During the public hearings of the zoning case at Planning and Zoning Commission and/or Town Council, the applicant and people in favor of or opposed to the request may present their views.
In addition to speaking at the public hearing, you may also send letters to the Commission and Council either directly or through the Department of Community Development, or you may discuss the case with the Planning and Zoning Commissioners or Council Members.
A petition is a more formal process of registering your support for or opposition to a request. A petition becomes a permanent part of the case and must be filed with the Town Secretary.
Regardless of the type of petition, there is no legal effect on the Planning and Zoning Commission's vote. A simple majority vote recommending approval or denial of a zoning request is all that is required of the Commission. However, the Commission's decision may be influenced by petitions of support or opposition.
Petitions of support may influence final Council action, but they have no legal effect. Petitions of opposition (individual form, group form) submitted to the Town Secretary, that are properly notarized and meet state and local criteria will invoke a required three-fourths vote of approval to permit a change. In order to invoke the mandatory three-fourths approval, the petition must be signed by the owners of at least 20 percent of either:
- the land area covered by the proposed change; or,
- the land area within 200 feet of the subject property.
Only one vote per lot in support or opposition per owner is permitted. The "owner" is the owner shown on the most recently approved Town tax roll. For example, if John Doe appears as the owner on the tax rolls, then the signature on the petition should be John Doe. If joint ownership appears on the tax rolls, i.e., John and Mary Doe, then John Doe and/or Mary Doe should sign the petition.