Thursday, January 22, 2009

Protest Petition Passed City Council

The Greensboro City Council unanimously endorsed reinstating the protest petition at last night's meeting -- not the vote count I expected! -- and also voted to tack an addendum to the recommendation before it goes to the state legislature.

As I understood the (somewhat confusing) discussion, Council wants TREBIC and the Greensboro Neighborhood Congress to work out a compromise proposal that will mellow some of the protest petition's harsher requirements. Discussion focused on the fact that owners of only 5% of property contiguous to the lot to be rezoned can trigger the process and force a 75% super majority in order to get the rezoning approved.

Donna Newton of the GNC and Marlene Sanford of TREBIC both pledged that their organizations will work together in good faith, and I expect that to happen. They are both extraordinary women.

I made some comments at the meeting, too,  in which I focused on the fact that the building and real estate industries hold majorities on key boards and commissions, specifically the Zoning Commission, the RUCO board, the Board of Adjustment, and the Land Development Ordinance Citizens Advisory Team (of which I was a member).

Marlene Sanford of TREBIC took issue with my figures, disputing in particular the LDO CAT numbers, which I said was weighted 11-4 in favor of real estate interests. Since this is a public board, I don't think I'll be violating anyone's privacy by posting their names and occupations here. So here they are:

Trip Brown
Brown Investment Properties (TREBIC member)

Mike Fox
Tuggle Duggins and Meshan PA (TREBIC member company)

Dick Franks
Koury Corporation (TREBIC member)

Gary Hill

Jessica Marlies
Environmental law attorney

Bob Powell
North Carolina A&T University

Keith Price
Samet Corporation (TREBIC member)

Todd Rangel
Commercial real estate manager
SunTrust Bank

Gary Rogers
Starmount Company (TREBIC member)

Todd Rotruck
Independent Contractor

Mary Skenes
Yost and Little (TREBIC member)

Gary Wolf

David Wharton
UNC Greensboro

Some might quibble with the way I counted. Mike Fox and Gary Wolf are both attorneys, but I counted them as being in the real estate industry because both of their firms are TREBIC members. And though Todd Rotruck was appointed as a representative of the GNC, he's also a contractor in the building industry.

I should add that these are all great people whom I like and respect. Although we had many vigorous discussions over the past 3 and a half years, they were always conducted civilly and professionally.  

Ed Cone's blog has more discussion here and here.


Anonymous said...


Just wondering...can a person be on the LDO committee and the Zoning Commissoin at the same time? Do you know?

Cyndy Hayworth

David Wharton said...

Apparently yes. Mary Skenes is.

Anonymous said...

That's odd...when I volunteered for the Coliseum Commission, I was told that "a citizen cannot serve on two boards at the same time". I was asked to decide which board I wanted to serve...Coliseum or Zoning. i chose Zoning.

David Wharton said...

Ah. I think the difference is that the LDO CAT is a "team," and not one of the boards that are authorized by state law.

Nothing that the LDO CAT did is binding; we were strictly an advisory group.

Anonymous said...

Thanks David...that explains the issue for me...glad I asked!

Unknown said...

david, this was a comment on today's lead editorial in N&R,

January 25, 2009 - 11:50 am EST
Mike Barber is smoking crack if he thinks this so-called "compromise" is a victory for supporters of protest petitions. It's not. It's a stunning defeat.

The power is put in the developers hands to stall the negotiations indefinately. No agreement on protest petitions from developers, no protest petitions.

David Wharton, please tell me you didn't sign on to this nonsense?!?!?!?!?

I am so glad I moved out of Greensboro.

Anonymous said...


You had an excellent visual presentation at the Council meeting. What is the possibility of publishing that on your blog (and maybe even the supporting data like you did with the LOD-CAT)?

Nick Divitci

David Wharton said...

Thank you, Nick.

I'm working with someone on publishing this data -- and more -- soon. When it comes out, I'll be sure to link it here.