Friday, June 05, 2009

Developer to chair planning commission

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission on Monday elected developer Stephen Rosenburgh succeed Dave Howard as chair, starting July 1.

Rosenburgh – president and CEO of US Land Investments, which does work throughout the Southeast United States – grew up in Toronto and lived there until moving to Charlotte 16 years ago. His company Web site says he founded Jordan Homes, and some of his projects included Carrington, The Greens at Birkdale, Legend Oaks and Stonebridge. He has also been on the N.C. Banking Commission.

I called Rosenburgh to set up an interview but he demurred. He said he doesn't want to talk about chairing the planning commission until Howard's term ends, and until he's had a chance to talk to Planning Director Debra Campbell and until after he returns from an August vacation.

The planning commission is a 14-member advisory body which, among other things, recommends to the City Council whether to approve or reject rezoning proposals. It has a history of being developer-friendly: Of its current members, at least eight work in real estate, development or construction. That may change as new appointees are named, but for at least the past 15 years typically half or more of its members have made their livelihoods working in real estate and development.

Howard, who is running for City Council this fall, is vice president for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, a nonprofit group that develops affordable housing, sometimes in partnership with other developers.


Anonymous said...

Just another fox in the hen house.

rick b said...

Typical...and disgusting.

If anybody still wonders why the Charlotte region has been choked - economically, environmentally, traffic-wise - by greedy, poorly-planned, parasitic development, they need look no further than bodies such as the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission in general, and appointments such as this specifically.

Rosenburgh has emerged as one of the worst of the bad in Union County, where he is notorious for his chumminess with elected officials, his over-the-top campaign contributions to the worst of the candidates, and the resultant favors bestowed upon him by local jurisdictions.

Sewer lines, road improvements, preferential zoning concessions, density bonuses...Rosenburgh seems to lead the pack when it comes to receiving such largesse. At least in Union County, his "mark" is not only upon the blighted landscape, but also upon the governing boards of the county and many municipalities.

Who charters the Commssion anyway? This revolting "development" certainly signals the pressing need to disband the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission. It's time to build a new henhouse, and this time keep the foxes out - even if they're disguised under feathers.

Anonymous said...

The city and the state need to lower taxes. We are the highest taxed state in the Southeast.

Anonymous said...

The 'highest in the southeast' is a weak argument. When compared to the country as a whole, we are still very reasonable. If you want to live in poverty and ignorance as other 'low tax' states such as Alabama or south carolina, by all means, please move down there. Charlotte and North Carolina will instead move forward in progress with the more educated parts of the nation. If that means us all paying a little bit more, so be it.

Anonymous said...

While Charlotte and NC's tax burden is a good question to debate in its own right, how is it relevant to the original topic of the new person heading the planning commission?

Anonymous said...

I'd be more surprised by the post title if it said "Appointment to chair planning commission NOT a developer"....

These appointments are almost to the point of being funny, except that it has ruined a lot of potential for this city.

Anonymous said...

A "weak argument" how do you think Charlotte was able to become a world class city. I don't see to many people moving to high taxed areas such as Pittsburg, Detriot, or any other northeast city. Look I'm from the North and one of the reason's I moved to Charlotte was the low taxes, but in ten years of living here taxes have gone up dramatically. But in the end you are right. If I don't like it I can vote with my feet. Alabama here I come!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:43 High taxes equals progress. Your argument is weak. How comes so many people move out of high tax areas? On the contrary high taxes equals oppression.

Anonymous said...

Mary Newsom wrote: “I called Rosenburgh to set up an interview but he demurred. He said he doesn't want to talk about chairing the planning commission until Howard's term ends, and until he's had a chance to talk to Planning Director Debra Campbell and until after he returns from an August vacation.”

Mary, please don’t make any excuses for this big-shot CEO. My translation of your paragraph above is that he doesn’t have time to talk to the press so that we little people will know what’s in store for Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Yep, gotta take that August vacation first – probably for the whole month, and I’ll bet it isn’t to Myrtle Beach or Maggie Valley.

