Feb 7, 2009

Lead Editorial Saturday February 7, 2009 Protest Petition Clarity

The lead editorial in the Greensboro News and Record for February 7, 2009 with the title "Protest Petition clarity" CLICKHERE or click on the title above.

Below is the editorial .

The Greensboro City Council left confusion last month about its position on protest petitions.

Most of Greensboro's state legislators, in contrast, are perfectly clear.
"It's the right thing to do," Sen. Katie Dorsett said of the bill she filed Wednesday in the Senate to restore "the zoning protest rights of the citizens of the city of Greensboro."

"It's just a matter of equity and fairness," Rep. Pricey Harrison said. She introduced an identical measure in the House of Representatives.
Sen. Don Vaughan and Reps. Maggie Jeffus, Alma Adams and John Blust signed on in support.

Among Greensboro legislators, only Rep. Earl Jones did not. The bill is premature, he said Thursday.
"The City Council is right in the middle of trying to resolve this," he said. "It's a local issue, unique to Greensboro."

The situation is unique to Greensboro, and developers want to make sure it remains that way. In 1971, Greensboro was exempted from a state law that allows neighbors to petition against proposed rezonings. If they meet a threshold, the City Council must vote by a three-fourths supermajority to approve the zoning change.

That makes the issue simple to Dorsett and Harrison. Greensboro is the only one among more than 500 North Carolina municipalities whose citizens don't have this petition power. The exemption should be removed. Their bill would accomplish that. It doesn't affect any other municipality, so there's no reason why the General Assembly should object.

Jones, however, sees another issue: the role of the City Council, which last month asked local proponents and opponents to meet to come up with a compromise.
"We should allow the City Council and local folks to see what they can work out first," Jones said. "Let the City Council do their job and give us a recommendation."

Jones served 18 years on the City Council and respects that process. But it isn't necessary. Legislators represent the people, and they can and should take actions at the state level that serve the interests of their constituents -- no matter what the City Council says or does.

Introducing some "compromise," which would craft for Greensboro a different version of the state law, "probably would enter into more confusion," Dorsett said. No doubt.

If Greensboro interests want to change any part of the bill, Harrison added, they should do it for every city, not just Greensboro.

"It's clear Greensboro citizens want this," Harrison said. "I'm trying to move it pretty quickly."

There's no more reason to wait.

It is great news to know that there is a bill already filed in both the House and Senate and if you want to follow the bill online there is a section on top left hand side of this blog to see the progress.

To hear State Rep Earl Jones think that this is a local issue unique to Greensboro. What part of STATE LAW does Earl Jones not understand. This exemption for Greensboro was purely political and was done for no reason whatsoever but to deny neighborhoods all over Greensboro the right to Protest Petition and to give the developers the upper hand in zoning cases.

Then you add the Greensboro leaderless City Council with this compromise on January 21st at the last minute to completely muddy the waters.

It was time to see our state representatives take the lead and give back Protest Petitions to the citizens of Greensboro without all this side show compromise crap that looked good but served no purpose.


Anonymous said...

great news! Just by-pass the City Council as they are ineffective anyhow with their silliness over changing the state law to suit Greensboro TREBEC! BB

triadwatch said...

it was great to see the bill was already introduced. All this compromise talk was a side show. It looks like the parents came back to the party and told the kids what they were going to do, pass a bill with no compromise.