A note to Realtors and prospective College Hill home buyers about buying property in Greensboro’s historic districts

306 S. Mendenhall St.

306 South Mendenhall Street

Welcome to College Hill! Thanks for your interest in our neighborhood. Our neighborhood association of residents and property owners is committed to improving the quality of life and historic character of the neighborhood. If we can answer any questions about the neighborhood or the historic district, please let us know.

f Historic District Manual and Design GuidelinesEven though College Hill has been a historic district for more than 35 years, the Greensboro Historic Preservation Commission and the city Planning Department still occasionally hear from newcomers who say they have no idea that property ownership in historic districts carries responsibilities not found in other neighborhoods. Please understand that:

  • Homes in College Hill and the city’s two other historic districts are under all the same regulations as homes in the rest of the city. For example, no more than four unrelated individuals can occupy a single residential unit, and parking is prohibited in front yards.
  • In addition, exterior renovations must comply with the city’s Historic District Manual and Design Guidelines. Before work can begin, most projects require a certificate of appropriateness approved by the city historic preservation staff (for small-scale and routine projects) or the Historic Preservation Commission, which meets monthly.
  • To maintain the historic character of College Hill and Greensboro’s two other historic districts, the guidelines rule out some relatively modern exterior renovations that are taken for granted in other neighborhoods. For example, the replacement of wood siding or exterior doors with aluminum or vinyl is considered inappropriate for homes in the historic districts. Also, the division of single-family houses into apartments is not allowed.
  • Projects requiring prior approval include placement of satellite dishes, replacement of windows, adding or expanding parking areas and walkways, and cutting down trees that are at least 4 inches in diameter at breast height.
  • Projects that do not require approval include interior renovations, exterior paint colors, and repairs in which there is no change in materials or design.

The historic designation of College Hill in 1980 has increased property values greatly. The neighborhood has improved dramatically in every way thanks to the commitment of property owners and the city to maintain College Hill’s historic character. We look forward to new neighbors joining us.

Posted in College Hill Neighborhood Association, Historic Preservation, Real Estate | Tagged , | 2 Comments

College Hill news of the week in photos: Tate Street gets digital message board; sewer work getting under way on Springdale?

UNCG digital message board on Tate Street

The chain link fence is still up for some reason.

UNCG lights up its digital sign

The university has spent weeks building a large brick structure with two digital screens in front of Taylor Theatre on Tate Street. It was turned on yesterday, and like a similar sign at Market and McIver streets, it will promote university events and distinctions.

Sprindale Court closed to traffic on Tuesday

A city crew blocks of Springdale Court on Tuesday to dig a hole.

City truck with a line of some sort extending down into a manhole

On Wednesday, the work appeared to move under the street.

Is the sewer rehabilitation finally beginning?

On Tuesday, city workers dug a big hole on Springdale Court. Today, the work appeared to continue via a manhole. Perhaps the big sewer rehabilitation project announced in December (“work will begin in approximately 48 hours”) is getting under way. Or, of course, it could be something else entirely. There was no one around to answer questions. It seemed inappropriate to yell down and ask. Working in a sewer line, sanitary or otherwise, is probably tough enough without some random guy hollering, “Hey, what’re you doing down there?”

Posted in City Government, Springdale Court, Tate Street, UNCG | 1 Comment

126 South Mendenhall sells for a very good price, and quickly; Neighborhood Watch: Much happening again at The Province

house seen from the street

126 South Mendenhall Street: The asking price was $399,900.

Happy news for College Hill homeowners: 126 South Mendenhall sold recently for $385,000. The offer was received after the house had been on the market for about a month. The price represents a modest 4% increase in value over the six years since it was last sold, but to sell a house in Greensboro in essentially a month you really have to have something special. …

A Democratic Party precinct meeting for our precinct (G44) will be held Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., at the home of Denise Ross and Wayne Plummer, 800 Walker Avenue (between South Mendenhall and Fulton streets). … Speaking of Walker Avenue, 801 Walker really stands out now after a thorough exterior renovation that included extensive stucco repair, a new paint color and a very nice metal roof. …

