Dec 23, 2011

Guilford County Uses Protest Petition Against City of High Point and Wins

Hat Tip:Rhino Times Paul Clark with a title of article "Council Allows Hinkley Hotel"

In the article this is what was written

"Guilford County filed its protest petition twice – on Dec. 13, signed by Guilford County Manager Brenda Jones Fox and on Dec. 14 signed by Chairman of the Guilford County Commissioners Skip Alston, before the Board of Commissioners voted to authorize the petition – something the High Point City Council could have challenged, but didn't.

"We don't believe it, but we're recognizing the county's protest petition," High Point Mayor Becky Smothers said. "We don't need to get into a lawsuit with y'all."

After a nearly five-hour public hearing and debate, Smothers could muster only five votes to rezone the 91.5 acres, but not the supermajority of seven votes needed because of the county protest petition. Barring an upset bid by another developer, the sale by Guilford County to GEO Care should go through.

It seemed fairly clear before the meeting that Smothers didn't have the required supermajority, but the addition of three new councilmembers last year upset old voting blocs and has made City Council debates less certain and more interesting. In addition, the City Council chamber was standing room only, and members of the audience leaned against the walls.

The debate showed the wide divide between High Point's two classes: the political and business class, which is dominated by developers and property managers, and its working class, which is made up primarily of former furniture plant and textile mill workers. The developers and politicians are focused on the long-term development and improvement of High Point, but the working class neighborhoods are desperate for jobs and unwilling to pass them up based on promises of better development in the future."

This is great to see more people understand and use the protest petition in zoning cases. It is odd to see the owner of the property use the protest petition because usually it is the adjoining property owners who want to object to a certain property being rezoned for usually a commercial or higher residential uses. This case might get more scrutiny because just this past week we have both the county and the City of Greensboro want to extend water and sewer to over 9,000 acres in eastern Guilford County which means more residential development being rezoned from agriculture. The use of protest petition is only allowed in municipalities but with a bill getting passed in the state legislature we could see in future a place where the whole citizens of Guilford County can use the protest petition in zoning cases .

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