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 General Assemply about to kill Protest Petitions 
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Post General Assemply about to kill Protest Petitions
See the following messages sent from the Myers Park Homeowners Association:
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7/2/15
Dear Neighbors:

On Wednesday, the protest petition repeal bill, House bill 201, passed the Senate on its second reading by a vote of 39 to 9. Senator Andy Wells from Hickory argued for the bill on the senate floor as he did in committee yesterday. He suggested that citizens interested in a rezoning have all the influence they need and that the bill does not impact their ability to protest a rezoning to their city council members. He argued that the supermajority aspect of the protest petition right is unfair to developers. The champions in favor of keeping the protest petition right were Senators Mike Woodard and Floyd McKissick of Durham, Senator Joyce Waddell of Charlotte, and Senator Terry Van Duyn of Asheville.

Woodard led with an impassioned speech about how important the protest petition right is to level the playing field between developers with their huge resources and ordinary citizens trying to protect their homes and neighborhoods. He proposed a compromise amendment that would raise the signing threshold for a protest petition from the owners of 5% to 15% of the 100 foot-deep band of land surrounding the property to be rezoned. The amendment would also eliminate the supermajority requirement for city councils of 5 or fewer members and reduce the supermajority vote of the city council from 75% to a simple majority plus one vote when the city council has more than 5 members. Even this drastic cut of the petition right was unsatisfactory to most senators. The amendment failed by a vote of 15 to 33.

Senator Waddell spoke at length about how important it is to protect healthy and stable neighborhoods from unwanted development. She defended the rights of ordinary homeowners to protect their investments in their homes. She pointed out that the value of the protest petition wasn’t in it impact on final council votes, but in the fact that it brings developers to the table with their neighbors.

Senator McKissick noted that many city officials had contacted the senate to ask that the protest petition right to be preserved as a valuable part of the process in their communities. McKissick asked the proponents of the bill whether they would object to allowing each city decide for itself whether to include a protest petition in its own zoning procedures. He argued that protest petitions yield better results in land use matters. He objected to allowing the bill to be read a third and final time today so that he could have time to work on a local option provision for the bill.

The bill will come up for its required third reading in the Senate today at 11 a.m. We expect more amendments to be offered.

Please ask the senate to support reasonable amendments to give ordinary people a fair chance in rezoning cases and local governments the right to include protest petitions in their local ordinances.

Again, here are the e-mail addresses of all N.C. Senators:

John.Alexander@ncleg.net; Tom.Apodaca@ncleg.net; Dan.Blue@ncleg.net; Andrew.Brock@ncleg.net; Angela.Bryant@ncleg.net; Ben.Clark@ncleg.net; Bill.Cook@ncleg.net; Warren.Daniel@ncleg.net; Joel.Ford@ncleg.net; Valerie.Foushee@ncleg.net; Kathy.Harrington@ncleg.net; Brent.Jackson@ncleg.net; Joyce.Krawiec@ncleg.net; Michael.Lee@ncleg.net; Tom.McInnis@ncleg.net; Floyd.McKissick@ncleg.net; Buck.Newton@ncleg.net; Bill.Rabon@ncleg.net; Bob.Rucho@ncleg.net; Norman.Sanderson@ncleg.net; Jane.Smith@ncleg.net; Dan.Soucek@ncleg.net; Josh.Stein@ncleg.net; Jerry.Tillman@ncleg.net; Joyce.Waddell@ncleg.net; Rick.Gunn@ncleg.net; Wesley.Meredith@ncleg.net; Tamara.Barringer@ncleg.net; Harry.Brown@ncleg.net; Chad.Barefoot@ncleg.net; Phil.Berger@ncleg.net; Stan.Bingham@ncleg.net; David.Curtis@ncleg.net; Don.Davis@ncleg.net; Jim.Davis@ncleg.net; Kathy.Harrington@ncleg.net; Fletcher.Hartsell@ncleg.net; Jeff.Jackson@ncleg.net; Ralph.Hise@ncleg.net; Paul.Lowe@ncleg.net; Louis.Pate@ncleg.net; Ron.Rabin@ncleg.net; Shirley.Randleman@ncleg.net; Gladys.Robinson@ncleg.net; Erica.Smith-Ingram@ncleg.net; Jeff.Tarte@ncleg.net; Tommy.Tucker@ncleg.net; Trudy.Wade@ncleg.net; Andy.Wells@ncleg.net; Mike.Woodard@ncleg.net

Before I close, let me offer a shout out to all of the neighborhood advocates who have come to Raleigh in the last few days. Marcel Dawson has come all the way from Charlotte twice!

Thank you to everyone for your patience and your steadfast support.

Tom Miller
Durham
------------------------------------------
7/3/15
Dear Neighbors:

Thursday, before leaving for their holiday break, the Senate passed H 201, the protest petition repeal bill, on its third reading. The vote was 39 to 10. Voting no were Senators Don Davis, Valerie Foushee, Jeff Jackson, Floyd McKissick, Gladys Robinson, Josh Stein, Terry Van Duyn, Joyce Waddell, Mike Woodard, and John Alexander. If you can, please let these senators know how much you appreciate their support. Their e-mail addresses are in the message I sent you yesterday. No amendments to the bill were offered today, however, it is my understanding that there may be a bi-partisan effort afoot to amend another bill to provide for a 30-day minimum notice period before a zoning case is decided by a city council. I have also been informed that not all of the sponsors are on board with this idea.

Because the Senate changed the bill from the version it received from the House, it must go back to the House for what is called “concurrence.” A concurrence vote is an up or down vote. A bill under consideration for concurrence cannot be amended. Although the Senate took out the 30-day notice provision the house put in the bill, it seems unlikely that the house will vote against concurrence over this change. If the House concurs with the Senate version of the bill, its political journey within the chambers of the General Assembly will be over. It will then go to Governor McCrory for his signature or veto.

Our next effort, then, is to ask the governor to veto the bill. Here’s what we can do:

1) Please send an e-mail to Governor McCrory and ask him to veto House Bill 201. You may wish to remind him that as Mayor of Charlotte he must have seen many cases in which development proposasl were dramatically improved as a result of negotiations between developers and their neighbors – negotiations spurred by the existence of the protest petition right. To email the governor, visit http://www.governor.state.nc.us and hit the “Contact” and then the “E-mail Governor McCrory” buttons. I am sorry I do not have direct e-mail address to share with you. These days, a real old fashioned paper letter sometimes carries more weight than an e-mail message. If you wish to write the governor, send your letter to Pat McCrory, Governor of North Carolina, 20301 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-0301. If you choose this route, act fast as letters are slow and I do not know how much time we have.

2) Please share this message with your contacts in your neighborhoods.

3) Write a short letter to the editor of your local newspaper about the importance of the protest petition right to ordinary citizens and good planning.

We are all disappointed in the way things are going. I, for one, cannot imagine how any member of the General Assembly can return to his constituents and boast that he voted to take away a right granted to them more than 90 years ago in order to help developers and speculators who are already winning about 90% of their zone change requests. But, having said that, it is important to make our best arguments without rancor.

Thank you for allowing me to intrude on your peace of mind day after day and thanks to all of you who have answered the call and have joined in the fight to preserve the protest petition right.

Tom Miller
Durham

_________________
The information above was shared with the Steele Creek Residents Association and is being posted here for others to see.

Dave
info@steelecreekresidents.org


Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:30 pm
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