The Greensboro City Council took action, if not to end, to at least ameliorate one of the constant complaints about rezoning cases, at the Tuesday, Oct. 18 meeting.
If a rezoning or an annexation and original zoning request has opposition, the opponents often complain of lack of notice about the zoning request.
The city was sending notifications to property owners within 600 feet of the property up for rezoning.
On Tuesday, the City Council unanimously voted to revise the ordinance on notification to increase the distance from 600 feet to 750 feet.
Councilmember Sharon Hightower, who has been the main proponent of this change, explained why it was now 750 feet. She said, “That is the most our ordinance will allow us to do without going to the state.”
In most cases where there is opposition, the property owner requesting the rezoning also sends notices to all the addresses on the city’s list and holds a neighborhood meeting for anyone who is interested.
The city also posts signs on the property with a large red Z. Years ago, the notices that went on the property where an 8-inch by 10-inch black and white sign that could easily be overlooked. The City of Greensboro then tried green and white signs for a while but found that they blended into foliage, particularly in the spring and summer. When the green signs were being used, some rezoning opponents accused the city of camouflaging the signs so they couldn’t be easily detected.
The large red Z seems to have solved the problem of people not seeing the signs.
At the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, when the proposed ordinance was discussed, Planning Zoning Commissioner Zac Engle brought up the issue of notifying tenants. Under the current ordinance, only property owners, and not tenants, are notified of rezoning and annexation and original zoning requests.
The commission entered into a long discussion of how tenants could be notified, but reached no conclusion and voted to recommend the text amendment to the ordinance increasing the notification area to 750 feet unanimously.
The 600 foot rule comes from the North Carolina Statutes. It is law. The Planning Department cannot be faulted for following the law. If Council wants to make it 750’, I’m sure they can. I imagine though that it could be challenged.
It doesn’t matter if citizens are aware of possible zoning changes or not. The City will do what it wants to regardless.