Information on Rezoning Protest Petitions
Section 403.030.H of the Municipal Code
"Protest Petitions. In order to be considered valid, a protest petition must be duly signed and acknowledged by the owners of thirty percent (30%) or more, either of the areas of the land (exclusive of streets and alleys) included in such proposed change or within an area determined by lines drawn parallel to and one hundred eighty five (185) feet distant from the boundaries of the district proposed to be changed. If a valid protest petition is submitted to the City prior to City Council final action on the application, an amendment to the official Zoning Map (zoning change) shall not become effective except by the favorable vote of two thirds (2/3) of all of the members of the City Council."
Who May Object to a Rezoning?
- Anyone may attend any public hearing held by the Planning Commission and the City Council on rezoning a piece of property.
- Everyone may hear the information presented, ask questions and speak for or against the rezoning proposal.
- Anyone may object to any rezoning of any property.
- This may be done either in person at the public hearings held by either the Planning Commission or the City Council on that rezoning, or by sending a letter or a petition to the Commission or to the Council.*
- All objections to a rezoning carry the weight of public opinion unless the objection is in the form of a legally valid protest petition as explained below.
*The City will offer these informal letters into the record, but there is no legal requirement that it be done.
What is a Legally Valid Protest Petition?
A legally valid protest petition is a petition that requires that four of six City Council members (two thirds majority) vote in favor of the rezoning in order for it to be approved. In order for the petition to be binding upon the City Council, it must be signed by the owners of at least thirty percent (30%) of the property within 185 feet of the rezoning.*
*Generally it is the people in the surrounding area that are protesting the rezoning, but actually either of the areas of the land (exclusive of streets and alleys) included in such proposed change or within an area determined by lines drawn parallel to and one hundred eighty-five (185) feet distant from the boundaries of the district proposed to be changed can sign a protest petition.
Who Should Sign a Legally Valid Protest Petition?
If you oppose the rezoning and you own property that is all or partly within 185 feet of the rezoning, you may sign a legally valid protest petition. You should have been advised that you own property within 185 feet if you have received a letter from the Community Development Department notifying you of the public hearings at the Planning Commission and later at City Council.* Petition forms are available in the City Clerk's Office or the Community Development Department. When the petition is completed, return it to the City Clerk's Office, prior to City Council's vote on the rezoning request.
*However this notice is dependent on County Tax Records being correct (names and addresses) and up to date.
Also the information is provided to the City by the developer and delivered by the U. S. Postal Service.
In addition the property being rezoned should be posted.
What to Remember When Signing the Petition
- The signature should be identical, or nearly identical, to the name of the owner (s) as it appears on the deed (and corresponding tax records).* For example, if the name on the deed is John J. Doe, then Jack Doe would not be acceptable, whereas John Jacob Doe would be.
- If the property is in multiple ownership all owners** must sign. If the property is listed on the Jackson County tax records as owned by husband and wife, then both must sign. A husband cannot sign for his wife, or vise-versa.
- A notary public must witness and notarize each signature.
- Owners of multiple tracts of property included in the notification area, should file a separate protest petition for each tract of property protesting.
- In case of property listed in co-ownership by a husband and wife in which one of the spouses is deceased, it would be helpful if the surviving spouse provides a statement that lists the date and place (city/county/state) the deceased spouse died. The surviving spouse should then sign the statement. Example: My husband, William J. Smith, died October 2, 1977 in Blue Springs; Jackson County, Missouri signed Mary M. Smith.
- The zoning amendment number RZ-_______, which is needed to fill out the form, can be found in the notification letter that the Community Development Department sent you.
- To be effective the protest petition must be turned in to the City Clerk’s Office or the City Council prior to City Council final action on the application. This means it must be before the City Council votes on the issue to rezone.
*The City has the responsibility of making a determination as to whether the required percentage of owners has signed, regardless of how many have signed. It is extremely helpful if deeds, tax records, death certificates, etc. are supplied in order to make the determination. It is to the property owners benefit that the City be able verify the validity of the protest petition.
**A husband and wife who own the property must both sign. However, one partner of a partnership can bind the partnership. The person or persons signing for other entities, such as a corporation, must have the authority of the entity to sign.
- Owner (s) refers to the owners of the land, not the owners of a business or personal property on the land, nor renters of the land. Owner (s) names may be derived from the Jackson County property tax records.*
- For approval, an affirmative vote of at least four members of the Council, is required regardless of the number of Council members present at the meeting when the final vote is taken (The Mayor’s tie breaking vote would not be enough to rezone the property.)
- [A]t least thirty percent (30%) of the property within 185 feet of the rezoning means:
- In most cases this excludes the area contained in the parcel of land for which the request is made, but rather only the area included in the 185-foot strip of land surrounding the parcel.**
- The area of streets, highways, alleys and other right-of-ways are excluded when calculating the total area of the 185-foot strip of land surrounding the parcel.
- The specification requires signatures of the owners of at least thirty percent (30%) or more of the land area, not thirty percent (30%) or more of the total number of land owners.
- If the 185-foot strip splits a property, only that part of the property which is located within the 185-foot line is considered in the area calculations.
*This would be where the City would look first, but they may not always be up to date or accurate. What appears on the warranty deed would control.
**However if the persons protesting owned land within the area to be rezoned they would need to own 30% of area within the boundaries of the property to be rezoned in order to have a legally valid protest petition. You cannot combine land outside with land inside to reach the 30% figure.
For additional information about the appeal and petition processes please contact the Community Development Department at (816) 228-0207.
Information concerning initiatives, referendums or recall petitions can be found in the City Charter. Additonally, the information above does not include the Sign Code. For more information contact the City Clerk at (816) 228-0110.