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Thread: call of the day

  1. #1
    Cyburbian smarty's avatar
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    Bellingham, WA
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    call of the day

    :alien

    Planner: Hello, Planning Department.

    Caller: Uhhh, yes, my father died a week ago, and I heard they are planning an investigation about his death and I was thinking about having him cremated. Should I hold off on that???

    Planner: Oh, uhhhh, I'm thinking you might want to call the Police Department.

    Caller: Ok. click.....................
    I wonder if birds know it's Tuesday?

  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Call? Singular?

    Strangely, in this little town, with far more public contact than I've had at other jobs, I get far fewer offbeat calls. When they happen, usually the mindset of the caller is "planning = code enforcement = the people that can do something about the neighbor's dog, who is pooping on my lawn."

    Anyone else get the thanks you very much ... oh, and another thing?" calls that stretch on for half an hour or more, and leave you with the prospect of research that'll take another hour to complete?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  3. #3
          Downtown's avatar
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    Originally posted by Dan
    Call? Singular?

    Anyone else get the thanks you very much ... oh, and another thing?" calls that stretch on for half an hour or more, and leave you with the prospect of research that'll take another hour to complete?
    we get lots of the oh, and another thing.... but fortunately, most of the info i need is readily available digitally. if anyone needs something hauled out of records, i usually make them come in and foil it. but usually what people need is meeting recaps or an explanation of a pending project.

  4. #4
    maudit anglais
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    I haven't been so isolated from the public since my days working as a co-op student for the province. I don't get very many cold calls from the general public, only from developers, other departments etc.

    However - at some point in the distant past, the person who sat in my office was the "ravine" planner - Toronto has lots of little ravines (small wooded valleys). The City printed up a whack of brochures about 10 years ago...with my number as the City contact. So every once in a while I get a call concerning raccoons, or kids playing in the ravine, or somebody filling in a ravine.

  5. #5
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Yesterdays call

    Caller: East Fillmore is turning into a used car lot.

    Me: Oh?

    Caller: Yes, there are cars parked along the street all over!

    Me: Do they have For sale signs on them

    Caller: No

    Me: So they are just parked there?

    Caller: Yes, they move them once a day so they don't get towed.

    Me: So they are the peoples cars that they drive everyday?

    Caller: Yes

    Me: Sorry, they are allowed to park there.

    Caller: (20 minute rant follows about the way things used to be 20 years ago and how she is 80 something and is happy she won't live much longer to have to see it get worse)

  6. #6
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Originally posted by giff57
    Yesterdays call
    Caller: (20 minute rant follows about the way things used to be 20 years ago and how she is 80 something and is happy she won't live much longer to have to see it get worse)
    See? My new job as a professional assassin would be a public service!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  7. #7
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
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    Tenure

    Have you noticed that every resident has lived in town a minimum of 40 years???

    Just once I want someone who just moved to town to acknowledge that they just got here. "Hi. I just moved in yesterday, and your decision-making blows dog!" That I respect.
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

  8. #8
          Downtown's avatar
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    And not only have they been living there for 40 years, but its ALWAYS:

    "I've been a tax paying citizen in the Town for 43 years, blah blah blah."

  9. #9
    Cyburbian smarty's avatar
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    low cal

    I like the ones that show up, obviously a local, and start asking questions, but then throw in local history.......

    "Yeah, well I used to own this forty acres here (points to current downtown, Wally World, or high density apartments), but then Clem Johnson bought and raised those damn goats, remember that???"

    "Uhhhh, no, I was in Grade 3 at the time."

    "Well what do you know about the growth of this town then??"

    "Maybe that you should have been buried with Ol Man Johnsons goats???"

    "Wha!?!?"

    "Nothing."
    I wonder if birds know it's Tuesday?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I've been a tax paying citizen in the Town for 43 years, blah blah blah."
    Our Director of Public Works uses the following,

    "And that makes all the difference."

    With older women he'll even add a "dear" to it. Somehow they don't get mad at him when he says this.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Re: low cal

    Originally posted by smarty
    I like the ones that show up, obviously a local, and start asking questions, but then throw in local history.......

    "Yeah, well I used to own this forty acres here (points to current downtown, Wally World, or high density apartments), but then Clem Johnson bought and raised those damn goats, remember that???"

    "Uhhhh, no, I was in Grade 3 at the time."
    That is the case at every one of our staff meetings for Plan Commission Agenda.

