Nov 26, 2008

Greensboro City Council Has Protest Petition on Legislative Agenda for 2009 but Coalition wants a Delay

The Greensboro City Council has put Protest Petitions for Greensboro under city requested local legislation, under agenda item for resolution approving 2009 Legislative Program and requesting support thereof by the Guilford County delegation to the General Assembly. If you want to see the agenda please click on the title above and proceed to page 243 of 248 or CLICKHERE then proceed to current agenda with attachments.

This is great news and not so great news because our coalition is wanting to postpone this item till January 20, 2009 so that we can speak to the Greensboro City Council members about how important this is to the citizens of Greensboro. When the Greensboro City Council had a briefing on November 11, 2008 one of the items was the legislative agenda for 2009. In that briefing there was not a mention of bringing back Protest Petitions to Greensboro. Let's proceed to Monday November 24, 2008 late in day we get word that Protest Petitions is on the agenda for the next Greensboro City Council meeting.

As we can see this news came right before the thanksgiving holidays with no time to prepare our case to the Greensboro City Council members. So we are wanting to delay this item till January 20, 2009. Our coalition has been in contact with a host of people on this issue and would like to present our case with full support of many people in Greensboro and it would not happen if we have to do this next Tuesday.

It is time for the people of Greensboro to make a statement to the Greensboro City Council members that you want Protest Petitions back in the zoning process, 37 years is long enough. Please contact your Greensboro City Council members which can be done by clicking on the item to the left hand side of this blog.

It would be beneficial to also e-mail, call or write you state representatives on this issue. You can reach the whole Guilford County delegation by going to the left hand side of this blog and click on each representative to let them know this.



Nov 14, 2008

Time to Bring Back Protest Petitions To Greensboro Round #2 Repost to Refresh Memory

The Coalition of Concerned Citizens Member Keith Brown wrote a Guest Column to the Greensboro News And Record on Thursday May 15, 2008, click here to comment.

Greensboro residents want rights on zoningBy Keith Brown
Thursday, May. 15, 2008 3:00 am

The N.C. General Assembly can create new law and destroy old law. Cities such as Greensboro are subject to those laws, unless state legislators allow an exception.

In 1971, local elected officials supported a bill under a cloud of politics to exempt Greensboro from N.C. General Statutes 160a-385 and 386, which created what formally is called a "protest petition." This exemption never should have been made in the first place and is bad public policy.

Protest petitions are used if a certain percentage of property owners most affected by a zoning change object to the rezoning. These residents may petition for a super-majority vote of at least 7-2 to approve the rezoning if the council has 9 members.

Protest petitions level the playing field for residents, especially when pro-development members of the City Council are making rezoning decisions.

Professor David Owens of the UNC School of Government says, "The provision in North Carolina zoning law for a protest petition is mandatory for cities." His use of the word "mandatory" demonstrates that Greensboro is not following a law every other city must follow. As stated before, the General Assembly can destroy old law, and this exemption is definitely old law.

To hear Gary Rogers from the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition (TREBIC) say that Greensboro, back in 1971, had the foresight to exempt itself from this statute is condescending to citizens here. 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.

Those who oppose protest petitions in Greensboro say they would discourage in-fill development. They say the current exemption aids growth, and not having the exemption would hurt growth.Yet Raleigh and Charlotte have protest petitions, and both have grown faster than Greensboro since the exemption has been in effect.

Because I live in High Point, my neighborhood had the right to use a protest petition against a major developer not once, but twice, in a highly contested rezoning case off N.C. 68. I'm certain Greensboro citizens also would like to have this powerful tool as their voice against encroaching development.

Why not let the Guilford County legislative delegation push a bill to make the city of Greensboro comply with this state law? This would give Greensboro residents the same right as other North Carolina residents who live in cities.

Thirty-seven years is long enough. Let your state legislators know you would like to have protest petitions back in Greensboro.

I will leave you with a quote from a Greensboro resident who said it well: "It's time that citizens had a way to stop the business-as-usual crowd from developing our quality of life out of existence."

Keith Brown lives in High Point and is a member of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens of The Triad.

Nov 10, 2008

Round #2 with Marlene Sanford and TREBIC Asking ? to NC Planners

It looks like Marlene Sanford President of the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition AKA "TREBIC CARTEL" is trying to ask questions to the N.C. Planners. Here is what she posted on the list serve of the N.C. Planners.

2 Questions on Rezoning Protest Petitions:
1- Do any of you cities NOT have protest petitions?
2 For those of you who have them, if your “protester” criteria is different from “5% of owners within 100 feet” , what is it?
3 If you have an experienced opinion/example about the pros and cons and are willing to share it, please do.

Marlene Sanford


As you can see Marlene Sanford has already started trying to find answers from N.C. Planners all over this state.Let me help you out in answering these questions you have posted on the list serve.

Question #1 is NO , Greensboro is the only city that doesn't abide by this North Carolina General Statute and it is time for that to change in 2009

Question #2 is NO, This is a North Carolina General Statute nobody has their own version of Protest Petition but Greensboro who got exempted from this bill 37 years ago under a cloud of who knows what happened, and it is time for that to change in 2009.

Question #3 here is your experienced opinion, our Neighborhood in High Point had the right to use Protest Petitions in a major rezoning case and for the citizens of Greensboro to not have Protest Petitions is a total injustice to them.Go ask Blue Ridge Companies.

Let me give TREBIC a few pointers. If you want to take on this fight to deny the citizens of Greensboro this North Carolina General Statute go right ahead. We already know about your modus operandi with your mass e-mail to the State Legislators back in May 2008, CLICKHERE to see the annotated letter. Your efforts will be watched by many and reported by me. So in the end it should be in your best interest to let a bill get passed to let the citizens of Greensboro use Protest Petitions in zoning cases all over this great city and if you fight this bill than you will feel the repercussions for a very long time.Take your pick.