Harper Road rezoning request withdrawn

Published 12:08 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Following a vote of denial by the City-County Planning Board earlier in March, the case involving the zoning petition of New Hope Presbyterian Church on Harper Road from RS-40 (residential) to LB-L (limited business) has officially been requested for withdrawal.
The special-use limited rezoning request asked for by the petitioner (the current owner, New Hope Presbyterian Church) involved a proposed move by Clemmons Gymnastics to the site of the church.
Chris Murphy, who is director of the Planning & Development Services Department, said that notification was received on Monday as a formal request to withdraw Zoning Case F-1626 (2570 Harper Road).
After the March 9 meeting, where the Planning Board unanimously agreed with the staff’s earlier recommendation of denial, the next step was for the case to go before the elected body — the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners — for the ultimate say, but a date had not been set for the matter to come before them.
“As this had yet to be calendared for the county, no county action will be required, and the case is considered withdrawn,” stated Murphy, who said he was unsure about the contractual arrangement between the attorney, the applicant and the property owner.
Attorney La-Deidre Matthews, an attorney for Fox Rothschild out of Charlotte who spoke during the public hearing, made the request for withdrawal, but there was no further comment. Efforts to reach Nicole Leftwich, the co-owner and chief operating officer for Clemmons Gymnastics, were also unsuccessful.
At the public hearing, those speaking in opposition to the project included Allison Tomberlin, an attorney representing Clemmons-based Agape Faith Church who revealed that New Hope had accepted a backup offer from Agape to purchase the property if the rezoning didn’t go through.
When reached for comment on Monday, Tomberlin said, “On behalf of my client, they have found out that the petition has been withdrawn and are still hopeful that they will be able to purchase the building.”
John Lindsay, senior pastor at New Hope Presbyterian Church, said on Monday, “We have no comment.” That followed his response after the public hearing of having “no comment on any of the rezoning issues nor about offers.”
New Hope purchased the property in 2004 listed at 6.21 acres on Harper Road and established a two-story church with about 18,000 square feet of space.
Lindsay had stated in February that the church was not going to close and planned to move worship services to the Broyhill Center at the meeting room there while securing office space, contingent on the building selling.
Clemmons Gymnastics, which has been in business for more than 30 years, has been looking for more space to operate but needed to seek rezoning as a commercial enterprise in a residential area — and was met with strong opposition by the Harper Road Neighbors.
Obviously, there is more to come with the final resolution for this property and all those involved.
But, there were these perhaps prophetic words spoken at the public hearing regarding the offers in play before the final vote by Planning Board member Jack Steelman, who is a N.C. licensed commercial real estate broker: “You’re in a great situation if you have an offer that’s approvable and a backup offer. Please trust me when I say neither one may happen. There’s nothing here to count on except for what we’re responsible for responding to this evening.”