Monday, July 27, 2009

Greensboro Neighborhoods Will Not Get A Fair Shake in The Zoning Process, Thanks To TREBIC




Neighborhood Communication Summary for Greensboro N.C.


The above document is from the public review draft of the new Land Development Ordinance rewrite for the whole City of Greensboro this section above is titled Neighborhood Communication Summary. One thing you see missing from this section is something called a "meet and confer " or "citizen information meeting" between the applicant for a zoning case and the surrounding property owners.Cities all over this state from Charlotte,Raleigh, Wilmington, and High Point require the applicant to hold some type of meeting with the citizens when they have a rezoning case.

Let's take a look back and see just what the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition(TREBIC) tried to do to the citizens of High Point back in 2005.

On September 27, 2005, a public hearing was held before the Planning and
Zoning Commission regarding the request by the City of High Point to amend Chapters 3 and 9 of the Development Ordinance pertaining to zoning map amendments (rezoning), conditional use permit and special use permit
procedures, including their notice requirements.

Speakers expressing opposition to and concerns about this request were Mr. Keith Price, 3907 Gisbourne Drive, Jamestown (TREBIC MEMBER), Mr. Ron Guerra, 4476 Kendale Road (TREBIC MEMBER) and Ms. Marlene Sanford, 1830 Eastchester Drive (President of TREBIC). All of the speakers were opposed to requiring a mandatory neighborhood meeting and submitting a report on this meeting. It was noted that this is something that most responsible developers are already doing, but it should not be mandatory for all requests.

Let's take a look at what was said in the draft to High Point Planning and Zoning on having mandatory meetings with the neighborhood.Here were the objectives of having required meetings with the surrounding property owners.

Objectives:

• To improve the rezoning process by providing an opportunity for citizens to become better informed of the applicant’s development proposal prior to offering their comments at the public hearings;


• To provide an opportunity for citizens to ask questions and determine what specific issues of concern, if any, they have with a specific conditional use district rezoning request prior to the public hearings;


• To provide an opportunity for the applicant to consider citizen’s concerns and offer conditions to address those concerns prior to submittal and consideration by the city of their conditional use district rezoning;

• To provide an opportunity to resolve citizen concerns before the P&Z Commission and the City Council consider the request and thus prevent delays once the rezoning is in process;


• To allow dialogue between the applicant and citizens to occur in an informal setting outside and prior to the formal rezoning process;


• To provide an opportunity for the applicant to be open and informative about their development proposal and to offer adequate conditions to mitigate potential problems before the public hearings;


• To allow the P&Z Commission, the applicant and the public to better prepare for their public hearing by providing them staff reports approximately one week prior to the P&Z Commission meeting;


• To provide an opportunity for rezoning requests to proceed in a more efficient manner by emphasizing the need for preparation by the applicant prior to submittal and by limiting changes once a request is under consideration by the city; and


• To reduce the length of time under consideration by the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council for some zoning proposals that would normally be tabled by the P&Z Commission or referred to the City Council’s Planning & Development Committee to provide time to address citizen concerns.


This requirement for mandatory meetings can and will help out the whole process in the long run.Let me give you a great example of what happens if you leave it like it is. There was a rezoning case off of Elm Street and Cornwallis Drive CLICKHERE back in December of 2008 where Greensboro City Council Member Robbie Perkins partner Stan Hope Johnson was trying to rezone this property. He knows the process but decided to sneak this one in at last minute and only had a meeting 1 week before the zoning case was to be presented. Here is what was said at the blog spot dedicated to this rezoning case, " Following neighborhood opposition at a poorly advertised meeting on December 1, the developers requested the Greensboro Zoning Commission postpone their hearing until January 12 at 2:00". Following a poorly advertised meeting was a understatement and to know that this was done by a partner of a sitting council member, priceless.

Here is the final product from High Point City Council on a required Citizen Information Meeting:

Citizen Information Meeting
(22 days prior to P&Z meeting)
This step is only required for zoning requests which include a Conditional Use Permit.
Applicants are required to notify owners of property within 300 feet of the proposed zoning site and conduct a citizen information meeting or meetings. The applicant shall submit to the citizens a written description of their development proposal and a statement, provided by the Planning & Development Department, outlining the purpose of the citizen information meeting and the zoning process. The purpose of the citizen information meeting is to allow the applicant the opportunity to inform citizens about their zoning proposal and to provide citizens the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the proposal prior to the public hearings.
Following the information meeting(s), and at least 22 days prior to the P&Z Commission meeting, the applicant is required to submit a citizen’s information meeting report. At a minimum, this report shall include the following:
Names & addresses of property owners notified and date & method of notification;
Date, time and location of the citizen information meeting(s);
Written description of the development proposal presented at the meeting; and
Any comments, ideas, or suggestions from citizens that were incorporated into the zoning proposal.

How does TREBIC try not to let this requirement happen in Greensboro. Let's stack the deck in our favor on the Land Development Ordinance Committee where David Wharton CLICKHERE who is also a member of this committee had this to say back in January of 2009.

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 BrownBrown Investment Properties (TREBIC member)
James Cox
Urban-Atlantic Builders
Mike Fox Attorney Tuggle Duggins and Meshan PA (TREBIC member company)
Dick Franks
Koury Corporation (TREBIC member)
Gary Hill
McAlpine Company
Jessica Marlies Environmental law attorney
Bob Powell North Carolina A&T University
Keith Price
Samet Corporation (TREBIC member)
Todd RangelCommercial real estate manager SunTrust Bank
Gary Rogers
Starmount Company (TREBIC member)
Todd Rotruck Independent Contractor
Mary Skenes
Yost and Little (TREBIC member)
Gary Wolf
Sparrow Wolf & Dennis, PA (TREBIC member)
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.

Even on Ed Cone's blog David Wharton had this to say.

This might interest you: I and others tried hard to get a "meet and confer" requirement written into the new ordinance, which would require a developer seeking a rezoning to meet with the neighbors beforehand and to report to the zoning commission the outcome of the meeting.
The best we could get was a requirement that developers must report to the zoning commission on their efforts to confer with neighbors, which means that if they didn't try to meet, they have to say that.

