Jul 22, 2008

Greensboro City Attorney Terry Wood Answers Coalition Questions

The coalition had asked the City of Greensboro Attorney Terry Wood a few questions about the History of Protest Petitions and what the future holds.
Here is the results.

Protest Petition Information

In response to your questions I have found the
following information. Some information is not available and that fact
will be so indicated.


1. When and where was the meeting in 1971 held to request that
Greensboro be exempted from the protest petition?

Our Council Minutes reflect that the request for exemption was
included with the “Legislative Program” of the City Council which was
adopted by Council on 21 December 1970 at a regular meeting of the
Council which was at the old City Council meeting room. The meeting
room was in the Annex Building (210 Greene Street, now demolished) near
the corner of Gaston Street (now Friendly) and Greene Street. It was
called the Municipal Office Building, City Council Chamber, Room 204.
There were 15 different items listed on the Legislative Program. We did
not find any other previous reference to the exemption in the Minutes.

2. What City Council member(s) sponsored the bill?

The Motion to adopt the Legislative Program was made by Vance H.
Chavis. There is no recorded discussion in the

Minutes of any of the “Legislative Program” items. Of the seven members
on the Council at the time six were present and voted in favor of the
“Legislative Program.” W. L. Trotter, Jr.; Jimmie I. Barber; Vance H.
Chavis; H. J. Elam III; Charles W. Phillips, Jr.; and Mary P. Seymour.
E. S. (Jim) Melvin is listed as absent from the meeting at the time the
vote was taken but entered later.

3. What was the reason for requesting this bill?

As stated in the previous answer there was no recorded discussion
of the Legislative Program so the reasons behind the inclusion of the
exemption from the protest petition are not discernable. Different
Council Members may have had different reasons, but we are uninformed as
to what those reasons may have been.

4. Who sponsored the bill in the NC House of Representatives and

The Legislative Bill Research Division of the North Carolina
Legislature informs us that the Original Bill was introduced by Rep.
Henry Frye in the North Carolina House of Representatives.

5. Why weren't the people of Greensboro informed about the 37 year
absence of the protest petition rather than being informed thorough the

The Council Minutes reflect it in the Legislative Program adopted
at a regular Council meeting and the printed N. C. Legislative records
reflect its adoption as Session Law 1971, Chapter 29, on February 25,
1971. I cannot speak to what publicity, or lack thereof, this matter
received at the time it became effective or over the years.

6. Does a property owner with or without legal council, who brings a
zoning case before the City have the right to submit a valid protest
petition to Greensboro City Council? Can City Council honor the protest

Without repeal of Greensboro’s exemption from the protest petition
statute Greensboro has no authority to invoke the protest petition (that
is the 3/4’s vote) process.

7. No question numbered 7. was included in your e-mail.

There was no question numbered 7.

8. When does the Greensboro City Council's agenda for the NC General
Assembly long session begin? When does it have to be completed? When
will it be available to the public? Where is it made available to the

The 2009 session of the NC Legislature begins January 28, 2009. The
actual date when the requested legislation must be delivered to the
Legislature will not be set by the Legislature until a week or 10 days
after that when the Legislature sets its calendar. Council usually
begins to determine its Legislative Agenda about three or four months
prior to the January date. Most often it is initially presented and
discussed in “Briefing Sessions” held in the Plaza Level Conference room
in the Melvin Municipal Office Building. These briefing sessions are
open to the public but no final action may be taken at them by Council.
It will eventually be on a Regular Meeting agenda for further discussion
or adoption.

Our Council agendas, including Regular Meetings, Special Meetings and
Briefing Sessions are posted on the City’s website as soon as they are
available. Regular meetings are the first and third Tuesdays each month
and the briefing sessions are the fourth Tuesday of each month. That’s
the easiest way to keep track of the items being covered.

9. What is the position of Greensboro today to the protest petition?

This Office cannot comment on the City’s position since the City
Council would make that determination.

I hope this answers your questions and we appreciate your interest. We
do not have any further information. If you still desire to meet, or
discuss this matter, I will be happy to do so. Please give my Office a
call or e-mail me.


Terry Wood

City Attorney


We would like to thank the City of Greensboro Attorney for answering our questions. The pressure needs to be put on the City of Greensboro to put this on the Legislative Agenda for the Long Session of the State Legislature starting in January of 2009. If the City of Greensboro does nothing on this isue it will be duly noted and if they want to see a major wedge issue for the fall of 2009 City elections let this issue linger even more.Our coalition is not going away and will get even bigger as time goes by.


Anonymous said...

It appears Greensboro finally has a City Attorney worth his salt. I have been watching him closely and have been gratified. This communication only reinforces my assessment.

As for the Protest Petition it was very obviously a behind the scene done deal by the elite to keep them and their cohorts in complete control. Unfortunately this same attitude is still in operation since this City Council is studiously ignoring your appeals.BB

triadwatch said...

brenda, yes I would applaud Mr. Wood and his response to our questions, it was great to see Mr. Wood answer our questions. Now let's see where the Greensboro City Council will stand on issue.