Traffic safety reminder: When you’re driving on Mendenhall or Tate, never run a yellow light at Market or Friendly. No, really … never. There was a wreck at Mendenhall and Friendly one morning last week that blocked both of those streets for a time, most likely because a driver ran a yellow (or red) light. When I worked in an office at Tate and Market, I saw accidents there over and over. Take a chance at those intersections and you’re really asking for it. …

Neighborhood Watch

February was pretty quiet in College Hill, except for The Province. The month’s non-Province highlight was three drug arrests at Winburn Court (two on February 6, one on the 17th). Charges included possession with intent to distribute. There also were two auto break-ins, one in the parking lot of 811 Walker Avenue and one at McGee and Fulton streets.

At the Province, reported crimes included two reports of gunshots fired, one of shooting into an occupied dwelling and two cases of items stolen from cars. There also was a robbery at Spring Garden and Jackson streets, which was either at The Province or right across the street. There were no violent crimes reported elsewhere in the neighborhood in February.

In the past six months, there have been four violent crimes at The Province and two more within a block. There have been three in the rest of the neighborhood.

Posted in Fulton Street, Market Street, Mendenhall Street, Public Safety, Tate Street, The Province, Walker Avenue | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Major College Hill traffic project takes its first step

Traffic at Tate and Carr streetsCollege Hill has far more residents than were ever imagined when the neighborhood was laid out in the late 1800s. As a result, our pedestrian-centric neighborhood has too many cars running through overcrowded streets and off-kilter intersections, often recklessly and too fast.

A major neighborhood initiative to slow traffic and make our streets safer and more attractive took its first step Tuesday when the city issued an RFP to develop permanent improvements to streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, bicycle lanes, etc. After this planning/design phase, improvements will be selected jointly by the neighborhood association and city. Then they’ll be engineered and implemented.

The cost of planning, design and implementation will be covered by money from the College Hill Municipal Service Fund. The project has been initiated by the neighborhood as the result of needs identified by residents in the 2015 neighborhood plan. That plan was developed by the neighborhood and city Planning Department.

“Over the years, the College Hill Historic District and surrounding properties have experienced an increase in the number of residential housing units while a number of neighborhood streets have been closed, disconnected, or re-routed. These events have coincided with perceived increases in traffic volumes and speeds on certain streets and pedestrian safety concerns throughout the neighborhood. The College Hill Neighborhood Association (CHNA) desires to address these issues proactively through a series of design studies, short-term tactical upgrades to test possible solutions, and long-term physical upgrades to streets, intersections, signage and markings. The intent of this work is to test strategies that will slow traffic, provide safer vehicular and pedestrian movements, and begin the process of creating permanent improvements to the street environment that better identify and enhance the historic character of the College Hill Neighborhood.”

— from the RFP’s Introduction

The timeline calls for a firm to be selected by May 31 and for planning and design work to be complete by the end of November.

Anyone interested in the entire 13 pages of dense and largely boilerplate city government prose should click here.

Or, here’s a brief summary of the work:

Continue reading

Posted in City Government, College Hill Neighborhood Association, Municipal Service District, Parking, Public Safety, Traffic | Tagged | Leave a comment

March 2017 Calendar of Events

March calendar of eventsRecurring on Tuesdays

  • In*Spire Meditation group
    Tuesdays, noon, Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 South Mendenhall Street, in the Sanctuary. The meditation period is less than an hour and is open to the public.
  • Noon at the ‘Spoon
    Second Tuesday each month, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Spring Garden Street at Tate Street, a 20-minute exploration of a new exhibition.