The "best we could get" which means when you stack the deck of TREBIC members on this committee and ever since 2005 they have wanted to deny Triad residents the requirement of meeting with adjoining property owners you will see what comes out as a final product. Neighborhoods all over Greensboro need to be aware of what is happening and to be aware of what is going on.You can make a difference by letting your city council member or future city council member know that you would like a requirement for the applicant in a zoning cases to meet with adjoining property owners it is called "meet and confer" or "citizen informational meeting".



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71 comments:

Fecund Stench said...

Great post. Prepare for the TREBIC trolls. They have a lot of time on their hands these days.

triadwatch said...

Thanks, can't wait for those comments

Neil said...

You should blame the legislators, not TREBIC. The legislators are the ones who write the laws.

Neil said...

" Following neighborhood opposition at a poorly advertised meeting on December 1, the developers requested the Greensboro Zoning Commission postpone their hearing until January 12 at 2:00". Following a poorly advertised meeting was a understatement and to know that this was done by a partner of a sitting council member, priceless." -- triad

What is wrong with this? What happened on January 12? The people opposed it and the developers acknowledged them by continuing the hearing. Sounds pretty fair. Why don't you use your protest petition to block this if you don't like it so much?

Alan said...

Who do you want on the committee? You do realize that almost every developer and real estate group is a member of Trebic. You have to have experienced real estate members on a commitee affecting real estate. All of those members you listed have a significant interest in the City of Greensboro (unlike you) and develop projects in hopes that the people will enjoy their product and buy it. Developers have been having and relying on citizen committee meetings all along, as evidenced by your quote above and the resultant developer postponment. When projects are encourage and developed in a good way, such as they have been for the past 6 years, our city benefits from the tax dollars which go the public and the enjoyment we get from turning vacant buildings and land into attractive and useable buildings.

Fecund Stench said...

Good luck paying those taxes on unsold/unrented property.

Jerry said...

Your premise rest on the fact that without mandated citizen meetings, we are all screwed. But we are not! Further, your entire article rest on the December 08 rezoning case. You have no proof that anyone tried to 'sneak the zoning by' and what's worse is that the meeting, which was not mandated, worked because the developer listned to the community and put off the project because it was opposed to. So, without the mandated meeting, a developer on December 8, held a meeting because he wanted feedback from the people, they gave it to him, and then he listned and called the project off (or at least postponed it. Imagine that.... a developer doing something that is not required of him or her. So you see, even without the mandate, developers care what the citizens think and that is why they had the meeting in December of 08 and why they continue to have them today. Again, you just distort the truth to make a crappy story. You need to prove that the system we have now is unfair to citizens. You can't. Things have been going quite well in our city. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Sure, there are things we can do better, but mandating citizen meetings for rezoning is worthless - especially after the new protest petition law. What do you want to get out of the meetings. They have no force. It's only a recomendation. What about where surrounding property is owned all by your "trebic buddies". There would be no purpose for these meetings. Your citizen meeting solution is just an obstacle that will have no effect on whether or not a developer can rezone. Don't you understand that the protest petition that you fought so hard for is in effect much stronger than a 'meeting report'.

Anonymous said...

Stench -- What the hell are you talking about? Good luck paying those taxes on unsold or unrented property? What does that even mean? We want property values to be higher. It creates more value. To create more value you have to develop intriguing projects that are in demand. That means your teepee will be worth more too! That means that the economy will prosper more. More development means more locations for people to open stores. Econ 101. Don't you want to increase our tax base so more tax dollars can go to pay for your welfare and all the other social welfare programs that GSO citizens have to pay for, jackass.

Fecund Stench said...

Try your parlor tricks in another city. We've had enough. You flatter yourselves the economic paradigm has not changed.

The electorate is ignorant and apathetic, rendering your tender mercies effective.

Flex your arms. Let GSO see just how strong you are. Real estate is no longer considered an investment-grade asset. You're done, toast, over.

Dave said...

"We've had enough? Who is we? Perhaps you, but not Keith. Remember, he's not a GSO citizen! Real estate not an investment grade asset? You've lost your mind. It is one of the few tangible investments out there. The value of land may be down, but I'm sure you have hear of "buy low, sell high". Do you own a house? Rent an apartment? Squat on someone else's land? Then you depend on real estate too. And if you had any mind, you would do what you could to see that the GSO is doing everything in its power to create legislation to increase the value of land and intice development. Remember how we got into this economic mess? The housing market collapsed which in turn, caused a collapse of every "intangible asset" (stocks). So, logically, the first "asset" we need to secure is the real estate and its' market. Value in land or equity is what drives individuals' ability to get loans to pay for businesses and create value for our citizens. What is it that you want, Stench? Please enlighten those of us that can't seem to grasp your position. How is the electorate ignorant (not that they are not), and what negative effect does their purported ignorance have on our city? Is there any good that comes from free market economics? Are would you prefere a socialist regime that disfavors the American Dream? How are people to make money in your "utopian society"? Please help me understand? Help everyone understand. It's very easy for you to attack, but it seems quite hard for you to give any explanation for your opposition to Adam Smith's proven 'economic hand'. Outlandish and extraordinary theories and positions require extraodinary proof. So let me have it. Where is your proof and explanation.

Fecund Stench said...

I want to watch you die and your children starve. Save for those, I'm simply trying to get you to understand that your way of thinking is moribund.

You want development in a society that is completely devoid of means to pay for it. We don't have any industry, blind man.

greenballer said...

The problem with you bloggers/turds is that you take little sound bytes such as this DRAFT ordinance and use it to fashion an entire government conspiracies. You forgot to read our current code of ordinances that requires that notice be published to all affected property owners. Meeting? Well, if you have a problem with the rezoning application, you show up at the damned zoning commission meeting and discuss it with the city. If you still have a problem, you appeal it. Why the hell do we need to add another meeting when there already is one?! Common sense. This is just more red tape to jump through for no gain.

AJ said...

TREBIC trolls? I am not a member of TREBIC. I am a concerned citizen of GSO (unlike Keith). I have no interest in TREBIC except that they are in a much better position than myself or anyone else to stimulate economic development and I would certainly appreciate if they would continue to make headway. They are doing a hell of a better job than Keith and his blogger friends. The majority of GSO citizen mostly like TREBIC. Keith, again, you wouldn't know that because your not a GSO citizen. Fechun Stinks, you bring nothing to the table but your stench.

