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Protest Petitions Ending?

Protest Petitions Ending?
July 18, 2013 Cassee Cunningham

protest petitions in charlotte north carolinaNorth Carolina lawmakers may be making it harder for you to oppose rezoning cases.

Right now, Charlotte residents have the right to file what’s known as “protest petitions” when they oppose a rezoning case.  Protest petitions require that a significant percentage of neighbors file the petition, but once that happens, three-fourths of the Charlotte City Council – including the mayor, if he or she is present during the vote – must approve the rezoning request for it to move forward.

However, Senate Bill 112 was approved last week by the House of Representative, and this bill ends the protest petition process.

The Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition, known as REBIC, said recently  in a blog post that “the elimination of the Protest Petition process…would have the greatest impact on property owners and developers, by removing a burdensome and costly process that effectively allows a small minority of citizens to hold a rezoning case hostage by forcing a supermajority vote.”

To me, this sounds like the bill is great for property owners and developers, but it really leaves Charlotte’s residents in the lurch.  Residents trying to protect their own properties and/or lifestyles could soon be denied an important means of going about doing just that.

Due to changes in the bill made after it originally passed the Senate, it will have to go back to the Senate before going to Governor McCrory to sign into law.

So what are your thoughts?  Are Charlotte residents getting the shaft with SB112?  Or do protest petitions need to be a thing of the past?