    Prudence: "And our next docket item is the Plat of Ferril Cat Acres."

    Assessor: "Oh yeah, that's the place where the bikers set up camp when the outlaws came to town, and 'ol man Gregg mad a killing on the rent."

    Utility Director: "Yeah, too bad they shot and cooked Earl's horse though."

    Prudence: *sigh*

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Va
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    Cat acres? Cant name it that unless its in honor of all the dead cats around the Cyburbia men
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  13. #13
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
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    Do people think they get BETTER service/answers because they have lived here longer.

    Resident: I want to build my garage right next to the road.

    Planner: We have required setbacks from roadways.

    Resident: I have lived in this city for 50 years...

    Planner: Ohhh. Why didn't you say so in the first place. That's the answer we give the other residents. But you can do anything you damn well please. And no, you don't need a permit.
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

  14. #14
          Downtown's avatar
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    Originally posted by prudence
    Do people think they get BETTER service/answers because they have lived here longer.


    Resident: I have lived in this city for 50 years...

    Planner: Ohhh. Why didn't you say so in the first place. That's the answer we give the other residents. But you can do anything you damn well please. And no, you don't need a permit.
    My response (i wish): Ohhh. That's too bad, because you have to be here 51 years before you can do whatever you want without a permit.


    And the VERY BEST is when you get someone who is maybe 32 and says "Well, I've lived in this town for 30 years....."

  15. #15
    I got this one sometime back

    Caller: What is going on over at 1234 Main St?
    Me: Oh, that is a a huge chain pharmacy going there
    Caller: How could you approve that?
    Me: Well it fit the Zoning and the Plan Commission had no choice. We worked really hard to get them to make improvements and it will be very nice looking.
    Caller: Oh well I live 2 blocks away and I dont want it there.
    Me: Well there is nothing you can really do about it now.
    Caller: How would you like it if they put up a drug store by your house.
    Me: I have a drug store, a grocery store, and about 10 restaurants within 2 blocks of my house.
    Caller: Where is that?
    Me: Milwaukee?
    Caller: You mean you don't live in this City? Why are you planning my City if you don't live here? How do you know what the people here want?

    It is like these people think that if you dont' live in a community, you don't care about it.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  16. #16
          Downtown's avatar
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    Originally posted by jtfortin

    It is like these people think that if you dont' live in a community, you don't care about it.
    And if you do live there, you can't be objective. Damned if you do, Damned if you don't.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Response turned into rant (sorry)

    Originally posted by jtfortin
    I got this one sometime back

    It is like these people think that if you dont' live in a community, you don't care about it.
    I very rarely live in the community that I work for, not so much because I don't want to live there, but I usually can't afford to. Example: work - Davis, live - Sacramento. Or my current situation: work - St. Albert, live - Edmonton.

    [begin rant]
    I can sympathize with you jtfortin. A long time ago in Davis I dealt with it a lot... many people were upset that I lived in Sacramento. For the period of about three years I was dealing with a neighborhood in the downtown with beautiful houses that are surrounded by expanding commercial and multifamily on two sides and a burgeoning fraternity row on the other. These angry boxed in neighbors had me in their slings for a few years, and I felt for them, but at the end of the day there wasn't much I could do. But they used my residency status as their final argument *a lot*.

    I bent And finally, after being beaten down for the nth time, I finally said "I would love to work here, but as a public servant I can't afford to." It only took that once with that one gossip lady, and nobody ever hassled me again from that neighborhood. I feel bad about getting in the face of the public, but sometimes the public gets too personal. [/end rant]

  18. #18
    Cyburbian smarty's avatar
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    fun tool

    when someone comes into the front counter with a question, pulls out a drawing (usually in dull #2 pencil on graph paper after being copied at Kinko's) and says "Can I put my garage here??"

    I grab a scrap piece of paper, write "NO.", turn it around and slide it towards them. They just look plainly at the paper and then look at me with the saddest puppy dog eyes or complete and utter dumbfoundness that a public slave, er, servant would DARE tell them no.

    Then, before they blow a pressure gasket, I begin to sketch out setback requirements. So, I burst their bubble and then reinflate it to the proper pressure.

    We're know as The Dream Crushers.
    I wonder if birds know it's Tuesday?

  19. #19
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    West Valley, AZ
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    what about my dodge?

    i like to get completly irate callers to forget what they are calling about. I'll talk about classic cars or the weather, or etc. Then i sum the conversation.