Fecund Stench said...

Actually, we bring quite a lot of research and recent political traction.

It's not the real estate industry's fault their debt got securitized and leveraged to death. There'll still be old folks homes to build.

But we see a necessity to oppose a process too well in place directing local resources toward home buyers, renters and traffic which will never come.

Bud said...

Huh? Stench, do you speak english? None of what you said makes any sense. It wasn't the real estate industries fault that individuals were buying their homes and banks were lending the money to buy them. Is it the candy stores fault that its buyers are buying candy with money that's not theirs? No, they don't have a clue who's money it is nor do they care nor is it their duty to check to see where the buyers money is coming from. Local resources to home buyers, renters and traffic that will never come? That sentance contains a double negative. What does it mean to oppose a process that will never come? No need to oppose it if it never comes. It takes a "home" (apartment or any other residence) to be a citizen in any city. So yes, we want our resources going to home buyers because they are our citizens. Jesum, are you kidding me with this nonsense. You through a "big word" or two in there and feel smart, but in reality, you have no freaking clue what you are talking about. And nice dodge on your explanation and proof that's been asked of you.

Fecund Stench said...

Rapiered by a moron.

If credit dries up, houses can't be sold. That's because few people buy with cash.

We've gutted our industrial capacity. Service job wages don't make mortgage payments.

Let me know if any of this reaches Planet Stupid.

AJ said...

So tie that back into your argument that we need to "oppose a process too well in place directing local resources toward home buyers, renter and traffic which will never come" and "our electorate is pathetic" and the "draft LDO is stripping neighborhoods of their rights, thanks to Trebic" and "real estate is no longer an investment asset". That's how the art of arugment and persuasion works.

Anonymous said...

If real estate were not an investment grade asset, development would be dried up, but it's not. Further, we want development, it drives economies. We don't want the credit markets to dry up, for it will stifle development, thus putting a damper on the economy. If we mandate citizen meetings, that just puts another hurdle in an already stressed real estate industry. Is this what you want? What kind of city do you want to live in? One that has no development, no economic activity? We need to stimulate development and economic activity, not find ways to halt it. With the petition already in place, the required zoning commission hearings (in which the public is allowed and encouraged to attend), the zoning appeals board, and, finally, the right to appeal to district or superior court, we have no need for this added vice to those already in the real estate market, which also acts as a barrier to entry into for those hoping to get into the market. By real estate market, I mean anyone buying, renting, operating a business, developing vacant land or renovating current structures. Do you own a business? Do you own any property? Have you ever tried to rezone your property so that you can operate your business in an area that has been zoned 100 years ago and needs rezoning because it is out of touch with the current demographics of the area? Are you aware that all land was zoned rural at zoning's inception and thus was required to be rezoned so that businesses could operate in conformity with the laws. I venture to say that you haven't, or else you wouldn't slay the progress GSO has made in the past, nor would you disrespect your neighbor citizens who helped your city grow the way it has and the way most of us, except F'n stinks and Keith, hope it continues to grow. You two conspiracy clowns have not contributed any thing to this city. If you can't contribute stop your pathetic wheezing. It makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

Do you think that Ed Cone and Dr. Wharton like you associating their name with your CRAP?

Jerry said...

Second!

Anonymous said...

Fecund Stench, are you even a GSO citizen? Are you neighbors with Keith?

Namaste said...

I love how the author of this blog only responds to posts by deleting them or by name calling (which he usually deletes). Does anyone else see anything wrong with this whole scenario? I haven't seen any good responses to these, often, great comments.

Fecund Stench said...

I am a resident of D3. We own two homes here and a couple of businesses.

KB was raised here and has family all over town.

KB concerns himself with transparent governance.

I, OTOH, am a thoroughly ruthless fucker.

triadwatch said...

The elm street cornwallis neighborhood were already aware of where the process of bringing back the protest petition in this case was but to have this case come up right before the state session started was a gift. We also have the other gift from robbie perkins who was the deciding vote on a rezoning case off of friendly avenue where it was a 5-3 for approval and a whole neighborhood none too happy to know that if they had this same case 5 miles away it would have been a different outlook with a city who had protest petition

There has been plenty of issues in the zoning process from garden lakes , rehobeth church road with keystone companies, lawndale and lake jeanette, wedding planner on new garden, fleming road, kirkwood, lindley neighborhood, westridge road and on and on.

There was also a case where kim reittinger wanted to rezone property off of new garden road and barely spoke to the neighborhood about this case she made them go through the whole process down to the city council meeting to have her withdraw the case that night. If this person would have met with the neighborhood it wouldn't have came to that step and made plenty of people mad in the process as well.

Below is what was said on a post back in 2008

Time to add another ridiculous rezoning case to be appealed to the Greensboro City Council when it got a 9-0 denial from the Greensboro Zoning Board. On October 13, 2008 it is case number z-08-10-003. Below it the actual case


Z-08-10-003 1302 New Garden Road (East of New Garden Road and south of
Belvidere Place) – An ordinance rezoning from RS-12
(Residential-Single Family) to CD-RM-8 (Conditional District-
Residential-Multi Family) with the following conditions:
1) All exterior lighting shall be directed towards interior of
property.
2) Buildings shall be limited to 3 stories above ground
level.
3) Access limited to one curb cut on New Garden Road.
– for a portion of the property located at 1302 New Garden
Road (0.84 Acres)
– for Kim Reittinger (Sheet 166)



________________________________________________________



During the presentation to the Greensboro Zoning Commission here is what TRIADWATCH talked about in a earlier post on how neighborhoods are not being notified in zoning cases.



Zack Matheny Greensboro City Council Member also stated that neighborhoods are involved in the process.If you have seen some of these zoning cases lately that is not the case.



For example, Kim Reittinger brought up a rezoning case off of New Garden Road in front of the zoning commission on October 13, 2008 she stated that she had spoke to neighbors, no one opposing it, which was a lie to the zoning commission and to note she didn't have a neighborhood meeting at all. Come to find out from a representative on robinridge road and the turner hills neighborhood almost 101 out of 108 homes were against this rezoning case and their presentation showed a colored map of all the homes against this zoning case .