Oh, did I mention that he is, or at least was, on the North Carolina Banking Commission and the Regional Transportation Board? Look out pocket book!

Anonymous said...

Mary, any idea of which person was responsible for getting him appointed to the Planning Commission in the first place?

The mayor appoints two members, city council, five; and the county commissioners, seven. One of the council’s and one of the commissioners’ appointees are recommended by the Board of Education.

Someone has to bring up names of potential candidates before the council or commission vote on them. Apparently the mayor's choices are not challenged. So who pushed for his appointment?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 06:38:00 wrote:

"Mary, any idea of which person was responsible for getting him appointed to the Planning Commission in the first place?

The mayor appoints two members..."

Intesting question. I don't know the answer either, but I do know that at least one big "McCrory for Governor" fundraiser was held at Rosenburgh's Stonebridge Golf Course in Union County.

I'd like to know in general how and why the public tolerates the system whereby these developers always seem to end up controlling all the commissions and boards that are supposed to have some oversight over their activities. In Union County, the planning board by 2003 or so had 4 development-industry representatives out of its 7 regular members; that problem was remedied by 2005 by the only non-developer-majority board of county commissioners Union County had had in over a decade.

Unfortunately, the developers took over the board of county commissioners again in 2006, and that new board disbanded the planning board and created a new one with a development-heavy majority again.

It is extremely difficult to keep these bought-and-paid-for officials out of office; many of the developer-funded candidates are "stealth" candidates, sometimes downplaying or outright concealing their strong ties to the development industry. Even though campaign finance reports are public and available, voters don't always know just how much money is funnelled by development interests into the campaigns.

Often, the candidates run on some unrelated "hot button" issue, such as "family values", or their status as deacons in their churches, gaining a lot of voter support on issues that really have nothing to do with their platforms.

The worst and most deceptive campaign technique of all, which apparently is still totally legal in North Carolina, is to spend piles of money on a campaign and declare it as "loan from the candidate"; then, after the election, developers hold massive fundraisers to help their winning candidates "retire their campaign debt". These "donations" don't show up on campaign finance reports until well after the damage is already done, and the developers have continued to place their candidates in office and keep them there.

corporatebully said...

RBC Bank President Gordon Nixon - Salary $11.73 Million


I'm a commercial fisherman fighting the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Bank) over a $100,000 loan mistake. I lost my home, fishing vessel and equipment. Help me fight this corporate bully by closing your RBC Bank account.

There was no monthly interest payment date or amount of interest payable per month on my loan agreement. Date of first installment payment (Principal + interest) is approximately 1 year from the signing of my contract.
Demand loan agreements signed by other fishermen around the same time disclosed monthly interest payment dates and interest amounts payable per month.The lending policy for fishermen did change at RBC from one payment (principal + interest) per year for fishing loans to principal paid yearly with interest paid monthly. This lending practice was in place when I approached RBC.
Only problem is the loans officer was a replacement who wasn't familiar with these type of loans. She never informed me verbally or in writing about this new criteria.

Phone or e-mail:
RBC President, Gordon Nixon, Toronto (416)974-6415
RBC Vice President, Sales, Anne Lockie, Toronto (416)974-6821
RBC President, Atlantic Provinces, Greg Grice (902)421-8112 mail
RBC Manager, Cape Breton/Eastern Nova Scotia, Jerry Rankin (902)567-8600
RBC Vice President, Atlantic Provinces, Brian Conway (902)491-4302 mail
RBC Vice President, Halifax Region, Tammy Holland (902)421-8112 mail
RBC Senior Manager, Media & Public Relations, Beja Rodeck (416)974-5506 mail
RBC Ombudsman, Wendy Knight, Toronto, Ontario 1-800-769-2542 mail
Ombudsman for Banking Services & Investments, JoAnne Olafson, Toronto, 1-888-451-4519 mail

"Fighting the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Bank) one customer at a time"

triadwatch said...

no need to worry because in Guilford COunty it is the same with a organization called TREBIC which is the triad real estate and building industry coalition AKA "TREBIC CARTEL" who are on all these boards and commissions as well. There should be some law or statute against this type of committee or board assignment , but as said in a previous post it is the fox guarding the hen house.

consultant said...

