Rezoning petitions, also called the 20% supermajority petition, are the last chance existing property owners have to try to have existing zoning near them enforced. However, rezoning petitions are difficult to understand and property owners have to know what is needed from the city to complete petitions.
With the rezoning petition, if 20% or more landowners in the 200” buffer around the property to be rezoned sign a petition, a “supermajority requirement” is triggered for the city council vote when it comes to them instead of the simple majority vote.
Figure square footage of area within 200-foot radius of property being rezoned, excluding property being considered. Figure each petitioner’s area. These areas should include one-half of right-of-way adjacent to the petitioner’s property.
Figure percentage calculation:
Total of petitioners’ area
Total area within 200’ radius
I’ll use a real example from a recent rezoning case in the city of McKinney, TX that is still ongoing.
According to the state statute/law, citizens must get signatures of 20% of the area of property owners in that buffer zone minus the streets and alleys the city owns. No one other than the city would know that information.
This is why citizens must immediately ask planning for a map of owner percentages within the buffer, including a list of the owners with total percentages calculated. They have to do this anyway to calculate the petition percentages. If they tell you to fill out an open records request, go above them. Time is of the essence in these cases and open records requests take at least 10 days.
|A- rezoning map with properties numbered|
|B- property number, address, and area calculated (names of the individual owners are redacted)|
Now you can see why the planning map and property percentages are so important. From the map and enclosed property list, you can figure out pretty quickly how much of a chance you and the other landowners have to get 20% of the area in the buffer. Some properties are nearly impossible to get the 20% required due to land placement, elevation, surrounding property owners, etc.
In this case, the HOA also owns quite a bit of the area. The existing businesses across the streets do not count for as much as the homeowners or HOA. The home owners are in a good position if they stick together. If the homeowners decide to go along with the developer, sticking together and speaking together will get any promises made entered into the new zoning requirements if planning is aware--it's an additional safeguard for the community.
Note: Since there is a rezoning petition, there is also a form where signatures can be withdrawn that is subject to a deadline too. If collecting signatures, be aware that planning departments are in constant contact with developers or their consultant representatives. Armed with that information, developers or their consultant representatives can often go behind signature collectors and try to talk individual signers into withdrawing their signatures by promising them certain things individually (and those promises will not be set in stone unless they are made part of the new zoning.