There are instances like this one as well above where a lot could have been accomplished if they had a meeting before the zoning commission but as you can see the applicant went through the whole process and withdrawing it the night of council meeting.

Nice try on the non vested interest as robbie perkins would call me, TREBIC already tried to make that argument in the protest petition for greensboro issue and failed.

Thanks for all the comments that have been a part of this post and will delete one's that don't have any part being posted at all.

TriadWatchTruth said...

Keith, your article and analysis are incorrect.

First, GSO has no citizen meeting requirement as of today.

Second, the document that you have posted above, which is the 7-21-2009 LDO draft proposal, in fact, does not take away any power of the neighborhoods, as you claim. Rather it strengthens it. If you read Section 30-4 1.2 of the Draft, it requires property owners who submit a rezoning application to notice and meet with neighborhoods within a 600 foot buffer.

Third, the 600 foot buffer is greater than High Point's requirement, and thus more protective of neighborhood's rights. So, your incorrect to suggest that High Point has more protection from rezoning in comparison to the Draft LDO.

Fourth, only property seeking rezoning that does not have a neighborhood within 600 feet of it is exempt from the neighborhood communication requirement.

Fifth, perhaps you are lost in translation, but, 'Neighborhood communication summary', 'citizen informational meeting' and 'meet and confer' serve the same purpose and mean the same thing. Essentially, all three require anyone seeking to rezone their property to communicate with adjacent neighborhoods/citizens prior to the first zoning commission hearing. At the hearing, the commission determines whether or not to "hear" the case based on whether or not the notice given by the applicant to affected property owners was sufficient. Additionally, the commission will use the minutes of the meeting as a factor in its decision. Bear in mind, however, that a mandate to "meet and confer" is no bar to granting the rezoning application (whereas the protest petition is). Thus, you must ask yourself whether or not these meeting are a waste of time given their lack of force and the current notice requirements listed in the Code.

Sixth, keeping in mind that there is no neighborhood communication requirement codified today, the effect of the Draft would be to place an added notice requirement on developers who wish to rezone property within 600 feet of a neighborhood(s).

Seventh, despite the fact that there is no current mandate, developers often meet with neighborhoods on rezoning applications. December 8, 2008 is a great example, as you have already illustrated, but that meeting was not mandated. -Continued below

TriadWatchTruth said...

Finally, there is a multitude of opportunities for voicing your concerns and seeking redress for zoning map changes that you are in opposition to. In addition to the Draft's neighborhood communication requirement, notice of any rezoning application submitted is required to be given by the city. To effectuate that notice, the city posts up zoning signs and often publishes the notice in newspapers. Following the public notice requirements, citizens/neighborhoods have ample opportunity to voice their opinion on the application. Most importantly, citizens/neighborhoods may execute a protest petition that, if containing 5% of adjacent property owners within 100 feet of the subject property, can quash the application. In addition, citizens/neighborhoods may appear before the commission to seek a continuance, speak in opposition of the application, support it, or
otherwise be present at the proceedings. Thereafter, the commission votes, and if affected property owners are dissatisfied, they may appeal to the zoning board of appeals. If the board of appeals fails to render the decision that the citizens/neighborhoods desire, they may appeal the zoning board of appeals decision to District or Superior Court. If the first tier court does not return the desired opinion, the affected citizen/neighborhood may appeal the District/Superior Court decision to the NC Court of Appeals. If the Court of Appeals does not
give you the desired result, then you may appeal that judgment to the NC Supreme Court. If the NC Supreme Court still does not decide in favor of the citizen/neighborhood, the citizens/neighborhood may appeal the NC Supreme Court Decision to the United States Supreme Court. If you loose at the US Supreme Court level, then your options for redress or exhausted.

The reason I point out each and every step that a displeased citizen/neighborhood has to voice and or oppose his or her opinion in the zoning process is to illustrate how extraneous the citizen meeting requirement really is. As you now understand, the forums for objection are numerous. I'm not saying that meeting with citizens/neighborhoods prior to rezoning is a bad thing. In fact, it has been successful in the past, but without a mandate. I simply want to reiterate that your analysis is inaccurate, mainly the effect of the Draft LDO and the protection that it will afford neighborhoods within 600 feet of a rezoning application.

At some point, we, as a community, have to balance a property owner's (residential, mom and pop business, or conglomerate developer) right to use his/her land as he/she pleases against a neighbors right to tell a property owner how to use his/her land. Would you appreciate your neighbor telling you what you can or can't do on your own property? Since the New York enacted the first zoning regulation in United States history, the list of impediments on our property rights continues to grow at a stark rate. At some point we have to draw the line.

Dave said...

So, essentially, notice is already required to be given to affected property owners in rezoning cases. Why don't we just enforce the rule that is already there?

triadwatch said...

triad truth watch, first of all we know that they don't have a requirement for greensboro. As you can see as well there has been cases just this past year that issues have arised because of this issue.

Can i reiterate the objectives of having a required meeting before it ever gets to the planning or zoning commission as was said in high point pros and cons on having a required meeting in the above post under objectives

I don't want to get in to the whole process of what happened to us against a TREBIC company but believe me in saying that having that required meeting set in motion a very long and hard process that did have the power of protest petitions and plenty of conditions put on the property as well because it was abutting single family residential property.

Let me also add that in high point they take the adjoining properties property lines as the starting point not the actual property being rezoned then go from there.

Triad truth watch let me give you a example. There was the wedding planner on new garden road where they were rezoning the front of the property . The city of greensboro took 600 feet from the rezoned property and there was neighbors who actually abutted the property line but never got a notification. Do you think it is fair to have a property owner who actually abuts the property not even get a notification? To me no, they should be sending notification from the property lines then 600 feet. If you want another flaw in the notification process in greensboro there is one right there.

Anonymous said...

So TREBIC really influenced this draft, right? And this draft gives neighborhoods more protection? Keith, you need to get it straight before you slam Trebic.

TriadWatchTruth said...

Your article certainly did not make it clear that you knew there was no current meeting requirement. In part because you fail to acknowledge that the Draft gives more protection than what's already enacted. Further, you slam Trebic, when it's plainly obvious that the Draft was created in favor of more notice requirements for the citizens/neighborhoods in GSO. So, you didn't make it clear that you knew anything.