Not good.

Anonymous said...

The bigger government gets the more corrupt it becomes. We haven't seen nothing yet.

Anonymous said...

Mary Newsom wrote: "The planning commission ... among other things, recommends to the City Council whether to approve or reject rezoning proposals."

Actually, the planning commission is divided into two committees: The Planning Committee develops recommendations on land use, urban design, and transportation and other policy plans. The Zoning Committee sits in on city council and county rezoning hearings, then meets to discuss the particular petition, and then votes whether to recommend to city council that the petition be approved or denied. The 14 members serve on one committee or the other, and rotate the next year, etc.

The interesting thing is that city council is not obligated to follow the zoning committee's recommendation. For example, in 2007, developer Afshin Ghazi -(of Epicenter fame or notoriety) - petitioned the city to rezone 3 acres on Fairview Road near Wintercerst Drive to allow construction of a high-rise condo project.

The Zoning Committee attended the public hearing before city council, heard the same pro/con arguments that council did, discussed it at length in its own meeting, and unanimously voted to recommend the petition be denied. By the way, there were actually six votes to deny the petition. One member was absent. That was Rosenburgh. I wonder why.

Anyway, the planning staff also agreed that it should be denied, and the majority of residents in the affected subdivision sent a petition to council expressing their wish that the proposal be voted down. Despite all that, the council voted 10-2 to approve it.

Two of the 10 votes for it included those of current mayoral candidates John Lassiter and Anthony Foxx. They never did bother to explain to the neighborhood why they overruled the wishes of the zoning committee, planning staff and residents.

Maybe we'll luck out and they will both lose the election.

Anonymous said...

Please never ever put Mary on the planning commission.

Bryan said...

Please post the membership make up of other boards?

How many Hospitality People are on the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority

How many Cabby and Limo employees are on the Passenger Vehicle for Hire Board

How many Artists are on the Public Art Commission

How many Bike Riders are on the Bicycle Advisory Committee

How many Lawyers are on the Criminal Justice Citizen's Advisory Committee

I think you would find that 50% is quite low. People tend to serve on boards that work in their interests of expertise that is the reason for the board. It is impressive that 50% are not in the industry. Come on Mary it is getting embarrassing……..We all know you Hate Developers but lately your beginning to sound like a kook, you sound more and more like Mr. “dirty book guy” Davis every day……

Anonymous said...

How many ex-convicts are on the Parole Board?

rick b said...

Good comment, Anonymous 12:59:00.

And how many bank robbers are on the banking commission?

How many crack dealers are on the substance abuse advisory board?

How many pedophiles are on the child abuse prevention commission?

Developers are not planners, they are opportunists. Their goal is to make as much money as possible, and good planning sometimes has a negative effect on that goal. Why, then, should they have any input on planning decisions?

Unfortunately, in CharMeck and the surrounding counties (as is the case in almost any "excessive-growth" area), developers are the de facto planners. That is, truly, just as bad as having crack dealers set substance abuse prevention policy.

Bryan's ridiculous argument is typical of the cr@p that comes from Charlotte-area developers, and is the biggest reason for the regional mess we find ourselves in.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Rosenburgh? Clearly they don't talk with people who have done business with this guy. If they did they would know his history and he wouldn't even be on the Commission much less head it up. There are ethical developers in the community, albeit few and far between. These ethical developers are ideal people to serve on the Commission. It's a good balance between the staff and the private sector. However - Rosenburgh is quite far from being the type of person you'd want to serve on a community board.