Regarding the May 22 news story, “Zoning officials deny zoning change for ‘Hoarders’ mansion”:
Up front I will admit that I am not a current resident of Greensboro. But I have been a Guilford County resident for 41 years. Also, I’m sure someone will say I don’t have a dog in this fight, and that may be. Still, I love and enjoy the considerable time I spend in Greensboro.
When I first came to this city, it was in the spring. Right away I discovered Fisher Park and its beautiful azaleas, dogwoods and flowering spring annuals. Wow! I was immediately taken as well by the magnificent older homes there and immediately felt the rich history of my newly adopted county seat.
Now, I am concerned about the future of the once-magnificent former house of Julian Price, one of Greensboro’s most noteworthy citizens. The house had fallen into desperate condition, but found new owners who love it. Now the city is not inclined to allow these good folks to make it available for short-term rentals, which would help to offset some of the significant costs of maintaining it. As I understand it, those rentals might be for bed and breakfast or Airbnb.
The Greensboro Zoning Commission’s denial of this request reflects an attitude that upsets me. I have been a real estate professional for more than 40 years, and I know what it takes to keep up a large, older property. It’s easy for many to say, “These folks should have known what they were getting into before they started” or “They should have gotten this zoning ‘right’ before they bought it.”
But I say enough! I think most of us want to live in a beautiful neighborhood and many of us like the idea of owning or living near a historically significant property.
I find this house’s history particularly fascinating. From it, you can look up and still see the building that Mr. Price built for the business that still occupies it. Yes, the business has merged, evolved and sold over the years, but what started there is still going on there.
And while, yes, maybe these new owners should have done a bit more “zoning homework” before starting this project, we need to show some respect for their considerable labor — and vision — that again allowed the beauty of this once-wonderful home to shine through.
Further, we do not need to be turning young people off from this kind of hard work that benefits the whole city. Most traditional families are not choosing to live on a scale such as this anymore. The cost of utilities and for the upkeep of the electrical wiring, plumbing, heating and air conditioning and roofing is staggering for most of these houses.
I do not know and have never met Michael and Eric Fuko-Rizzo, who now own the historic Price house. But if it were not for these men that property would likely have already fallen to the wrecking ball and more of our history would be lost. If we want the beauty of these older homes in our lives and in our community, we must be willing to make reasonable concessions.
I, for one, would much rather have a beautiful and successful bed and breakfast next door than a divided rooming house that we have seen too many times before or the dilapidated eyesore we have been witness to for years.
Today, most who can afford it build new houses. They build them in the outlying suburbs, with open, modern floor plans and modern systems.
The older and much larger homes are just not practical for most families today.
So I say give these guys a break and let that house and its proud history shine.