If the beginning point of measurement is an issue, then raise it. But the Draft states, "600 feet from the property". No matter which way you interpret that, it can be no farther than the outermost boundary of the subject property. Again, that is something that is addressable under the current system and does not necessitate a citizen meeting, seeing as the meetings are to discuss whether or not the rezoning is proper. To address whether all property owners affected were included, you would challenge the notice as improper at either or all of the following: the commission, board of appeals and all levels of the courts.

Anonymous said...

Is it just impossible for you to admit that Trebic did something you favor - citizen meeting requirements for adjacent neighborhoods? In all your other posts, you say that Trebic slanted the process to take away rights of citizens. You cannot dispute that they support your cause in this situation. I mean, its okay to disagree with a group on some things, but THEY ARE ON YOUR SIDE in on this issue.

triadwatch said...

this is a opinion not a article.

as i have said in the post TREBIC says that they are against mandatory meetings with adjoining property owners . They are against mandatory meetings with adjoining property owners straight from their own mouths ron guerra, marlene sanford and keith price.

You can also note that a member of the committee tried to get a meet and confer in this case would be before it gets to the zoning commission.

I will bet my bottom dollar that there was meetings well before this committee started to meet where there was certain objectives on what not to have in this rewrite and one of them was not to have a mandatory requirement to meet with the surrounding property owners.

Plenty of major cities in NC have mandatory meetings as a part of the process and i think it is time for Greensboro to have it as well.

Anonymous said...

The rewrite includes mandatory citizen meetings!

Anonymous said...

If Trebic is against mandatory meetings, why did the slanted committee that includes a majority of Trebic members draft this proposal to include mandatory meetings?

triadwatch said...

the rewrite does not include mandatory meetings if you would see in section c (A) it states the efforts to notify, not a mandatory meeting.

The rewrite should have a mandatory meeting at least 22 days prior to the zoning meeting .

TriadWatchTruth said...

Keith, I am fascinated by you inaccuracy. In an effort to conceal the truth, it seems you only included one page of the rewrite so that you could fashion better attack on TREBIC. If you would continue reading through page 4-50 you will see that you are completely wrong.

Keith, you are referring to Section 30-4-1.2 which does not discuss the requirements of the meeting. It only discusses the information that one is required to present to the Planning Director 24 hours prior to the hearing. However, if you would read on, you will quickly discover that if you submit an application to amend the zoning map, you MUST have a citizen meeting, to which you then must report on to the Director.

Look at Section 30-4-3.5(A) and (B) on page 4-7. Section (B)(1) pertains to Comprehensive Zoning Amendments with Zoning Map Amendments and provides that, "Before reviewing a plan amendment that is accompanied by a zoning map amendment, the Planning Board must consider any recomendations from the Planning Director and MUST CONDUCT A PUBLIC HEARING." Section 30-4-3.5(B)(2) then provides that, "Notice and public hearing requirements MUST BE PROVIDED in accordance with Section 30-4-1.4."

Now, back up to page 4-3 or "Notice" requirements and see Section 30-4-1.4(A) and (B)(1). These provisions state that notice is required to be published, mailed and posted for any zoning map amendment. That means, follow me now, that notice must be published, posted and sent by mail to, pursuant to Section30-4-1.4(B)( 2)(b), to any property owner within 600 feet of the subject property seeking rezoning at least two successive weeks prior to the hearing but no more than 25 days in advance of the first zoning commission hearing. There is even a nice table to help you understand more clearly.

If you still are having problems understanding, you should see page 4-42, where the rewrite provides a nice little graph to make things easier for people like you to understand.

For all those who wish to see the entire ordinance and the truth, see the following website:

http://www.greensboro-nc.gov/departments/Planning/ordinance/rewrite.htm

Dave said...

By the way, the requirement for the public notice of those within 600 feet and the public hearing is separate from the zoning commission hearing in which the public is encouraged to attend. Following, there is still a city council hearing for comprehensive plan amendments where the public can again present its comments. Following, there is the court system, as Truth has pointed out already.

Anonymous said...

The ordinance also provides for the "meet and confer" or public hearing much in advance of the commission hearing.

triadwatch said...

what do i need to explain to you i know that what you are saying is what is happening now. They do send out notices to the neighborhood before the zoning commission.

I am saying that they need to have a mandatory meeting with the neighborhood well before it gets to the zoning commission.

I know the rules guys it is not like our neighborhood hasn't done this not once but twice against the same company.

Everything you say is business as usual.

Then please explain to me why TREBIC wants to not MANDATE REQUIRED MEETINGS prior to the zoning commission?

ALso Triad Truth Watch since you know so much about this than come out of hiding.Show who you really are which if i could take a guess probably a zoning lawyer maybe take a wild guess and say derek allen.

Jerry said...

Umm, what Truth stated is the proposal from the rewrite. It contains a NEW AND MANDATORY neighborhood meeting requirement. Trebic was hugely involved with the rewrite and, as you claim, slanted the process. Why then is there this NEW NEIGBORHOOD REQUIRED MEETING in the draft proposal. That is not business as usual. It is an extra meeting required to be had prior to the zoning commission meeting. Just read the draft, and more than the one page that you cite. This is a new requirement. And you have not done this "twice" because its a new ordinance with new requirements--the mandated citizen meeting. So, if Trebic was so terrible and has sooo much influence, why did the rewrite come out with a MANDATED NEIGHBORHOOD meeting? Your impossible.

Alan said...

Keith, I hate to say it, but you are flat wrong on this issue. Concede already. This rewrite changes the notice and public meeting requirements that you claim are not there. I mean, your article is named, "neighborhoods will not get a fair shake in the zoning process, thanks to TREBIC". That statement is entirely wrong. Neighborhoods, under this new ordinance will in fact, as everyone keeps trying to tell you, get more rights and more opportunity to participate in the zoning amendment process. What the heck is wrong with you? It's plainly obvious. Just read the ordinance.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely hate that TREBIC has so much influence, but, sadly they are right. The fact of the matter is that, despite Keith's desire to slam everyone who has influence, TREBIC did have a huge amount of influence on this rewrite and because of it, neighborhoods will gain a much better voice if this draft is passed. TREBIC hasn't done any good for me ever before, but I am not going to lie and act like what the have done here helps me and everyone else in my neighborhood out. No one has to like them, but you don't have to ignore this or slant the truth. TREBIC overall still sucks, but I'll take anything I get that's in our favor.

