May 18, 2008

Short Session NO , Long Session in 2009 Absolutely

It was a long shot to begin with but it seems like Senator Phil Berger thinks it is too controversial to bring up Protest Petitions for Greensboro in the short session in the North Carolina General Assembly.

But there is hope on the horizon when State Representative Pricey Harrison had this to say:

On the matter of Protest Petitions, members of the Guilford delegation met to discuss Greensboro-related legislation for the short session. I broached the idea of introducing a bill to restore the right of protest petition to the citizens of Greensboro . In order for local bills to be eligible for the short session, there must be unanimity among the delegation, and we just don’t have it, so I must wait to file it in January, 2009.

As she states that it will be filed in the long session starting in 2009. There are many angles to the issue of Protest Petitions that played out for a lot of us to see first hand. First being the e mail campaign the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition also known as the TREBIC CARTEL sent to the State Legislators. It will be fun to debunk and to show you plenty of problems with the TREBIC CARTEL e mail campaign in a future posting.

Also we plan on posting the whole transcript from Mark Binker of the Greensboro News and Record who interviewed Senator Phil Berger on why he opposed the bill. If you want to hear the audio from Mark Binker click here , plus if you want to see the article click here

It is time to thank everyone who has been a part of this process of restoring Protest Petitions to Greensboro . This defeat in the short session is just the first round of a 12 round fight.It will only be another 6 and a half months for finally the citizens of Greensboro will get their chance to pass a bill to have Protest Petitions in Greensboro.
Plus also there will be a future posting on showing how the TREBIC CARTEL and their Modus Operandi works below is the letter they sent to the State Representatives.

From: Marlene Sanford []
Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 2:30 PMTo: msanford@trebic.orgSubject: URGENT - Greensboro Protest Petition decision at the May 15 Guilford Delegation meetingImportance: High

May 13, 2008

Senators Stan Bingham, Phil Berger, Katie Dorsett and Kay Hagan, and Representatives Alma Adams, John Blust, Katie Dorsett, Maggie Jeffus, Earl Jones, Pricey Harrison and Laura Wiley

RE: Greensboro Rezoning Protest Petition

Dear Senators and Representatives:

We are very concerned at the discussion of instituting rezoning Protest Petitions in the Greensboro . We urge you NOT to pursue this.

Greensboro was exempted from this in 1971, we think in part because only Greensboro has a Citizen Initiative Petition where citizens can take any ordinance (including rezonings) to a citywide referendum.

Protest petitions were “born” in the early 1900s because getting information to the public was difficult. Now, nearly 100 years later we’re in a new century and the “information age” and the communication problem no longer exists. There are strict rules for public notice and most developers voluntarily meet with neighbors. "Infill" development and redevelopment was not an issue then, but it is now, and allowing protest petitions will make it even harder to achieve smart growth developments where neighborhoods generally oppose higher densities and mixed uses that fit into the "better land use management plan" that Greensboro adopted in 2003. Frankly, the protest petition is antiquated and should be repealed statewide.

NC’s protest petition process allows a mere 5% of property owners within 100’ of the subject property to petition for a 75% vote of the full council (not “those present”) to pass the rezoning. In Greensboro that’s 7, and it essentially gives just 3 Council members veto power over rezoning decisions. It is patently absurd that a mere 5% of neighbors can so severely curtail someone else’s property rights. A democracy is run by majority vote. You can change the constitution of the United States with a simple majority, or with only a 2/3 vote of those elected representatives (Congress) present.

Greensboro rezonings already require a 2/3 vote to pass (6 of 9 votes), or else a second reading at the next meeting, giving opponents 2 to 3 extra weeks to lobby the issue further.

The 100 counties in NC do not allow protest petitions. While some other states do allow protest petitions, it is not pervasive and we found no states that allow a mere 5% to lodge a protest.

Local news reports have quoted City Council members urging caution, and some neighborhood advocates who fear it will impede the implementation of neighborhood preservation efforts. Citywide neighborhood groups are not taking up this cause. Greensboro goes to great effort to balance business friendliness with neighborhood stability, and does a pretty good job of it. This is a local government issue, and the legislative delegation should not pursue it.


Marlene Sanford

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