UNCG event calendars

March

  • Friday March 3
    Recycling and bulk trash will be collected along with the weekly garbage and yard waste pickup.
  • Sunday March 12
    2 a.m. — Daylight Savings Time begins. Move clocks ahead one hour.
  • Monday March 13 through Friday March 17
    UNCG Spring Break
  • Friday March 17
    Recycling and bulk trash will be collected along with the weekly garbage and yard waste pickup.
  • Monday March 20
    First day of Spring
  • Monday March 27
    7 p.m. — College Hill Neighborhood Association board meeting.
  • Friday March 31
    Recycling and bulk trash will be collected along with the weekly garbage and yard waste pickup.
Posted in College Hill Neighborhood Association, UNCG, UNCG College of Visual and Performing Arts, Weatherspoon Art Museum | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Update: Rhiannon Giddens, who sang at church years ago

Cover of Rhiannon Giddens's album, "Freedom Highway"I kept running into Rhiannon Giddens on the internet yesterday, and it made me think about the days when she lived in Greensboro. I don’t know whether she ever lived in College Hill; perhaps she was like EmmyLou Harris, just dropping in to the neighborhood to sing a bit now and then before going on to her brilliant future.

Around 2004 Rhiannon was a regular participant in what was then the 9:20 service at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. She offered thoughtful comments during the group discussions, and she sang once, maybe more than once. Her voice was a revelation for everyone, I think; her singing provided a “what’s-she-doing-here” moment. And, sure enough, soon she moved away from Greensboro. The next we heard of her, she and the Carolina Chocolate Drops were getting famous and, in 2011, winning a Grammy.

A week-old email I opened yesterday from the Carolina Theatre listed her June 8 concert there among its coming attractions. And while looking for something else online, I happened to see that the All Music Guide was featuring a glowing review of her new album, “Freedom Highway,” one of many excellent reviews it has received (“A timely, arresting album,” The Guardian).

Moving on to The New York Times website, I expected little more than the day’s awful news out of Washington, but there she was again, in a prominently displayed piece headlined, “Rhiannon Giddens Celebrates ‘Freedom Highway’ in the Big House.”

“OSSINING, N.Y. — The music industry usually rolls out new albums with in-store performances at record shops, high-profile media appearances or buzzworthy kickoff concerts. But when Nonesuch Records released ‘Freedom Highway,’ the new album by the folk singer Rhiannon Giddens, on Feb. 24, the occasion was marked by Ms. Giddens and her backing band’s spending a day in a far more sobering environment: the Sing Sing Correctional Facility. …

“The trip up the river, however, turned out not to be as far afield as it might first appear. Ms. Giddens’s visit — which included leading an afternoon workshop with inmates and performing an evening concert for them — was organized through Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program, which sponsors educational outreach at Sing Sing, helping participating inmates learn to play instruments and compose. In a conversation on the way back from the prison, Ms. Giddens called the day’s setting ‘perfect for what this album is about and the sort of social consciousness and activism that surrounds this record.’”

Wouldn’t Johnny Cash have just loved her?

Posted in Presbyterian Church of the Covenant | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The People’s Perk has a deadline on Kickstarter this Thursday for a mural to honor ‘Wonderful Women and Fabulous Femmes’

Karen and a wall with many small drawings of women

Co-owner Karen Archia at The People’s Perk

Our good neighbors at The People’s Perk have set a deadline of Thursday morning to reach their goal of raising $1,600 to create a mural titled, “Wonderful Women and Fabulous Femmes.” They’re about halfway to their goal as of midday today.

From their Kickstarter page:

“Too often, important people — particularly women, trans women, and women/trans women of color — who’ve fought for social justice, equality and unity, are forgotten in mainstream historical accounts.

“In celebration of Women’s History Month, The People’s Perk, a locally-owned, neighborhood coffee/retail shop in Greensboro, NC, which encourages creative expression in all people, is partnering with the Greensboro Mural Project (GSO Mural Project), a Greensboro-based grassroots, arts-centered  organization, to create a special mural entitled ‘Wonderful Women and Fabulous Femmes.'”

The mural will be painted on a wall in the shop that has been used for exhibits from local artists.

Click here to contribute and see more about the project.

Click here to see the list of 12 finalists to be included in the mural.

Posted in Businesses, Mendenhall Street | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tate Street restaurants’ health ratings: Straight A’s … almost

Sidewalk view of Tate Street Coffee

Cleanest restaurant on the street: Tate Street Coffee House (Photo by Preservation Greensboro)

As anyone with even a hint of germophobia knows, the Guilford County Health Department inspects restaurants and grades them on compliance with sanitation and food-handling requirements. Grade certificates must be conspicuously posted. They carry a letter grade along with a specific numeric score (90 to 100 gets an A).

