Jan 9, 2010

Rhino Times On Greensboro City Council and The Power of Protest Petitions

The Rhino Times has a article out in this week's edition with a headline, "Council Doesn't Like New Seats", CLICKHERE . In this article he talks about the ramifications of this new law for the citizens of Greensboro. Here is a part of the article talking about Protest Petition for Greensboro.

"One thing to watch in this new seating arrangement will be how Bellamy-Small votes on rezoning requests. Traditionally she has voted against them, particularly if they were in east Greensboro. Perkins, who is in the commercial real estate profession, votes for almost all projects that can muster enough votes to be approved, and he votes for quite a few that fail. If Perkins votes against a rezoning request then generally everyone votes against it.


But with the new protest petition this whole issue of rezoning has shifted. Before, a developer only had to be able to convince five councilmembers it was a good project. Now, if a protest petition is filed, for the project to be approved a supermajority of the City Council must vote in favor of it. So the developer would have to convince seven out of nine. Or since Vaughan and Perkins appear to be abstaining from the controversial rezoning requests, six out of seven votes would be needed to pass a rezoning request.


Perkins, being in the real estate business, has to abstain a lot. And Vaughan's husband, state Sen. Don Vaughan, as an attorney is representing a good number of neighborhoods who are opposing rezoning requests. It's a pretty sweet deal for Nancy Vaughan because she will not have to take a public stand on many controversial rezoning requests where councilmembers are often caught between making a neighborhood mad and doing what they think is best for the city."

It will be interesting to see how citizens all over this city use the Protest Petition. Some have waited till last minute to file theirs like the group off of elm and cornwallis the first time it came up in front of council. But with a slick move by Councilman Zack Matheny he changed his vote from yes to no after the meeting and has the opportunity to bring up the denied zoning case again. Now this new case had another protest petition added to the mix as well as the one that was used the first go around. 

Now we also have a controversial case off of spring garden street where the neighborhood association filed their Protest Petition well before the case was even heard at the zoning commission. The Protest Petition can only be used in front of council. This was their perogative to file way early in the process but in general it is to your benefit to wait and see if the conditions put on the property are to your liking to even file the petition.

We will see what happens in the future but it is great to see this law back on the books in Greensboro and being a part of the zoning process.