Zaney said...

You obviously don't know the rules Keith!

triadwatch said...

i have read the ordinance and there is not one place where there is a mandatory requirement for the applicant to meet with the surrounding property owners

3-4-3.5 deals with planning board, i am talking about zoning commission and in it there is still no mandatory meeting

where in 3-4-1.4 does it have a mandatory meeting with neighbors, because it doesn't. That whole section is the same as it always has been.

As i have said before in the post please tell me where there is a mandatory meeting REQUIRED in this rewrite because as i have said before . Back in 2005 TREBIC tried this in High Point

"Speakers expressing opposition to and concerns about this request were Mr. Keith Price, 3907 Gisbourne Drive, Jamestown (TREBIC MEMBER), Mr. Ron Guerra, 4476 Kendale Road (TREBIC MEMBER) and Ms. Marlene Sanford, 1830 Eastchester Drive (President of TREBIC). All of the speakers were opposed to requiring a mandatory neighborhood meeting and submitting a report on this meeting. It was noted that this is something that most responsible developers are already doing, but it should not be mandatory for all requests."

What you also see is this as the final product in High Point.
Citizen Information Meeting
(22 days prior to P&Z meeting)
This step is only required for zoning requests which include a Conditional Use Permit.
Applicants are required to notify owners of property within 300 feet of the proposed zoning site and conduct a citizen information meeting or meetings. The applicant shall submit to the citizens a written description of their development proposal and a statement, provided by the Planning & Development Department, outlining the purpose of the citizen information meeting and the zoning process. The purpose of the citizen information meeting is to allow the applicant the opportunity to inform citizens about their zoning proposal and to provide citizens the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the proposal prior to the public hearings.
Following the information meeting(s), and at least 22 days prior to the P&Z Commission meeting, the applicant is required to submit a citizen’s information meeting report. At a minimum, this report shall include the following:
Names & addresses of property owners notified and date & method of notification;
Date, time and location of the citizen information meeting(s);
Written description of the development proposal presented at the meeting; and
Any comments, ideas, or suggestions from citizens that were incorporated into the zoning proposal.

While we are at it this is from the charlotte planning web site

Rezoning Process In Charlotte-Mecklenburg
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department -

This describes the process of applying for a Rezoning. The process includes:

Submitting a formal application and filing fee

A mandatory meeting between the petitioner and nearby residents, for conditional zoning requests only.

Review and recommendation by Planning Department staff
An open public forum
A public hearing in front of the elected officials and the Zoning Committee of the Planning Commission
A recommendation from the Zoning Committee
A final decision by elected officials

Please tell me in this whole rewrite where there is a MANDATORY MEETING with the nearby residents. It is not there.

triadwatch said...

while you are all reading the ldo please proceed to 30-4-5.8 and while you are at it thank TREBIC for trying to deny this to the citizens of Greensboro as well.

David Wharton said...

TriadTruthWatch: Section 30-4-3.5(A) and (B) is not new, and does not mandate a "neighborhood meeting" as that phrase is usually understood. It mandates a public hearing, which is held on the day of the zoning commission meeting. This provision, and the one for notifying nearby property owners within 600 feet of the public hearing are the same as the current ordinance.

A "neighborhood meeting" is usually conceived as one held between the developer and the neighborhood well before the public hearing -- it is an exchange of views between private parties. The proposed ordinance does not mandate any such meetings. It only mandates that the party seeking a rezoning must submit a report to the planning director describing his efforts to meet with neighbors. If he/she didn't make any efforts, then that's what gets reported.

TriadTruthWatch, are you Paula Sloneker?

Anonymous said...

Keith, your post as "David Wharton" is an impersonation and subject to legal ramifications. I demand that you remove that post immediately. The orange "B" besides "David Wharton" indicates that the publisher of the Blog is authoring a particular post. If you do not comply I will seek all available legal remedies.

TriadWatchTruth said...

For everyone's convenience, I am going to provide you the current GSO zoning Code of Ordinances in relevant part:

30-4-3.5. Phased development.
(A) General Requirements: Planned unit developments may be developed in phases provided the following requirements are met:
(1) All phases shall be shown on the Unified Development Plan and numbered;
(2) Open space and common facilities shall be included such that at any given phase of development the cumulative area of open space in all recorded phases and the total number of dwelling units and the gross land area devoted to nonresidential land uses approved in those phases comply with subsection 30-4-3.3(I) (Open Space and Common Recreational Facilities); and
(3) The phasing shall be consistent with the traffic circulation, drainage, and utilities plans for the overall planned unit development.
(B) Final Plat Approval: No Final Plat for a phase of a planned unit development shall be approved unless:
(1) All open space and common facilities included in previous phases have been conveyed and/or completed; and
(2) There is no violation of the Unified Development Plan or Conditional Zoning District in any previous phase.
(Ord. No. 91-145, § 1, 11-27-91; Ord. No. 93-136, § 7, 11-15-93; Ord. No. 99-152, § 3, 9-21-99; Ord. No. 03-101, § 27, 5-6-03)

TriadWatchTruth said...

30-4-3.4. Procedures.
(A) Rezoning to a Conditional - Planned Unit Development District:
(1) Prior to submitting an application for rezoning to a CD-PD District the applicant shall submit a Sketch Plan prepared in accordance with Appendix 2 (Map Standards) that also includes:
(a) The general location and amount of land proposed for single-family residential, multifamily residential, office, commercial, industrial, open space/recreation, and street use;
(b) The number of dwelling units or gross floor area and the acreage of each tract or area shown on the Sketch Plan;
(c) The maximum height of buildings and structures in each such tract or area;
(d) The location and amount of land in special flood hazard areas and any other lands not suitable for development; and
(e) Proposed watershed protection measures, including their general location, if the development is within a Watershed Critical Area District or a General Watershed Area District.
(2) The Technical Review Committee shall review this Sketch Plan for consistency with the requirements of Article VI (Subdivisions: Procedures and Standards) and other applicable standards in this Ordinance. The Technical Review Committee, upon finding such consistency, shall approve the Sketch Plan for submission to the Zoning Commission in combination with a rezoning application. If the Sketch Plan is not approved for submission, it shall be returned to the applicant with written reasons for disapproval and/or requests for further information. The applicant may then revise and resubmit the Sketch Plan.

