Downtown divergence

by YES! Staff

We broke an important story in last week’s Dirt section of YES!

Weekly after reporter Eric Ginsburg made a public-records request for all e-mails to Greensboro city officials pertaining to the city noise ordinance and complaints dating back to late 2011.

The result was more than 1,700 pages of e-mail correspondence, much of it emanating from developer Roy Carroll to police Chief Ken Miller, Councilman Zack Matheny, Mayor Robbie Perkins and various city staffers.

“I would like for officers to be stationed in front of [Greene Street Club] and monitor the noise for the next few Sunday nights,” he wrote to Assistant City Manager Michael Speedling in November. “If the police department does not have noise monitors, I will be glad to donate monitors to the department so they can enforce the ordinance.”

This is a strange demand to be coming from a man who holds no elected office, does not have a position within city government and does not — or should not — have greater rights or opportunities for recourse than any other citizen.

Nobody voted for Roy Carroll. Yet he seems to have an inordinate amount of influence over city business, especially as it concerns his luxury condominium high-rise, Center Pointe, in the heart of downtown Greensboro.

In Greensboro, people are outraged. But down the road in Winston-Salem, they smell opportunity.

Hank Perkins, like Carroll a downtown developer and resident, differs from his counterpart because he is actively working towards a lively downtown scene in Winston-Salem. The city is pitching a dedicated entertainment district in Perkins’ neighborhood, a “noise enhanced area” that not only accepts the reality that a good downtown is the loudest place in the city, but actually embraces it.

The city council is on board, confident that plenty of people will want to live in an entertainment district regardless of the noise — maybe even because of it. They’re going after young people, and it’s a safe bet that, given a choice between the two cities, the young professional with a penchant for partying would choose to go west, especially if the trend of Carroll-appeasement in Greensboro bears fruit.

In one e-mailed complaint, Carroll bemoaned the lack of police response after calling them about noise from Greene Street Club.

“They said, ‘If you move downtown you should expect club noise,’” he wrote. “This is not acceptable. Please call me as soon as possible.”

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