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Thread: Renter vs. owner opinions on rezonings

  1. #1

    Renter vs. owner opinions on rezonings

    How much weight should a renters opinion regarding a rezoning receive as opposed to the owner of the property. In this case specifically.....A rezoning request located inside of a manufactured home park that is owned entirely by one person, who is in favor of the rezoning. Several renters in the park have voiced opposition to the rezoning. The decision rests with our governing board but I am just looking for opinions and previous experience regarding this situation.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I tend to give them the same weight. Especially when it's more than one person. Then again, I have no problem telling my boards the owner is in favor and the people living there are not. Let the board figure it out. My guess is that the owner sees his land value increasing and the renters see an incompatible use. Is it some horrible neighborhood or even worse, apartments?
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  3. #3
    The deets: This is an average manufactured home park and the rezoning is being requested by a resident of the park who has a nonconforming business and would like to expand it to occupy more land area at the front of the park. This is in compliance with our Future Land Use map. The proposed site plan indicates that all existing commercial materials will now be able to be located off of the neighborhood road and will be screened from the remaining homes via vegetation. Staff is in favor and it got a favorable Planning Board recommendation.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    The content of the opinions is what matters, not the commenters' status. Why are they for against the rezoning?

    Please don't get me started on the evils of anti-renter bias.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I've always been interested in the legal standing of a renter or tenant to appeal a case like this. This issue appears to vary on a state by state basis. I've also wondered what sort of standing a family member has (son/daughter etc.) living in their parents home.

    We had an appeal of a CUP come through a few months ago and several petitioners were sons or daughters of their parents, who were filing the appeal. I was interested to learn if those individuals have standing to even be included on the appeal. Alas, it never went to court so I do not know, but it is something I've been curious about.

    As an administrator of the code, I tend to try and ignore the opinions and objections of the general public with presenting cases. It is not my place to state anything other than whether the proposed use meets our code. It's the burden of the complainant to provide competent evidence to the governing board.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    The content of the opinions is what matters, not the commenters' status. Why are they for against the rezoning?

    Please don't get me started on the evils of anti-renter bias.
    The current business (pinestraw sales) does not look that great and they park their business trucks on the road next to their house which is where they sell the pinestraw from. The opposition coming from the renters is due to the current appearance of the existing business. The proposed site plan addresses their concerns by adding screening consisting of 10 foot tall leyland cypress trees along the perimeter of the expanded site. I venture to say that the pinestraw sales have been going on prior to many residents moving into the park.

    Not my place to be bias, but.... when informing the board regarding the oppostion would you specify the fact that the opposition has come solely from renters or not mention that fact?

    I appreciate the replies

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by AG74683 View post
    We had an appeal of a CUP come through a few months ago and several petitioners were sons or daughters of their parents, who were filing the appeal. I was interested to learn if those individuals have standing to even be included on the appeal. Alas, it never went to court so I do not know, but it is something I've been curious about.
    I would assume they would have standing if they did the following:

    1. Filled an appeal within the time frame of the code;
    2. Paid any fees associated with the appeal;
    3. Provide rationale (generally objection to the findings made of the approval).

    Now standing in court is a different story, which all boils down to did they appellant exhaust all their administrative / discretionary avenues prior to the lawsuit, i.e. did the make public comments / letters, did they appeal, etc.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pirate08 View post
    Not my place to be bias, but.... when informing the board regarding the opposition would you specify the fact that the opposition has come solely from renters or not mention that fact?

    I appreciate the replies
    Just the facts that they oppose.. they status of renter or own has no barring. What matters is that they live next to the thing and are the ones putting up with it. If they are going to bitch about it, let them bitch about it. As long as you can make the required findings for approval and you back that up, then let it ride and let the commission be the decision maker.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Agree with Raf - their status as renters should not factor in, just the content of their concerns. Everyone gets to bitch - its the American Way! But its important to make sure everyone has equal opportunity to do so. Whether or not they are in a position to own property (or choose not to) should not impact their right to express concern.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Agree with Raf - their status as renters should not factor in, just the content of their concerns. Everyone gets to bitch - its the American Way! But its important to make sure everyone has equal opportunity to do so. Whether or not they are in a position to own property (or choose not to) should not impact their right to express concern.
    I agree, just list them as people who live here. It affects them if they own or rent. After all not all renters are the scum of the earth our NIMBYs make them out to be. They want a decent place to live too.

    As far as standing, my code makes appeals specific to the property owner so that makes it a little harder for me, but I don't get a lot of renters issues.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    I agree, just list them as people who live here. It affects them if they own or rent. After all not all renters are the scum of the earth our NIMBYs make them out to be. They want a decent place to live too.
    I agree.

    I also think that most "renters" in most decent/average mobile home parks tend to rent the land but own their mobile homes, so I think they tend to be much longer-term residents than you'd get in most apartment complexes, too. From the description of the issues the OP described, I think that the renters are objecting because the business hasn't been a particularly good neighbor in the past, and they don't think it will mend its ways in the future despite any new regs and whatever promises it makes.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yup

    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    I agree.

    I also think that most "renters" in most decent/average mobile home parks tend to rent the land but own their mobile homes, so I think they tend to be much longer-term residents than you'd get in most apartment complexes, too. From the description of the issues the OP described, I think that the renters are objecting because the business hasn't been a particularly good neighbor in the past, and they don't think it will mend its ways in the future despite any new regs and whatever promises it makes.
    Oh and those folks that own a single wide and rent the land are STUCK! In most cases there are NO open spaces in existing non-conforming mobile home parks.
    Their only option is to move their single wide onto 35 acres (or whatever the law is for the state they live in)......