TriadWatchTruth said...

(3) The rezoning application shall consist of the following materials:
(a) A rezoning application prepared in accordance with Section 30-3-13 (Conditional Zoning Districts).
(b) The Sketch Plan approved by the Technical Review Committee for submission. This Sketch Plan constitutes a map-based presentation of proposed zoning conditions attached to the Conditional Zoning District application. It does not constitute a Conditional Zoning Site Plan as required by Section 30-3-14.3 (Submission of Site Plans).
(c) A Transportation Impact Study (TIS) in accordance with Section 30-3-20 (Transportation Impact Study (TIS)).
(4) The completed application shall be processed in accordance with Article III (Permits and Procedures).
(5) Approval of the rezoning application establishes the maximum density/intensity, maximum height, and general location of each use of each tract or area shown on the Sketch Plan.
(6) Any proposed change in use, increase in density/intensity, decrease in open space and common recreational facilities, or substantial change in the location of permitted uses or streets from what is shown on the approved Sketch Plan shall be deemed a major change requiring an amendment of the Conditional Zoning District in accordance with Article III. Factors to be considered by the Enforcement Officer in determining if a change is substantial include, but are not limited to, the extent of the locational change and the expected impact on properties adjacent to the planned unit development.
(B) Unified Development Plan Approval:
(1) The applicant shall submit a Unified Development Plan for approval by the Planning Board. The Unified Development Plan and all subsequent preliminary plats and site plans pursuant to it constitute Conditional Zoning Site Plans as required by Section 30-3-13.2(F) (Submission of Site Plans).
(2) The Unified Development Plan shall contain the following materials:
(a) The Sketch Plan with proposed phase lines, if any;
(b) Land use, density/intensity, and traffic data required in Section 30-4-3.4(A) above;
(c) Common Sign Plan in accordance with Section 30-4-3.3(F) (Signs); and
(d) Documents which specify proposed setbacks or other regulations governing building placement, and other information which the Planning Board may deem pertinent to plan approval. The applicant may use district regulations provided by this Ordinance or may propose regulations unique to his development. In no case shall the Unified Development Plan leave any area proposed for development unregulated.
(3) The Enforcement Officer shall review the Unified Development Plan for consistency with the Sketch Plan and for compliance with all applicable provisions of this Ordinance.
(4) The Sketch Plan, Common Sign Plan, and documents specified in Subsection (B)2)d) above shall be recorded in the Office of the County Register of Deeds after Unified Development Plan approval and prior to any conveyance of the property, or portion thereof, or Final Plat recordation.

TriadWatchTruth said...

Pay particular attention to 30-4-3.5(A) and (B). Please show me where the current Ordinance requires any 600 foot notice requirement and mandated neighborhood meeting?

triadwatch said...

"Keith, your post as "David Wharton" is an impersonation and subject to legal ramifications. I demand that you remove that post immediately. The orange "B" besides "David Wharton" indicates that the publisher of the Blog is authoring a particular post. If you do not comply I will seek all available legal remedies."

Nice try but if you ever know how this all works David Wharton also has a blogspot as well that is why the b is beside his name. Take all the legal ramifications you can but you being anonymous takes the cake for trying legal redemies.

It was the real david wharton, i have been in a meeting since 6:00 pm till 8:00 pm try that one in court. Good luck

TriadWatchTruth said...

Mr. Wharton: I understand what you are saying. However, my point is that there currently is not a mandated neighborhood meeting prior to the Planning Hearing and having one is extraneous. The new draft, presents neighbors within 600 feet of the subject property with an opportunity to argue at the Planning Hearing that there was not any "neighborhood meeting/discussion" in conformity with Section 3-4-1.2. Whether or not it is mandated under the new draft is not my argument. I simply wanted to point out that we already have a mandated "neighborhood meeting" at several levels of the zoning process - planning and council hearings. The Planning Hearing already serves as a "neighborhood meeting" that Section 30-4-1.2 alludes to. Why would we add yet another piece of red tape to the process? The 600 foot notice requirement is enough in conjunction with the required planning hearing. Why is there a need to force property owners to have another neighborhood meeting? Why not 3 or 4? When do we draw the line? As Keith notes, many developers seeking to rezone property already confront neighbors prior to the Planning Hearing, resulting in successful dialogue. However, mandating dialogue does not mandate action. If we require a meeting, what is that meeting going to do? A developer/property owner who is forced to hold a meeting with his neighbors is forced only to "hold a meeting"; he is not bound to follow his neighbors input. Their input is simply "input".

AJ said...

BTW, Anon, it is incredibly evident that Wharton's comment was not Keith! Keith doesn't clearly write that good!

greenballer said...

Lol. Keith wishes he could impersonate him!

David Wharton said...

Anon, I am indeed David Wharton. The "B" next to my name just shows that I have my own blog on blogger.com.

TriadWatchTruth, here's the reason for a neighborhood meeting. The current notification procedures do let nearby property owners know that a rezoning has been proposed by sending them a small green postcard, but it does not tell them the nature and scope of the project. Lots of people say they don't notice the postcards.

If some neighbors do come to the public hearing, they will hear for the very first time what is being proposed, and in many cases, the zoning commission will make its ruling at the same meeting.

So, suppose that someone wants to build an all-night self-storage building in your residential neighborhood. You get a postcard in the mail saying that a property near you is applying for a rezoning. Maybe you and a couple of other property owners show up for the meeting.

The developer comes to the public meeting with an experienced lawyer -- usually one who has professional connections with the members of the zoning commission -- who presents a slick powerpoint presentation showing nice but misleading visuals of how the project will be totally screened from the neighborhood. He argues that this area will be going commercial soon anyway, and says this project fits in with the city's Comprehensive Plan. He gives the zoning commission a slick, bound document with color photos and text making his case.

The two or three neighbors who show up are caught completely flat-footed. They don't have any facts at hand to show that the lawyer's presentation was misleading. The zoning commission is inclined to listen to the developer, who they probably know, and the lawyer, with whom they probably have done, and will do, business.

