In the Triad Business Journal January18-24 2008 in the Triad Talk section this is what was said. " Developers always have the upper hand in Guilford County" says Reid Phillips, an attorney with Brooks Pierce in Greensboro. They have boards packed with their people. They have experience. They are masters of divide and conquer. They can also wear people out with continuances.
It is hard for grass roots efforts to compete with this modus operandi.
The issue of Protest Petitions for Greensboro has struck a real fire into a lot of people who are amazed that they don't have this North Carolina General Statute to use . In a future posting , there is going to be a case made from how the Greensboro City Council during their talk about the legislative agenda for 2008 on May 7th made a compelling case for Protest Petitions while talking about another issue.
In the letter below from the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition "TREBIC", you will see comments made in red after some of the paragraphs. This will show you the other side of this issue on Protest Petitions for Greensboro.
From: Marlene Sanford
Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 2:30
Subject: URGENT - Greensboro Protest Petition decision at the May 15 Guilford Delegation meeting
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.
All through the original letter they use bold type settings trying to make a point but show their arrogance in the letter, for example with the word NOT
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.
As you can see they use the 2 words "we think" , in reality they don't have a clue what happened. The editorial from Yes Weekly had this to say, " It was nullified in Greensboro amid a storm of property development in 1970", that sounds like more of what happened, then "we think".Please read the article in Yes Weekly from the front page of this blog posted on February 17, 2008.
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.
Where can we start with this one 2 points first on how your hear them say "most developers voluntarily meet with neighbors". The key word is "most" it is amazing that there is not a requirement for the developers to meet with neighbors in Greensboro.David Wharton who is a member of the Greensboro Land Development Ordinance Committee had this to say"This might interest you: I and others tried hard to get a "meet and confer" requirement written into the new ordinance, which would require a developer seeking a rezoning to meet with the neighbors beforehand and to report to the zoning commission the outcome of the meeting.
The best we could get was a requirement that developers must report to the zoning commission on their efforts to confer with neighbors, which means that if they didn't try to meet, they have to say that."
As you can see David Wharton says the best we could get, because people like Gary Rogers with Starmount Company,Trip Brown with Brown Investment,Keith Price with Samet Companies,James Cox with Mid-City Urban,Jessica Marlies with Brooks Pierce Law Firm,Mike Fox with Tuggles Duggins Law Firm,Dick Franks with Koury Corp.,Gary Hill with McAlphine Company,Gary Wolf with SparrowWolf Law Firm, and Mary Skenes with Yost and Little. So 10 out of 14 are TREBIC members or close allies with TREBIC for the Land Development Ordinance Citizen Advisory Team. As said before by Lawyer Reid Phillips ,boards get packed with TREBIC all the time especially in Greensboro where as Mike Barber said at a Greensboro City Council meeting on April 1st "TREBIC has been contacted and TREBIC has some interest".
The other point has to do with TREBIC saying that " Protest Petition is antiquated and should be repealed statewide". It should be noted that Protest Petitions are not antiquated but the exemption of Greensboro from this North Carolina General Statute is antiquated. Let's have the State Legislators pass a bill to make Greensboro comply with this statute and then TREBIC can lobby to deny the citizens of the whole state of North Carolina their right to protest unwanted development in their neighborhood.Good luck with that endeavor.
It is also noted that they left out the condescending quote from Gary Rogers TREBIC chairman saying that Greensboro had the foresight to exempt themselves from Protest Petitions.No, Mr. Rogers, it was not foresight. It was an effort to take away a right of the citizens to use the power of petitions against unwanted development in established neighborhoods
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.
You can't change the constitution with a simple majority,
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.
In other words it still only takes a 5-4 decision.
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.
This is factually wrong, you might want to do some more research.
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.
TREBIC, please go ask the Greensboro Neighborhood Congress where they stand on this issue. The reason why it has become a state issue is because the Greensboro City Council has done nothing, the silence is deafening. The exemption should have never been taken away from Greensboro citizens in the first place.
Ed cone wrote a column called "Power to the people may be restored". In it is a paragraph in regards to Greensboro City Council member Robbie Perkins and it states:Certainly it is hard to look at our landscape, our City Council, or our recent history and argue that neighborhoods couldn't use a little help when it comes to development issues. City Councilman (and developer) Robbie Perkins says his industry must work on its bully-boy image. "Greensboro developers need to reverse the perception that they get everything they want," he says. "Otherwise, the pendulum will swing and development in the city will be severely curtailed."
Thank you TREBIC for a letter that shows your true colors and self interest