Jan 5, 2009

Triad Real Estate and Building Indusrty Coalition Talking Points Memo Exposed

Below the fold is a talking points memo that came out from the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition(TREBIC). Let's go back in history to around May of 2008 where this special interest group flooded the e-mail boxes of the Guilford Delegation in the State House with this memo and you can also see the annotated version as well.

The title of the post was "TREBIC propaganda letter to the State Legislators with comments."

CLICKHERE to see the post or click on the title above.

This newer version of TREBIC's talking points is pretty much the same as before but with a few more condescending words to say about the citizens of Greensboro. For example , "But neighborhoods frequently oppose these unfamiliar concepts ". Neighborhoods all over Greensboro are very familiar with these concepts and for TREBIC to say that is pathetic.

Another point to ponder is to hear this, "If we have to allow Protest Petitions because “everybody else does”, then we also have to outlaw the rental inspection program, the Citizen Initiative Petitions and any other unique programs. "The rental inspection program has nothing to do with Protest Petitions and to see
TREBIC get a hold of the RUCO board to water down the program to practically nothing and wanted to do away with the whole program CLICKHERE and to hear about the never used Citizen Initiative Petition is a complete joke. How many times has the citizen initiative petition been used in the past 30 years? Neighborhoods all over Greensboro have been going to the zoning process with one hand tied behind their back and it is finally time for the hand to be untied and level the playing field.

There has been talk about how giving this right back to the citizens of Greensboro would hurt jobs. This statute has nothing to do with one job. If it was a job issue then why has Charlotte and Raleigh grown faster than Greensboro when both of those cities have Protest Petition's on the books.

It is time for everyone in Greensboro to understand why the special interest group is fighting this tooth and nail .

It is time for the citizens of Greensboro to know that every city in this state abides by Protest Petition's and it is not antiquated but the exemption of Greensboro is.

It is time for the citizens of Greensboro to have this right to a Protest Petition in the zoning process.

It is time to tell the Greensboro City Council how you feel.

It is time to also let your North Carolina Guilford Delegation know how you feel.

All of this can be done by looking at this blog on the left hand side and e-mail the Guilford Delegation and the Greensboro City Council.


Below is the newer version of TREBIC talking points.

Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition

TREBIC opposes rezoning Protest Petitions in Greensboro.
Proponents claim that “everybody else has it” and “we need to level the playing field.”

Consider this…

- None of the 100 NC counties allow Protest Petitions.
- While some other states do allow protest petitions, it is not pervasive and we have found no states that allow a mere 5% to lodge a protest.
- We’re one of only half a dozen or so NC cities with a rental unit inspection ordinance.
- We’re one of only 10 cities that allow Citizen Initiative Petitions that take ordinances to a citywide referendum (remember the baseball stadium vote a few years ago?) (source-IOG)
- We’re 1 of only 2 cities that allows Citizen Initiative Petitions apply to rezonings. (source-IOG) This is apparently why we were exempted from the Protest Petition in 1971.
If we have to allow Protest Petitions because “everybody else does”, then we also have to outlaw the rental inspection program, the Citizen Initiative Petitions and any other unique programs.

Protest petitions were “born” in the early 1900s because getting information to the public was difficult. Now, nearly 100 years later we’re in the “information age” and the problem no longer exists.
- There are strict rules for public notice, and TREBIC supported Greensboro’s recent change to earlier, more widespread notification rules and website posting of rezoning information.
- Most developers voluntarily meet with neighbors. Greensboro’s draft land development ordinance officially encourages this and so does TREBIC.
- 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.
- Greensboro’s Conditional Use Rezonings are legislative rather than quasi-judicial, to allow neighbors more effective involvement in the process, and TREBIC supports this.
- NC’s protest petition process allows a mere 5% of owners within 100’ to trigger a requirement for a 75% vote of the full council (not “those present”) to pass the rezoning. In Greensboro that’s 7, so 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. You can change the US Constitution with less than that!

"Infill" development and redevelopment was not an issue a century ago, but it is now. Smarter growth management plans like Greensboro’s Connections 2025 Comprehensive Plan promote infill, higher densities and mixed uses. But neighborhoods frequently oppose these unfamiliar concepts and allowing protest petitions will make it even harder to achieve them. The draft revamped Land Development Ordinance seeks to implement these concepts while mitigating impacts on existing neighborhood, so neighborhood conflicts should be minimized in the future. In the interim, Conditional zoning is used to mitigate site specific issues.

Greensboro goes to great effort to balance business friendliness with neighborhood stability. Protest Petitions are a step backwards and just another road block in the way of and already reeling industry that is responsible for building local government tax base. Frankly, the protest petition is antiquated and should probably be repealed statewide.

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