Tag Archives: Politics

N.C. bill changing neighborhood protest petitions moves on to Senate Rules Committee

Backstage Vintage and Tommy's Pub.

Backstage Vintage and Tommy’s Pub in Charlotte may get evicted because of a rezoning.

House Bill 201, which passed the N.C. House, went on to the N.C. Senate where it appears to be assigned to the rules committee. Maybe it’ll never emerge, maybe it’ll sit there until July 3, to emerge when nobody’s watching.

It gives developers an easier path to rezoning and takes away neighbors’ power.

For the owners of Backstage Vintage and Tommy’s Pub in Charlotte, hyper-growth of apartments and other development in Charlotte is a real thing, pushing them out or into higher rents. Neighborhood protest petitions give neighbors a chance to speak up to preserve the kinds of things that made neighborhoods unique.

You can keep an eye on the status of the bill at the General Assembly’s site.

You can find phone numbers of senators to contact at Save North Carolina’s Protest Petition. And here’s more background on the bill that would weaken neighbors’ voices in rezonings.

And if you want to weigh in on the rezoning in Charlotte affecting Tommy’s Pub, here’s a direct link to the rezoning application at rezoning.org. There’s at least one good old willow oak that would be nice to preserve, but there’s also ground contamination from an old gas station next to Tommy’s.

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Making rezonings in North Carolina and Charlotte easier and making neighbors’ voices weaker

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Charlotte residents in neighborhoods that are facing increasing development pressure should speak up to their legislators about House Bill 201. It eliminates the ability for neighbors to file protest petitions against rezonings.

The current state law on protest petitions gives immediate neighbors some leverage when a piece of land is up for rezoning. Five percent of neighbors next to a project can sign a petition that triggers a rule requiring 75% of the city council to approve a rezoning.

In reality, these petitions often don’t stop development, but they give neighbors negotiating room for things like green buffers, fences or walls and input on design things like height and drive-through windows.

Close-in neighborhoods in Charlotte are having a bit of a redevelopment moment, with denser apartments popping up, especially where walk scores are high. So the proposed repeal is important to NoDa, Villa Heights, Plaza Midwood, Dilworth, Elizabeth, South End and Myers Park. The repeal, however, affects the whole state and affects those in farther-out suburbs too.

It’s easy to sign an online petition these days, but organizing a protest petition for a rezoning remains hard, with detailed rules about who qualifies as a neighbor and hard-copy signatures necessary. A recent rezoning request in NoDa illustrated the issue, with nearly 1,500 people signing an online petition to “Save the Chop Shop,” but with zerozero – people showing up at a public hearing to speak against the rezoning.

Developers and some legislators claim the current rules allow neighbors to hold property owners hostage, and that’s far from the truth. The current rules simply give immediate neighbors some leverage, protecting neighborhoods from overheated redevelopment that can destroy the very character that made the neighborhoods attractive.

If you want to preserve your ability to influence development right next to your home, find your state representative and give them a call or email about House Bill 201.

Antidotes to ennui

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.”
–T.H. White, “The Once and Future King”

So learn from Ken Doctor about the business of newspapers just ahead of the big annual conference in New York.

Learn from The Center for Independent Media and Colorado Confidential how to build bridges among many organizations on a political polling project together. (But do the organizations all lean left? Would the group be stronger if it didn’t lean at all?)