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The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area - November 18, 2002
Friday, November 15, 2002
Realtors have own duty to community growth
The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area - by Jon Barsanti Contributing Writer
Realtors abide by a code of ethics. While most of us understand the importance of a code of ethics, the average reader may not realize that
the preamble to the Realtors' code requires more thought.
The preamble starts by referencing the fact that we must "wisely utilize and widely allocate" the land. Recently some new residential
developments have been proposed basing their density upon the size of the entire lot, even where a large share of it is undevelopable
because of wetland status. We must ensure that these densities are properly calculated and that the wetlands are preserved.
Next it states that we are to ensure the "highest and best use of the land." This is interesting because sometimes the highest use of the land
is not the best use of the land. There is a 20 percent vacancy rate in Class A office space. We need to encourage mixed-use development
on the Lee/Elm Street location that would have been ideal for the new ballpark, in order to have a northern and southern border of
development in downtown Greensboro.
We believe in creating "adequate housing." Adequate housing can mean rental, condominiums, town house, single- family home or
apartments. We need to encourage more live-work opportunities such as Southside in Greensboro and the Downtown Arts District in
In addition, we need more opportunities for owner-occupied duplexes. The Downtown Housing Forum in Greensboro will be beneficial to
point out the need for downtown housing and what affordable housing truly is.
In addition, there are those who must choose between home ownership and auto-dependency. We need to promote alternative modes of
transportation, such as light rail and regular bus service, and request for the ability to have Location Efficient Mortgages in Greensboro
and the surrounding areas. The airport area road study will have a huge impact on making the efficient locations a reality.
The code of ethics preamble also stresses that we should "build functioning cities." This means we need to encourage connected cities,
connected streets and cities built with the user in mind. The issue of connectivity has recently come to light at the Greensboro City Council
We need to focus on infill and regentrification rather our current trend toward sprawl. Current studies indicate that while our population
has doubled, our land consumption has tripled. "Traditional neighborhood design" and "transportation oriented developments" are going
to be the watchwords for the present generation and those that follow. These neighborhoods will be walking distances from schools, stores
This is important because we are now considering a sidewalk ordinance for Greensboro. We need sidewalks that connect our
neighborhoods, our neighbors and our businesses. The upcoming sidewalk ordinance meeting will illuminate this issue.
One part of having a functioning city will be to encourage or demand that housing be built around the new ballpark. Action Greensboro
had proposed that the Bellemeade District be a residential transition area into downtown. Together, we can create our own Wrigleyville.
This will most likely be discussed at the Center City District planning meeting this Saturday, Nov. 16.
Realtors are obligated to develop "productive industries and farms." This means that we have to figure out a way for farmers to make
money as farmers rather than as holders of properties for future subdivisions. The state of New Jersey has numerous programs designed
to protect valuable land resources.
Their "Green Acres" program has protected 390,000 acres of land over the past four decades. The N.J. Farmland Preservation Program
has ensured that 62,000 acres of farmland will be protected for future use. The N.J. Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan has
been instrumental in framing the goal of 1 million acres of preserved land.
In addition, Realtors are to "continuously strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate." The issues with which we
need to become familiar are center city development, downtown housing, PART, the scenic corridor, sidewalks, and zoning issues that
arise on a regular basis, to name a few. I have been vocal regarding the necessity of the Scenic Corridor Overlay District for Painter
We need to make sure that the county follows suit with the guidelines for the county part of the Urban Loop that are just as stringent, if
not more so, as those adopted by the City of Greensboro.
Where Realtors believe that comment is necessary, their opinion is offered in an objective, professional manner, uninfluenced by any
personal motivation or potential advantage or gain. Speak up. Write it down. Attend public meetings. Write letters to the editor. Be
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