    Me: It's been great talking to you about so and so and tell your daugheter good luck with her softball team etc. etc. I like you... and because I want you to have every oppertunity to become compliant, I'll extend your deadline a week.. if that's ok with you?

    Caller: oh thank you, i'm sure we'll have it all done by then.. you sure are cooperative, not like those code enforcement (environmental) officers.

    Me: No problem, and if you have any questions, concerns, etc. please! call me.. that's why i'm here.

    Caller: I will. thanks!


    anyway, most of the time, they're happy, i'm impressed with my ability to change the subject, the violation is resolved, I don't have to ticket, and they never call back.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Eek... I didn't hijak this bizarre call thread and turn it into a public headgames thread.

    Let's try to restore this real quick...

    We got a call yesterday from a guy wanting to know how big our lake ("Big Lake"... pshaw) would need to be in order for him to fly his float plane onto it. (Just by the way you said that, it's hard to tell what he's talking about... does he want to know if he can land his plan there, or how much he'd need to expand the lake to create a runway?)

    Big Lake is in a few jurisdictions, of which ours is the smallest (I think it's in the county, and two city limits). So we tell this guy that we do not know how big the lake is offhand nor the minimum size landing space. We explained that very little of the lake is in our jurisdiction and that he would need to talk to the Federal department (I forgot what the Canadian FAA is, but I knew it yesterday when I was talking to this guy... oh well). Ok, so then he asks if he goes to the County if he'd get the same answer. "Uh... I would hope so. But in either case, airplane flight patterns and landing areas are governed by the feds." And that was that. He just sighed and walked away.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    God I don't miss working in the public sector one bit. When I did, my phone number was one number off from the subscription problems number of the local newspaper.

    You have no idea how many times I was yelled at for delivering the paper to the neighbor, for delivering it when we cancelled, etc. etc.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian smarty's avatar
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    Bellingham, WA
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    COD

    I can't believe it's started already......I just sat down.

    Planner: Good Morning, Planning Department.

    Caller: Yes, my neighbors (Oh dear Lord here it comes) have this tree and the leaves keep blowing over into my yard. What is the City going to do about this??

    Planner: I'm sorry, Ma'am, what did you say??

    C: I said.....my neighbors leaves keep blowing into my yard. I want to know what you're going to do about.

    P: Ma'am, this is the PLANNING DEPARTMENT, we have rules the control where buildings are built on property and what people can do with their property. We don't have rules about errant leaves blowing onto other peoples property.

    C: Well (expasperated) what am I supposed to do???

    P: Have you thought about hiring a neighbor kid to rake leaves for you??

    C: That's NOT what my tax dollars are for..........I'll just call the Mayors Office..............

    P: Do you need the number?????

    click............................

    aaaahhhhh, Fridays..............................
    I wonder if birds know it's Tuesday?

  23. #23
    90 percent of all calls probably contain the following phrase

    1. It will decrease property values
    2. It will increase traffic
    3. I have lived here for ___ years and have never ______
    4. This is what my tax dollars are going to?
    5. Wow, I get to speak to a real person instead of all this voice mail.
    6. What is going on over at _________________
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  24. #24
    Cyburbian smarty's avatar
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    call of the day......recap

    Wow........this just caused me to re-up in the planning field...

    Planner: Yes!?!? Planning Department.....

    Caller: Yes, I'd like to plant some trees in my yard and I'm not sure who to talk to........

    P: Ok, keep going and I"ll see what I can do to help.

    C: Well..........(and the dicussion about property boundaries and street rights-of-way continues)

    P: Ok, so since we discussed this all on the phone, I'd recommend before you start, stop down to our office and we'll pull the Kroll Map and make sure you're getting right dimensions.

    C: That's a great idea and I'd really appreciate it. I just have to say I'm really impressed with the way you people work here in __________. From you, the Parks people, the Police and everything, just a great sense of community. Thanks so much for your time.

    P: Sir, you can't imagine how much you just made my day........


    Moral of the story, the general public will never stop to amaze you..................
    I wonder if birds know it's Tuesday?

  25. #25
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Edmonton
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    There's this one guy that calls me a lot to complain about people, and mostly I just listen. He never goes on for more than a few minutes, so it doesn't take too much out of my day. But he always ends the conversation with, "Tell your boss to give you the rest of the day off, and I think you should get a raise." I wish! But it's a nice little pick me up on some days.

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