    The other alternative is to move to rural ARIZONA........AHHHHHHHHHHH...............The HORROR!!!
    Last edited by The One; 28 Jul 2014 at 1:42 PM. Reason: Dan Made me do it
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    Please don't get me started on the evils of anti-renter bias.
    I was surprised to see this occur in a larger progressive city. Where the opinions of homeowners seemed to hold more weight than the opinion of the renters. It had to do with a rezoning, where many of the long-term homeowners were against the change while the renters, who were relatively newer to the community, could see the merits of the proposal. There may be some political pressure placed on staff as they came out against due to the density precedent it would set, and not necessarily the proposal itself (which was a TOD supported by the plan, but not current zoning). Great emphasis was placed on the opinions of the homeowners in the planning reports while no mention was given that other members of the community (renters) came out to speak in support.. The a group of renters went to the media, saying they felt that their opinions were ignored during the public hearings, which generated media attention. It was an ugly, ugly battle with the commission eventually approving.
    The content contrarian

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Why do anyones "opinions" get any weight at all? People can raise concerns/issues for you to investigate and include in your analysis, but a rezoning is not a plebicite or a popularity contest.

    Also, a rezoning shouldn't really be tied to the specifics of the current business. The land owner could just as easily shut down the day after getting the rezoning, and a totally new business could move in. Your analysis should be, "does this ZONE, and everything it allows, fit here/fit the municipal plan?"

  15. #15
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    I was surprised to see this occur in a larger progressive city. Where the opinions of homeowners seemed to hold more weight than the opinion of the renters. It had to do with a rezoning, where many of the long-term homeowners were against the change while the renters, who were relatively newer to the community, could see the merits of the proposal. There may be some political pressure placed on staff as they came out against due to the density precedent it would set, and not necessarily the proposal itself (which was a TOD supported by the plan, but not current zoning). Great emphasis was placed on the opinions of the homeowners in the planning reports while no mention was given that other members of the community (renters) came out to speak in support.. The a group of renters went to the media, saying they felt that their opinions were ignored during the public hearings, which generated media attention. It was an ugly, ugly battle with the commission eventually approving.
    I wonder if that is because the state enabling legislation in Texas emphasizes rights of property owners, causing that bias to show more in staff reports as well? Regardless, it is disappointing to see that bias emerge in the staff report. I understand political pressure, but the staff has an ethical responsibility to report all perspectives. I've cautioned my City Council and Commission before that while it is property owners that can file a 20% protest to trigger a super-majority vote, the criteria for a zoning change within the code do not value the health/safety/welfare/quality of life or investor-backed expectation of the property owner any differently than the renter. Plus, you should tread carefully due to fair housing. I saw a case recently in a nearby city involving a RV Park adjacent to a proposed project that would create some incompatibility issues. It turns out that the RV Park worked closely with a women's shelter, which owned a few RVs that were used to help abused women get back on their feet as they transitioned out of the actual shelter to regain independence.

    When it comes to protests, any written comments from the public are included as attachments in my staff report regardless of property owner/renter. Within the staff report I'll number for/against/neutral and briefly summarize their comments. Depending on the comments, I'll provide some analysis to go along with them to assure accuracy of statements & understanding.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    The content of the opinions is what matters, not the commenters' status. Why are they for against the rezoning?

    Please don't get me started on the evils of anti-renter bias.
    Me too.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I tell my boards and commissions that people are people. Here it is not so much the renter v owner, but the resident v nonresident.

    But the bigger question is what weight does public opinion have in the board or commission's decision? In our local ordinances, if a request meets all the applicable standards, the PC approves it, despite opposition from the public.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hipp5 View post
    Why do anyones "opinions" get any weight at all? People can raise concerns/issues for you to investigate and include in your analysis, but a rezoning is not a plebicite or a popularity contest.

    Also, a rezoning shouldn't really be tied to the specifics of the current business. The land owner could just as easily shut down the day after getting the rezoning, and a totally new business could move in. Your analysis should be, "does this ZONE, and everything it allows, fit here/fit the municipal plan?"
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I tell my boards and commissions that people are people. Here it is not so much the renter v owner, but the resident v nonresident.

    But the bigger question is what weight does public opinion have in the board or commission's decision? In our local ordinances, if a request meets all the applicable standards, the PC approves it, despite opposition from the public.
    I get more of the resident/nonresident issue. I could understand if it's a zoning issue in my county that affects another county or city, but this is more often things like:
    Guy from another county saying our Health Department is wrong for giving out flu vaccines because they cause autism. It becomes an absolute, not research suggests or personal story, just some guy thinking it's bad. He also regularly shows up to county meetings to complain about fluoride in the water. Did I mention the county doesn't supply water to anyone? I tend not to give his opinion much weight since the things he's talking about don't affect him, the county, or have been researched by the correct department and a decision was made.
    The other guy complains about fireworks in the city when he lives in the county about 8 miles from the city. The county also allows fireworks, but why not complain wherever we can.

    If it's a good point I'll look into it, but most often it's crackpots from other counties that want to attend our meetings. We seem to attract the seagulls with free coffee and conversation. I wish they would go back to their own county and try to change the world there. Generally what I want to hear from the public is how this affects you no matter what your situation is.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

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