Monday, June 8, 2015

Action Alert: Protest Petition | NCGA

Dear Neighbors:

The Senate Commerce Committee will meet tomorrow, Tuesday June , at 11:00 a.m. in Room 423 of the Legislative Office Building.  The agenda for the meeting has not been announced.  Because House Bill 201 (discussed below) could come up at the meeting, please stop what you are doing and communicate with the committee members.  Let them know we oppose the bill and want our protest petition rights preserved.

Thank you. If everyone who receives this message writes to the committee, we might stop this hateful legislation.

Tom Miller

. . .

House Bill 201, the bill that would repeal our right to file a zoning protest petition, has been assigned to the Senate Commerce Committee.  The bill could come up for consideration in the committee as early as Thursday, June 4.  Please take a moment and write to the members of the committee to tell them that you oppose House Bill 201 and that you want the committee to preserve the right to file a protest petition.

House Bill 201 passed the house after considerable debate back in March.  It was then assigned to the Senate Rules Committee as a holding place while the senate worked the budget and on other bills which were facing a deadline.  During that time I did not send you messages because I did not want to wear you out or cause us to peak in our efforts too soon. The legislative deadlines are past now and the senate is beginning to take up bills it has received from the house.  It is time for us to act – now, and without delay.

The e-mail addresses of the members of the Senate Commerce Committee are:

What you can do:

1) Send a short, polite e-mail to the members of the committee telling them to vote against House Bill 201.  Tell them you want them to preserve the right to file a protest petition.  I have repeated the argument for protest petitions below for your reference.  If you use any of the arguments, please express them in your own words.  You should be able to cut and paste the addresses above into a single e-mail message.

2) Share this e-mail message with your neighborhood lists and other neighborhood advocates

3) Let your own state senator know you oppose House Bill 201 if he or she is not a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

4) Write to Governor McCrory and let him know you oppose House Bill 201.  To e-mail the governor, visit .

Thank you.  Working together we can save our rights.

Tom Miller

The Argument for Zoning Protest Petitions:

  • The right to file a protest petition against a rezoning is a time honored right. 
  • Under NC law, if the owners of 5% of the ring of property 100 feet deep surrounding land to be rezoned file a formal protest petition, it takes a super majority of 3/4s of the members of the city council to pass the rezoning.  
  • The protest petition right in North Carolina is as old as zoning itself.  The right was part of the legislation passed by the General Assembly in 1923 giving cities the right to regulate land use by zoning.  
  • A protest petition right protects a neighbor’s investment in his own property and his reasonable expectations in the stability of the regulatory environment.  It protects neighbors and property owners from sudden, capricious, and wrongfully-motivated zone changes.  
  • When neighbors file a protest petition it is a signal that the proposed rezoning deserves special attention by elected officials.  
  • Relatively few protest petitions are filed and they rarely cause rezonings to be denied.  But protest petitions do often lead to more thoughtful results in zoning cases and better buffering and protections between incompatible uses.  
  • The levels the playing field between ordinary citizens trying to protect their homes and powerful developers who can afford attorneys and land planners to advance their interests. 
  • The right to a protest petition was part of model zoning laws promulgated by the US Department of Commerce in the 1920s.  It is part of zoning law all across the country. 
  • Citizens in states bordering North Carolina have the right to file a protest petition.  Why shouldn’t we?