The rezoning passes, and a nice residential neighborhood gets an all-night self-storage business that doesn't serve the neighbors and brings crime. Property values decline, homeowners lose equity, but the developer makes money.

Now, this is admittedly a worst-case scenario. But similar scenarios do get played out all the time.

A meet-and-confer ordinance that required the developer to meet with neighbors and explain his project well before the public hearing at least gives the neighborhood a chance to discuss the rezoning, organize if need be, and come to the public hearing armed with their own facts and arguments.

David Wharton said...

P.S. For future reference: the proposed ordinance has been completely reorganized and renumbered, so the ref. numbers in the old ordinance are pretty useless when trying to find comparable provisions in the new one.

TriadWatchTruth said...

I've heard your argument before. Perhaps at the county commission meeting in connection with the proposed Fleming Road storage facility? Do you remember the outcome of that case? To be clear, this case proceeded under the current ordinance which does not mandate a citizen kumbaya. To refresh your memory, the developer withdrew his application after the planning commission hearing. What am I missing here? Further, I have never been to a hearing where a citizen has opposed a rezoning where the board/council hasn't granted a continuance in recognition of fairness to those who need to arm themselves with better prepared arguments. Perhaps we just disagree. But, I challenge you to show me where an industrial building such as the Fleming Road case was allowed in a residential neighborhood, as you put it. In your theoretical world as a professor, I understand the need to be proactive and think in "worse case scenarios". However, in reality, situations like the one you describe are extremely rare. When something like a storage facility in a neighborhood is proposed, there is always a mass outcry followed by numerous continuances and hearings. The result is nearly 99% of the times going to result in either a denial or withdrawal of the rezoning application, just like it did in the Fleming case. The other 1%, can be dealt with using the almighty "protest petition".

P.S. - I understand the proposed ordinance has been reorganized, but when you stated "Section 30-4-3.5(A) and (B) is not new" I wanted you to know, for future reference that, under the Draft, Section 30-4-3.5(A) and (B) is different than our current ordinance and therefore "new". It also adds notice elements that are "wholly new" in comparison to the current LDO.

TriadWatchTruth said...

In our realistic world the "pig in a parlor" or industrial building in a single family residential area rarely comes up. When it does, its almost always quashed. More often, we see rezoning applications on fringe area property that is zoned, for example, light industrial when adjacent property is zoned, for example heavy industrial. to similarly situated buildings. If residents don't take the time to try and read and understand the "green zoning cards", do you really think they are going to come to a developer initiated or mandated meeting?

Alan said...

'Oh snap' says the Truth man...

Leo said...

That's a great point, Truth. I doubt citizens who don't pay attention to the cards will ever get off the couch to attend a mandatory meeting, especially if the meetings will have no binding effect. Why not just save your argument for the council. There has to be a line drawn somewhere. The developers who don't want the advice of their neighbors usually don't last long. After all, their goal is to build what's profitable, and what's profitable is what is in demand.

David Wharton said...

"I have never been to a hearing where a citizen has opposed a rezoning where the board/council hasn't granted a continuance in recognition of fairness to those who need to arm themselves with better prepared arguments."

Which only means the current board is inclined to favor pre-hearing meetings with neighborhoods. Future boards are not bound to do this.

Please spare me the "theoretical world" stuff. Rezonings affect me just as they do any other property owner. My professional pursuits have nothing to do with my work with the LDO CAT.

triadWatchTruth said...

No, but, with all due respect, they affect your thought process in such a way that does not reflect reality. Future boards aren't bound to do as they did in the Fleming case, but neither was the Fleming Board nor the previous boards that didn't allow such things like a slaughter house in downtown!

You ideas are great, but not this one. I fail to see why we need to fix something that already works. Again, show me the "pig in the parlor", that wasn't estopped nor can be enjoined under our current system. My impression is that you want to bog down progress with more unnecessary and inefficient standards.

Where is the balance? When do you draw the line? Is the citizen kumbaya going to solve zoning problems? Never. The list of current redress avenues is quite long as is. Why do need these meetings if they are, as the Fleming case proves, completely unnecessary. Do you like bureaucratic red tape? As the Fleming case proved, your objective was achieved without this extra meeting requirement.

AJ said...

How is it that the Fleming Board came to the right decision without a mandated citizen neighborhood discussion?

greenballer said...

It was the special interest groups! They paid em all off with "land swap" deals!!! Right Keith!?

Namaste said...

Truth, you do realize that Keith and Wharton and all those that share his view have the easy argument. Its hard to argue against 'more citizen rights' and 'utopian bliss' ect, but its good to see that someone choose reality and acknowledge that what sounds all mushy and feel good, isn't always the best solution. Where did property rights go to in this discussion. Before long, you will be able to tell your neighbor what color to paint his house!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Namaste, that possibility is just around the corner for downtown Greensboro... Many zoning ordinances already permit aesthetic zoning regulations that include color, among a number of other things.

Anonymous said...

I get Wharton's argument, but where is the proof? Truth, your right, we can "theorize" all day long, but there is no evidence to back it up. I mean the Fleming guys somehow made the right decision without having this meeting. we always think that the person rezoning is always a rich developer. i recently rezoned property to operate a small store and don't think i could afford to take the time and extra costs to have yet another meeting when i already had to go through several meetings that took months to complete. i bet this added requirement would add more time before i could open up. i had hardly any neighbors around, but this meeting would have been worthless to me. My neighbors and I dont get along and I wouldn't have listened to them anyway.

David Wharton said...

I should clarify one thing. I support the proposed ordinance as it is written, including the provision for reporting efforts made to meet with neighbors. It is a reasonable compromise worked out after a LOT of discussion on the committee. Our concern was not to force developers to hold more meetings, but to make sure surrounding property owners get timely and accurate information about how a rezoning might affect them and their property values. I don't see that as utopian or theoretical -- especially, as Keith points out, since plenty of municipalities already use similar ordinances.

Bubba said...

Amazing the babble, dribble, drool and spew the "Business As Usual" crowd comes up with in an attempt to defend the indefensible.

Keep up the pressure, Keith. The effort to neutralize the damage the cabal is causing is progressing well.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wharton, I would say your right in that we shouldn't force meetings. We all, including Trebic, would like to see the notice requirements toughened as well.

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