NC House Passes Legislation to End Use of Protest Petitions

The North Carolina House today passed a bill that would repeal the Protest Petition statute, eliminating a tool frequently used by neighborhood groups to force concessions from property owners and developers.

HB 201, ‘Zoning Changes/Citizen Input’, eliminates a longstanding state law allowing neighbors in the immediate vicinity of a proposed development to force the applicant to secure a supermajority of affirmative votes from the city or town council for rezoning approval. If as few as 5 percent of the neighbors within 100′ of the property line sign and submit a valid Protest Petition to the local planning department, they can obtain enough leverage to force financial or design concessions from the property owner or developer that would otherwise be difficult if just a simple majority vote were required for the rezoning.

No other action taken by local government action requires a supermajority vote.

An amendment approved by the House during floor debate requires the city council to give written notice to all adjacent property owners at least 30 days before the rezoning public hearing, an action many local governments (including Charlotte) already take.

Approved by an 81 – 31 margin, the bill now heads to the Senate, where another bill repealing the Protest Petition has already been filed. REBIC, NAIOP North Carolina, the North Carolina Home Builders Association, and the Apartment Association of North Carolina all strongly support the bill and will continue advocating for its passage.

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