Apr 29, 2008

Willie Taylor Speech to the Guilford Delegation on Protest Petition

The speech below was for the Lobby the Legislator Meeting on Monday April 21, 2008 in front of the Guilford County delegation. Willie Taylor from the Coalition of Concerned Citizens had the opportunity to speak about Protest Petitions. Enclosed is the speech:

Representative Jeffus and members of the NC General Assembly Guilford Delegation, thank you.

YES, I ask for your continued support of the Greensboro Public Library, but I am here tonight to speak to another concern that for the immediate time, takes precedence – the absence of the law of protest petition in Greensboro.

Earlier this year several communities appeared before the Greensboro City Council for rezoning issues at the same time as my community. At least four of these communities, Garden Lake, off New Garden Road, Guilford College, Franklin Blvd. extension (the Clapp Farm community, and my community of single family houses and town houses west of Guilford College off Friendly Avenue) felt the Council decisions were made without any compromise, added conditions to the developer’s proposal, or serious consideration of the residents of the communities. In all four cases, large numbers of people were present. Members of these four communities and other citizens who question what is occurring have come together to form a Coalition of Concerned Citizens, secured a professional leader and plan to expand as broadly and diversely as possible. I am speaking on behalf of our coalition.

During this recent rezoning process we learned of the State Protest Petition that Greensboro had been exempt from in 1971, but is in effect in all major North Carolina cities and our neighboring cities of High Point, Kernersville, Winston-Salem and others. We have also learned that most people in Greensboro and Guilford County had never heard of this law and without the wonderful coverage by YES! Weekly, many of us would not know the history.

I am here tonight to ask on behalf of these communities that you pass legislation to provide the citizens of Greensboro with protest petition rights. From the letters of response to the News and Record’s “Question of the Week: Should Greensboro residents have the right to challenge City Council zoning decision through protest petition, there seems to be consensus in Greensboro that we need it sooner than later. Please note that one of the handouts is an editorial from the News and Record that concludes “Greensboro property owners are due the same right to petition state law allows residents of other cities”. Please return to us the right of protest petition.

Thank you.

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