Be aware that an A grade isn’t a guarantee of top-flight cleanliness. The system is set up so almost every place that isn’t absolutely revolting gets an A. Restaurants can have quite a few violations and still scrape by with low A’s. I once heard a presentation by a county health official who recommended never eating at a place with a score below 93.

Inspections occur up to four times a year. The laggards are supposed to get more visits than the top scorers, though that pattern doesn’t hold up across the board. Tate Street’s cleanest restaurant has been inspected four times in 14 months; one at the low end of the A range, only twice.

The best and the worst

  • The best: At the top of the ratings, Tate Street Coffee’s inspections over the past year have been consistently excellent, ranging from 97 to 98. Sam’s Oven and Grill doesn’t have a rating posted online yet, but the numbers at its other location are exemplary. Among the Spring Garden Street restaurants, Jack’s Corner and Yum Yum rate consistently excellent.
  • The worst: The only Tate Street restaurant that didn’t receive straight A’s was East Coast Wings, which pulled a B last November. And it wasn’t especially close: 86.5. A follow-up inspection two weeks later brought it up to an A at 93.5, the best it managed to score all year.
  • Not that good: Others came close to losing their A ratings. China Wok went as low as 91.5; Slices had a 92. Don couldn’t do better than 93.5.
  • A pattern of lower scores: Before 2016, China Wok, Don, East Coast Wings and Slices consistently had much higher scores, all from the same inspector (the database identifies by number the inspector who conducted each visit). Then their scores all fell sharply when a new inspector took over. The same pattern appears in inspections of other restaurants, but the drop-offs weren’t as extreme. Apparently, old Inspector No. 2101, for whatever reason, wasn’t nearly as tough as new Inspector No. 1322.

Restaurant health ratings since January 2016

Below are all the ratings from inspections since January 2016 for restaurants on Tate Street and several nearby places (click here for the entire Guilford County database).

Boba House
1/20/2017, 94, A
9/7/2016, 96.50, A
4/25/2016, 96, A

China Wok
10/31/2016, 93, A
8/31/2016, 94.50, A
6/7/2016, 92.50, A
2/18/2016, 91.50, A

Chipotle
10/27/2016, 95.50, A
4/26/2016, 94, A

Coffeeology
1/12/2017, 96.50, A
7/28/2016, 94.50, A
4/26/2016, 95.50, A
1/6/2016, 94.50, A

Don
7/19/2016, 93.50, A
3/2/2016, 92.50, A

East Coast Wings & Grill
11/16/2016, 93.50, A
11/1/2016, 86.50, B
6/30/2016, 92.50, A
1/6/2016, 91, A

Insomnia Cookies
New: No inspection listed online yet

Jimmy John’s
9/28/2016, 97.50, A
4/11/2016, 96, A

Manhattan Subs & Pizza
2/17/2017, 93, A
7/21/2016, 96.50, A
1/19/2016, 92.50, A

New York Pizza
1/23/2017, 95.50, A
10/7/2016, 97, A
6/29/2016, 96, A
1/21/2016, 95, A

Pedros Taco Shop (it’s listed in the database without an apostrophe)
11/28/2016, 95, A
9/21/2016, 97, A

Sam’s Oven and Grill
New: No inspection listed online yet for Tate Street
Groometown Road location:
1/9/2017, 99.50, A
7/25/2016, 97, A
3/14/2016, 99.50, A

Slices Pizza Co. by Tony
1/23/2017, 96.50, A
9/1/2016, 92, A
4/20/2016, 94, A

Smoothie King
1/20/2017, 96.50, A
8/8/2016, 97.50, A

Sushi Republic
11/29/2016, 94.50, A
8/1/2016, 94, A
3/18/2016, 94.50, A

Tate Street Coffee House
1/6/2017, 97, A
10/3/2016, 98, A
5/16/2016, 97, A
2/10/2016, 97.50, A

Nearby: Spring Garden, Mendenhall, etc.

