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In an emergency meeting, Summerfield clears path for development to stop state from turning land over to Guilford County

Town leaders cleared the path for the Villages of Summerfield Farms during an emergency meeting on Monday. The development includes apartments & retail space.

SUMMERFIELD, N.C. — Monday marks a new chapter in the lengthy debate over whether to build a huge development in the Town of Summerfield

The plan to build the Villages of Summerfield Farms has drawn strong reactions from folks living in the town. 

The state even got involved to push it forward, causing the town to be days away from losing nearly 1,000 acres of its land to Guilford County.  

Town leaders held an emergency meeting Monday to get state lawmakers to hold off on changing who controls the land. 

They were successful, but it came with a compromise.

Designs from the proposed plan paint the picture of a more advanced town of Summerfield.

It's caused a lot of people in this normally quiet rural community, like Jeff Johnson, to voice their concerns.

"I'm not happy about the apartments," Jeff said. "That’s a big pill to swallow in a town our size." 

Town Mayor Tim Sessoms said a lot is at stake. 

"Summerfield started with the stroke of a pen and Summerfield could end with the stroke of a pen," said Sessoms. 

Understanding the massive chunk of land the town could lose, Sessoms and the town council came up with a compromise to prevent state leaders from de-annexing nearly 1,000 acres of the community.  

Seesoms said if state leaders were to move forward it would be the largest de-annexation in state history. 

Please see today's attached statement ("De-annexation, Negotiations, and September 18 Meeting") from Mayor Sessoms.

Posted by Town of Summerfield, NC on Saturday, September 16, 2023

"When you have the general assembly with the threat of de-annexation and taking our town apart and literally bringing the city of Greensboro right to our border, we have to do something, we have to move," Sessoms said. 

The General Assembly got involved when the town council shot down local developer David Couch's plans to transform the plot of land off of Pleasant Garden Road into an apartment and retail space known as the 'Villages of Summerfield Farms.'  

North Carolina Senator Phil Berger stepped in to get the land removed from the town so the development could move forward.  

"I think our lawmakers in Raleigh need to get out of it. This is a local issue that needs to be dealt with locally," Johnson said. "While our lawmakers in Raleigh have the authority to do what they're doing, they shouldn't be doing it." 

In the end, the town council passed three resolutions at the emergency meeting to show it is willing to negotiate. In return, state lawmakers agreed to delay their vote another day.

"We are not against development. We want more people to come into this town and enjoy the things we enjoy," Johnson said. "We just want it to be done right and with the right infrastructure in place." 

On Sept. 28, the town council will meet to further discuss what needs to take place on the land to get work started on the development.  

State leaders will now vote Wednesday on the Summerfield bill.

If it passes, the bill will only need one more vote in the House to be final.

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