ave. Rezoning Opposition Has a Plan

  1. Fred, I think a couple of the attendees illustrated the difficulty they might face. The city of Greensboro is pushing for increased density and “infill” to get more tax revenues and as a matter of policy to change the city.

    The city is also pushing “affordable housing” throughout the city. This Mr. Drew is not proposing “affordable housing” because he is hoping to rent his dwellings for $3,000 per month.

    Some of the attendees were a bit mad, but overall the tone was civil. This is an upper middle class crowd– that tended to skew upper middle age to elderly. They don’t want to see what they have in terms of neighborhood get ruined. And I think most understand at some level that Friendly is a fairly picturesque city street as it courses through our side of town.

Comments are closed.