Nothing like working on a deal, getting zoning, permits and attempting to make those near your development aware of what you are doing. Then you walk into a zoning hearing, your project makes all the sense in the world, good product, great economic impact, etc. and from nowhere comes a group of neighbors denouncing your plans. Always puts me in shock. They are immediate experts in engineering, architecture and economics. The unspoken deal is they are voters, and elected officials don't want to upset them.
I cannot speak for all, but many of the cities I have been to seem to have an echo affect of the same old same – traffic and drainage will impact us greatly. These multifamily communities will just jam traffic up for days on end. Do they can this speech and bring it town to town? Is there a NIMBY manual of what to say at a public hearing to stop a project dead in its tracks? Seems to be one floating around somewhere, I must Google it.
I don't know about you, but cities seem to have these building codes, engineering departments, etc. and I never touched a tract of land without improving the drainage. Enter the all mighty traffic jam you will create. See every single person that lives there will make a bee line home at exactly 5:00 pm. The NIMBYs will make you think the line to get into your community will be longer than getting into a NFL game on Sunday with the new enhanced security. Do me a favor, go sit outside a 300-unit community and count cars between 5 – 6 pm, let me know if you count 300 of them. See, people do not all come home at the same time, or leave at the same time for that matter. There are also design methods you apply for pulling traffic on and off a major road, deceleration lanes, stacking lanes, etc. Regardless, these logical steps that skilled professionals took seem to be rendered moot when it is hammer time.
So what is so Kangaroo you ask? That would be the forum you are in to gain that approval you need to move forward. Some places have two (2) steps, Planning and Zoning, then City Council or the like. Some have one or the other, some have one unless one of them turns you down. Guess it depends who writes the rules that day. Whatever the process is, it comes down to politics and voters in the district you are going to build in. In the blink of an eye, these officials are to understand all that you know and vote based on a few minutes of review. Much like a judge in a courtroom, they do not live through the rollercoaster ride you have been on, they do not know the good, bad or different – they just heard the facts and drop the hammer on your deal. Is that really justice or Kangaroo Court?
So they next time you are planning to build something that will require a public hearing, know this – they usually notice everybody in a certain distance of the property of said hearing. Start your politics with those people, get them on your side, have a community meeting to hear and address concerns. It will not be a cure all, but when Aunt Sally walks up before the forum and voices how she is so against it, you can fire back that you met with her and all the neighbors, attempted to work through these issues and thought you had done so. Then nail away at each item that was voiced, show how it is addressed, etc. Throw some economic impact numbers in the fire, talk about job creation and send the Kangaroo jumping to your side.
Heading off the Australia to grab a mascot, have a hearing to attend…..