Lobbying muscle from developers

by Jordan Green

Lobbying muscle from developers

The city of Greensboro had a powerful ally in its campaign to weaken the existing development rule: the Triad Real estate & Building Coalition, or TReBIC, a Guilford County industry group that represents prominent developers such as Roy Carroll, Brown Investment Properties and samet Corp.

A TREBIC representative met early in the legislative process with Guilford County sen. Don Vaughan, a future sponsor of the senate bill whose companion is awaiting the governor’s signature, as part of a coordinated effort to drum up support for legislation that would weaken the existing development rule. And TReBIC President Marlene sanford was so integral to the effort that Greensboro Water Resources Director Allan Williams mentioned her name side by side with city staff in an e- mail to Councilman Zack Matheny about the anti-rules alliance’s strategy: “Where the confusion is coming from is that some people are portraying staff (and Marlene) as against what the council has passed because we are ‘willing to compromise.’” Williams said he believes TReBIC saw its own interests as being aligned with the city’s on the existing development rule because if the city were subjected to goals it couldn’t meet it might have been put in a position of having to impose new, onerous requirements on developers. “Also, I think they saw that it wasn’t in Greensboro’s interest,” he added. “We’re thankful that they used some of their horsepower in the legislature.”

Kenney McDowell, deputy director of water resources, said, “They’re big on individual property rights. They didn’t want to see the city going out to condemn private property.” — JG