Bandito Burrito (food truck that visits Mendenhall Street weekly)
11/4/2016, 96, A
4/28/2016, 96.50, A

Carolina Foundry (Four Flocks and Larder, Revolution Burger, The Baker & The Bean)
2/8/2017, 96, A
9/27/2016, 97.50, A
5/27/2016, 97.50, A

Domino’s Pizza (Chapman Street)
8/26/2016, 95.50, A
2/17/2016, 97, A

Double Oaks Bed and Breakfast (North Mendenhall Street)
New: No inspection listed online yet

First Carolina Deli (Spring Garden Street)
1/10/2017, 97, A
7/6/2016, 98, A
1/28/2016, 96.50, A

Jack’s Corner (Spring Garden Street)
1/24/2017, 98, A
7/18/2016, 98, A

Old Town Draught House (Spring Garden Street)
9/28/2016, 98.50, A
9/9/2015, 96.50, A
3/4/2015, 98, A

Primo’s Pizza, Subs and Wings (Spring Garden Street)
1/10/2017, 94.50, A
10/20/2016, 97, A

Thai Garden Express (Aycock Street)
8/10/2016, 96, A
6/1/2016, 97.50, A
2/10/2016, 97, A

Yum Yum (Spring Garden Street)
10/20/2016, 99, A
2/25/2016, 99, A

Posted in Businesses, Mendenhall Street, Spring Garden Street, Tate Street | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Rabid raccoon found on Morehead Avenue in College Hill

Raccoon in a bare tree

Photo from the National Digital Library of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons

Guilford County has reported that a raccoon found on Morehead Avenue in College Hill tested positive for rabies. The animal was captured last Wednesday.

The raccoon was taken by Guilford County Animal Control around 2 p.m. on February 15 in the 900 block of Morehead, between South Mendenhall and Jackson streets. It was lethargic and didn’t attack any people or animals.

Raccoons are the most frequently reported rabid wildlife species, accounting for 30.2 percent of all animal cases during 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, few raccoons can actually spread the disease. Rabies in raccoons is communicable only in the final one to three days of an infected raccoon’s life. It is spread through saliva and almost always through a bite. Only one human death from a rabid raccoon has ever been reported, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Don’t be alarmed simply by seeing raccoons during the day. Although they’re more active at night, they often move around during the day. It is time to be alarmed if you see one staggering, wandering erratically, seemingly oblivious to noise or surroundings, with wet and matted hair on its face, making repeated high-pitch sounds or mutilating itself. Stay as far away as possible, keep pets away from it and call Animal Control at 336-641-5990 immediately.

Low-cost rabies vaccinations

State law requires that all cats and dogs be vaccinated against rabies, regardless of whether they live indoors or out. Low-cost rabies vaccinations are available for $10 Monday through Saturday at the Planned Pethood Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic, 4527 West Wendover Avenue (at the Humane Society of the Piedmont). Other organizations have low-cost rabies clinics periodically at pet stores and other locations.

Posted in Animals, Jackson Street, Mendenhall Street, Morehead Street | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rick Stone elected to neighborhood association board

College Hill logoThe Honorable Rick Stone has been elected to the board of the College Hill Neighborhood Association. He was one of 11 residents elected by acclamation as officers and board members Monday night.

Stone is a former Superior Court judge. He succeeds Lynn Gagnier, who stepped down due to a schedule conflict with board meetings. Stone and his wife, Susan, have lived in College Hill since they restored 919 Spring Garden Street, the Carrie and Charles Angle House.  A 2011 fire badly damaged the house, which was divided into apartments at the time. The Stones bought it in 2014 and spent more than a year restoring it as a single-family home.

The officers and other board members, who were all re-elected, are:

  • President: James Keith
  • Vice President: David Arneke
  • Secretary: Amanda Keith
  • Treasurer: Arlen Nicolls
  • Eric Crouse
  • Dan Curry
  • Virginia Haskett
  • Dave Hemm
  • Clara Kelly
  • Lyddan Pawlowski
Posted in College Hill Neighborhood Association, Spring Garden Street | Leave a comment