Monday, January 12, 2009

The Best Offense is a Good Defense

Much to Mama Wordbones chagrin, I spent the better part of the past weekend watching football. As a Ravens fan I am thoroughly enjoying their improbable run towards the Super Bowl. It just doesn’t get much better than this for a football fan.

While I was watching the action on the gridiron, a local developer took a lesson from the Ravens playbook and made an impressive defensive move. The developer of the proposed shopping center in Turf Valley has launched a website to counter the efforts of those would like to derail the project by putting the size of the grocery store in the center up for referendum. It was fellow blogger Freemarket who first made me aware of this.

I like this move. Rather than sit back and let the anti-growth activists define the issues, Greenberg Gibbons has responded with an informative website that even provides instructions on how to remove your name from the petition if you believe you were misled by the petition gatherers.

On another small note, the developer’s website informs us that the proposed grocery store for the new center will in fact be a Harris Teeter. I believe I called it here first.



Anonymous said...

Some observations....

- Generally, 10% of petition signatures are routinely invalidated. That being said, you can't be too careful when dozens of people are collecting signatures and you don't know what quality control standards to expect from each one. You either meet the requirement within 60 days or you're out of luck.

- Developer resources, influence and legal tactics are generally successful in commanding the political and legal arenas. The ONE aspect of the zoning and growth process where they can't exert disproportionate control is when issues are placed on the ballot. This is the one vehicle where citizens have considerable influence and power.

- A few of the reasons that citizens from across the county have been motivated to take CB58 to referendum are:

1. The attempt to rezone a single property for the express benefit of one owner is clearly "spot zoning" which the Council should have referred to the Zoning Board. Unfortunately, development attorneys have learned that it's much easier to push a ZRA text amendment through the Planning Board/Council than it is to meet the legal "change & mistake" burden required by the ZB.

2. As a text amendment, there was absolutely NO requirement to notify neighborhoods bordering the one affected property. Furthermore, the ZRA was mistitled by DPZ, without any reference to Turf Valley or the property owner.

3. The Turf Valley developers chose not to submit the complete ZRA application (from DPZ's website). They chose not to report financial contributions to 5 out of 6 elected county officials as well as the DEPUTY DIRECTOR of DPZ !!!

4. CB58 represents a significant change to the Route 40 business corridor. Rather than being reviewed in the context of a Route 40 Master Plan, utilizing current retail market demand and traffic information, the Bill was approved under the misnomer of being a local neighborhood grocery store that was welcomed by the majority of areas residents and businesses (both of which are egregious misrepresentations).

The overwhelming concensus of citizens, taxpayers and registered voters is that the vast majority of people support well planned and managed development that is supported by forward funded infrastructure improvements and public amenities.

So much for being an obstructionist ;-)...

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Anon 1:12.

Anonymous said...

I, too, thank you, Anon 1:12, for the well detailed clarifications.