May 14, 2008

Greensboro News and Record #2 Lead Editorial on Protest Petitions

The Greensboro News and Record has a #2 lead editorial on restoring Protest Petitions to Greensboro, click here . I want to say that if this doesn't pass in short session then the long session will be the best chance for this to pass in the State Legislature.

Get on board protest petitions
Tuesday's No. 2 editorial.
Legislative short sessions are supposed to be short on business. Yet that doesn’t mean the N.C. General Assembly can’t tackle a thing or two.
There are some issues that shouldn’t be too complicated or controversial for the small amount of time allotted to these sessions. One is legislation that would restore to Greensboro residents the right to use protest petitions.
All other residents of North Carolina cities can use these petitions to challenge land-use decisions. But the General Assembly took this option away from Greensboro residents in 1971, upon the City Council’s request. It needs to undo what it did.
Rep. Pricey Harrison has sponsored a bill that would do that. But for it to pass, the Guilford delegation must back it. With unanimous support, the bill would go forward, as other legislators would defer to what the county’s delegation wanted for this local bill.
One potential problem, though, is the action, or, rather, inaction, of the Greensboro City Council. It did not include restoration of the protest petition in its requests to the legislature.It can be argued that the Guilford delegation shouldn’t act without a request by the council. But shouldn’t the widespread outpouring of citizen support in Greensboro for the protest petition, from individuals and neighborhood groups to the League of Women Voters, count for something?The truth is the majority of Greensboro residents appear to support restoring the right to use protest petitions while only a few in the city’s development crowd oppose it. They argue that use of the petitions could impede growth.
Rep. Maggie Jeffus, who heads the Guilford delegation, hopes to convene its members Thursday to discuss the issue. We hope they decide to support Harrison’s bill, even without the City Council’s stamp of approval.
For 37 years, Greensboro residents have had to fight zoning decisions with one hand tied behind their back. There is no reason for residents to continue to be restrained this way for another year

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