Letter to Zoning Commissioners from John F Merrell III


John F. Merrell, III: A Lifelong Greensboro Resident’s Expert Perspective on City Planning

As a proud resident of Greensboro, it’s important to recognize the invaluable insights of one of our own, John F. Merrell, III. Born and raised in Greensboro, and having chosen to retire here, John’s connection to our city runs deep. His remarkable career, spanning over 35 years as a City Planning Director in various cities across the United States, has endowed him with an exceptional understanding of urban development and community planning.

John’s extensive experience in city planning is not just a professional accomplishment but a treasure trove of knowledge that greatly benefits our community. His insights are particularly relevant now, as Greensboro faces critical decisions about its future growth and development.

In the context of the ongoing discussions about the proposed changes in our city, John has shared his expertise in a thought-provoking email to the Greensboro Planning and Zoning Commission. His correspondence sheds light on the significant choices that lie ahead for the Commission, offering a perspective honed by decades of experience in the field of urban planning.

📝 John’s Email: A Must-Read for Residents John’s email to the Commission is an illuminating read for anyone interested in the future of Greensboro. It provides a unique viewpoint, combining local understanding with national-level experience in city planning. In his message, John discusses the implications of the current rezoning proposals and how they align (or conflict) with the long-term goals for our city’s development.

🔍 Why This Matters to Us As residents of Greensboro, understanding the complexities of city planning and how it affects our daily lives is crucial. John’s insights help bridge the gap between professional urban planning and the concerns of local residents. His contribution is particularly valuable as we navigate the challenges and opportunities of growing and developing our city in a way that honors its history and prepares for a sustainable future.

🤝 Let’s Stay Informed and Engaged We encourage every member of our community to read John’s email (link below) and reflect on its contents. It’s vital that we remain informed and engaged, especially when it comes to decisions that will shape the future of Greensboro.

Let’s use this opportunity to learn from John’s extensive experience and apply these learnings as we collectively envision the path forward for our beloved city.

Greetings Chair O’Connor, Vice-Chair Magid, and Members of the Commission:

My name is John F. Merrell III and I’m a retired City Planning Director residing at 4508 Starmount Drive in Hamilton Lakes. Members of my family have lived here for over half a century and we have a strong historical, financial, and emotional attachment to the Friendly Avenue corridor and its adjacent single family neighborhoods.

I urge you to oppose the rezoning on Friendly Avenue by Mr. Glenn Drew. Here are my reasons:

  • This rezoning request probably is the most opposed request in Greensboro’s history. It is massively opposed by residents throughout our neighborhoods. The will and welfare of the people should take precedence over the financial plans of one person.
  • Your planning staff did a poor job of analyzing this request. It’s a textbook example of spot zoning. As a career city planning director, I would have handed the report back to the staff and resubmitted it to me with something vaguely resembling sound urban planning principles. 
  • To turn left residents would have to make u-turns at the Kemp Road light. This is poor transportation planning. Future accidents are given.
  • The planning staff failed to take into account inconsistencies in surrounding land use, setbacks, and densities.
  • The planning staff failed to consider tree preservation. The property has been turned into an unsightly scar.  And that begs the question as to development quality.
  • The conceptual site plan is, in a word, ugly. The configuration of buildings reminds me of my Army barracks at Fort Knox, KY. The project is poorly conceived and poorly designed. If buildings are allowed 35 feet in height it will dominate the streetscape along this entire stretch of Friendly Avenue.
  • The proposed rezoning is in fact not in compliance with the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
  • The proposed development does not meet an urgent housing need in Greensboro. If the apartments go for at least $3000 a month it’ll cost renters $72,000 for a two year rental
  • Please consider the PRECEDENT you’ll be setting if the request is approved. To be clear, I oppose anything other than detached single family homes on this property.

Thank you for your consideration and for your service.

John F. Merrell III
4508 Starmount Drive

Need help writing an Email?

Follow the sample email at this link to help write a letter to the Greensboro Planning And Zoning Commissioners. Their email are listed on this page https://preservefriendlyavenue.com/act-now/