Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Elm Street and Cornwallis Rezoning is a Complete Mess, Dump 2-21 of Greensboro Code of Ordinance

UPDATE UPDATE: This rezoning case has been postponed till February 2, 2010 Greensboro City Council meeting for a full advertised agenda item.

The Greensboro City Council on today's agenda #8 which is the rezoning request for 2207-2209 North Elm Street and 106-108 West Cornwallis Drive . Let's take a look at a little background on this rezoning case . Below is from the council agenda with attachments.

Following a public hearing on October 12, 2009 the Zoning Commission's recommendation was for approval by a 4-3 vote. 2 residents spoke in favor and 4 spoke in opposition to this approval.Pursuant to the public hearing on November 17, 2009 this request was denied by a vote of 3 in favor of and 4 against (a valid PROTEST PETITION had been filed for this request). On December 15, 2009 a reconsideration motion for this request was approved by the City Council and therefore the City Council will conduct another public hearing on January 5, 2010 to reconsider this request. New public notifications will be made prior to this new hearing.

Let's take a look at how this action came about during the last council meeting on November 17, 2009 here is some of the minutes from the meeting. Now look at what happened at the end of this where Greensboro City Council member Zack Matheny  changed his vote after a recess of council, slick move for your golfing buddy.

Councilmember Wade moved adoption of the ordinance and stated that the Greensboro City Council believes that its action to approve the zoning amendment, located north of West Cornwallis Drive and west of North Elm Street from RS-12 to CD-RM-12 to be consistent with the adopted Connections 2025 Comprehensive Plan and considers the action taken to be reasonable and in the public interest for the following reasons: it promotes compact development, it promotes mixed income neighborhoods (Policy 6A.2); it promotes new patterns and intensities of use to increase economic competitiveness and enhance quality of life in urban areas (Policy 4C). The motion was seconded by Councilmember Barber; the ordinance was adopted on the following roll call vote: Ayes: Barber, Groat, Matheny and Wade. Noes: Bellamy-Small, Johnson, and Wells.

(A copy of Mr. Stratton‘s handout is marked Exhibit R-21 and is referenced herein and made a part of these minutes.)


Mayor Johnson declared a recess at 9:44 p.m.


Council reconvened at 10:03 p.m. with all members in attendance except Councilmembers Rakestraw and Wade.


Upon reconvening, Councilmember Matheny stated that after he had spoken with the City Attorney and City Clerk, that he wished to change his vote on Item #12 to a ―No‖ vote. Upon no objections from Council, Mayor Johnson stated that the ordinance rezoning classification from RS-12 (Residential-Single Family) to CD-RM-12 (Conditional District-Residential Multi-Family property located at 2207-2209 North Elm Street and 106-108 West Cornwallis Drive, generally described as north of West Cornwallis Drive and west of North Elm Street had failed. City Attorney Wood stated that the item would not come back before Council.

Somehow there is a ordinance where you as a council member can bring up a vote previously denied by council. There is also another Greensboro ordinance where if you don't get 6 votes then it automatically comes in front of council again at the next council meeting to cast another vote. These 2 ordinances need to get more scrutiny where now the citizens have the right to Protest Petitions.If i were a neighborhood who went in front of council and the rezoning case got denied but now we have a councilman change his vote then get it resubmitted close to a month and a half later, not fair and not right.Could be a great challenge in a court setting.

More background on this rezoning case can be found on a post during the November council meeting from the birthplace of triadwatch in "protest petition for greensboro" web site with a title "Greensboro City Council Member Zack Matheny has a Golfing Buddy, Campaign Donor and Rezoning case with Protest Petition", CLICKHERE  .

Just found the ordinance that needs to be taken out of the books for good . Here is the Greensboro City Code of Ordinance in administration under article 2 City Council,

Sec. 2-21. Reconsideration of matters previously acted upon.

(a) The city council may reconsider any matter previously acted upon by it subject to the conditions set forth herein. A motion for reconsideration shall be made and acted upon no later than the day of the second regular meeting following the meeting at which such matter was previously considered. In the discretion of the city council, either at the same meeting in which the matter was favorably reconsidered or at any meeting thereafter, the city council shall finally dispose of the matter by taking another vote thereon.

(b) In the event that there are not a sufficient number of councilmen present at the meeting as required by applicable provisions of law to act favorably on a motion to reconsider any matter arising under the provisions of this section, then the matter shall be reconsidered not later than the day of the next regular meeting at which a sufficient number of councilmen are present to act favorably on such motion to reconsider any matter.

(c) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b), any ordinance which received five (5) affirmative votes upon first reading shall automatically be carried over to the next regular meeting of the city council following the meeting upon which such ordinance was first voted upon and shall be subject to a second reading with a subsequent vote to be taken thereon. In the discretion of the city council, either at the same meeting in which there is a second reading or at any meeting thereafter, the city council shall finally dispose of the matter by taking another vote thereon.

(Code 1961, § 2-6; Ord. No. 04-08, § 1, 1-6-04)

This ordinance given to the Greensboro City Council should be thrown out and given a proper burial. Now with the right of citizens all over Greensboro to have the right to a Protest Petition then both the 5 vote rule for a second vote and also this maneuver that Zack Matheny did at the November meeting should be done away with . For example you are making the citizens who are fighting these rezoning cases come back again and again on the same matters it is not fair and right to make these citizens all over the city come back again and again. Vote these rezoning cases up or down and move on .

The rezoning case on Elm and Cornwallis which will have Greensboro City Council member Robbie Perkins recuse himself again because he has a 12% stake in the property and now with a new council we will have Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Vaughan also have to recuse herself on this case as well because her husband State Senator Don Vaughan is a lawyer for a group of citizens who needed representation in front of council on this issue. This case has it all then you add Protest Petition to the mix and they still need 6 out of 7 votes for this case to pass council.

Here is a case in point about this whole reconsideration of a rezoning case. The citizens filed a proper Protest Petition back in November on the Elm and Cornwallis case and looking at the new agenda item here is what was stated" (A VALID PROTEST PETITION WAS RECEIVED BY THE CLERK AND DELIVERED TO PLANNING ON 11.11.09 AT 11:48 A.M., AN ADDITIONAL PROTEST PETITION WAS RECEIVED BY THE CLERK AND DELIVERED TO PLANNING ON 12.28.09 AT 12:58 P.M. – SUFFICIENCY HAS NOT YET BEEN DETERMINED)". Why would they need another filing of a Protest Petition? This is time wasted and should have never had to happen. Just like this case to begin with it was voted down back in November and should not be brought back in front of council for a year.

The city attorney Terry Wood gave John Stratton a out back in november where he could have postponed this case till the december meeting where a new council could have seen this case along with the new conditions put on the property. Now we have a case where it was brought up in front of council and now they are going to have to redo the whole case in front of council again. They could have just delayed this till December but didn't want to see how the new council will vote and now with another recusal in this case it will still take 6 out of 7 votes for this rezoning case to pass with a valid Protest Petition as a part of the process.

It is real tough to understand this whole case from the beginning but it has been a real mess from day one. To sum it up in a nutshell it is time to take a closer look at the ordinance called reconsideration of matters previously acted upon section 2-21 of the municode of greensboro.

It will be interesting to see this rezoning case play out and to see if it passes council in a early vote on a controversial zoning case.

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