Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 30

Thread: Planners as neighbors

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    on my 15 minute break
    Posts
    17,680

    Planners as neighbors

    Has anyone else ever noticed that simply because you're a planner working at City Hall you suddenly become in your neighbors' eyes the Representative of All Government?
    I can't take out the freakin trash or mow my lawn without being accosted by neighbors who either:
    A) want to complain about some issue with the municipality that I have absolutely NOTHING to do with......"Don't you work at city hall? How come you won't replace my mailbox? One of the snowplows hit it two years ago and now it has funny tilt to it and whenever a heavy truck goes by it vibrates so much that it keeps leaning over further and further. See how it is? It must be listing almost eight degrees...." or "How come you keep raising my property taxes so much every year?" or "why did you let Walmart come into town and run out all the local businesses?"

    B) expect you to use your position to help them out regardless of whether they are in the right or wrong simply because you're their neighbor and therefore on their side. I have had neighbors that have asked me in all seriousness to pull out a particular candidate's campaign signs. On two different occasions I have had neighbors who fully expected me to put the fix in on their outrageous variance requests.

    Anyone else have this happen to them?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2003
    Location
    "Somewhere in the middle"
    Posts
    3,160
    Aren't you so lucky to have such wonderful neighbors!!
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,653
    That's why I'm especially leery about living where I work. I've always had a big buffer between work and home and although the commute can suck, at least I'm not getting stopped by the citizenry at the supermarket.

  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    on my 15 minute break
    Posts
    17,680
    Quote Originally posted by Queen B
    Aren't you so lucky to have such wonderful neighbors!!
    Mrs. Maister has remarked time and again that we seem to attract all wierdos for neighbors. I can count the number of reasonably "normal" neighbors we've had since we've been married on two fingers. When we lived at the apartment we had a guy across the hall who stayed up all night on patrol looking out his window to make sure that no one stole his car. If you pulled into the parking lot at 3 am you could be sure to see a light go on in his bedroom followed by the curtains parting slightly and surreptitious glances. Next day while opening the door to get the newspaper he'd pop out to announce that he'd "seen some suspicious people loitering about the parking lot late last night. Didn't break into any cars, though..."
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Sans Souci
    Posts
    5,265
    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Has anyone else ever noticed that simply because you're a planner working at City Hall you suddenly become in your neighbors' eyes the Representative of All Government?
    Yes, and I try to down play it, but the inevitable questions surface along with the inevitable criticisms. I know almost everyone on my block and we have a block party scheduled for next weekend ---- beer, brats, music and water balloons ... WOO HOO !!!!! Planners make great neighbors, because most of them I've met are great conversationalists and like drinking beer on the front porch or deck. Personally, I spend most of my time at home (other than sleeping) sitting on my couch on the front porch.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Boru's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    At the dining table
    Posts
    235
    None of my neighbours know what I do. I just tell them I am a consultant. I would like to shop them to the authorities for putting in driveways where there are currently none and changing the character of the area, but I intend to buy the house I currently rent so I'd rather get on with my neighbours. I cant play planner all the time on every issue.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    4,604
    Yes I had this happen many times when I was in NC
    Had the missadventure of being a member of a church that wanted to "grow" and had such a fine god fearing contractor who was going to build this wonderful show of gods love (read toung in cheek)

    Good sized church, I offered my input or advice to the building committee before they started but hey I was a young woman (this was a southern baptist church at the time) thus they did not need a little womans input.

    Contractor ended up in my office one monday morning (after giving a sermon on Sunday) cursing and raising all kinds of hell with me (hes plans were horrid) I turned him down and by god by the end of the day I had every tom dick and harry from the church calling and telling me I was interfearing with gods work, going to hell etc etc etc. So i made sure they had the head of the building committee and the pastor call and set a meeting up with me.

    They walked in and realized who I was and I let them know what was going on, that I was canceling my membership etc.

    The contractor was fired-the man hated me for years after that. No big loss in my book.

    Learned to shop at odd hours or out of town for fear someone would run into me and want ot know about their project or some such that I had no dealings in or worse yet one of the local press.

    grrrr Now I dont live and work in the same area for a reason.
    "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!'"

  8. #8
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    3,159
    I'm very fortunate to have GREAT neighbors, but they still come to me regarding everything - the neighbors weeds, when the road construction will be done, etc.

  9. #9
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 1998
    Location
    On the Mother River
    Posts
    4,533
    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Anyone else have this happen to them?
    Umm, I'm a City Administrator in a town of 1,500, what do you think?
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Sans Souci
    Posts
    5,265
    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    Umm, I'm a City Administrator in a town of 1,500, what do you think?
    Yep !!! I often introduce myself as the "Omnipotent City Overlord". 6,500 + people. I hate it when someone knows my name and I don't know theirs, but it happens when your the new kid on the block. We recently changed out all of our water meters to more accurate units and I continuously get flack because water bills have increased. I just tell them that they've been getting free water for years because our meters could not register low flow. This apeases some, but not all.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  11. #11
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    on my 15 minute break
    Posts
    17,680
    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    Umm, I'm a City Administrator in a town of 1,500, what do you think?
    giff, I believe there is a very different psychology present in small towns. Residents still might act like poopheads from time to time, but the fact that one knows they'll be dealing/interacting with the same neighbors every day in a variety of social settings acts as a sort of restraint that tends to encourage civility. Would you not agree?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  12. #12
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,246
    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    Umm, I'm a City Administrator in a town of 1,500, what do you think?
    Sympathy card is in the mail...

    I don't get it much because I live in an incorporated area. However, the area I live in just recently became the water supply for the city I work in. Now I have had a few neighbors complain to me that we are going to drain their lake and ruin the local economy. I have now perfected taking them through the calculations for our impact on lake levels; I figure that I'm just better off doing that than telling them to go f%^& themselves. Though tempting, I usually refrain from discussing what the original listed purposes of the reservoir were when the COE built it: flood control and water supply. It doesn't mention recreation or economic engine anywhere.

    I also get a lot of questions from people at the church I go to. I helped one guy who was trying to start a small business understand the different rules of that city and who he would need to talk to. One stickler with me though is that the church is building a new building and some of the people think that I can make their permitting process go faster or magically get a traffic light at the intersection. The one nice thing that my experience has allowed me with the building project is that I was able to get the church some additional income by placing cell phone facilities inside the steeple. Made the city happy as they wouldn't have another antenna sticking up.

    When I introduce myself now, I generally say "land planner" rather than "city planner". Then they don't know to ask whether I work for the guvmit.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  13. #13
         
    Registered
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Here
    Posts
    3,519
    Anytime one of the neighbors gets a call or letter from the City (that I do not work for ) regarding thier RV, boat, 7 cars in the street, they ask if I called or if I knew who called the city.....uh NO
    And we have a problem with the clay sewer pipes throughout the neighborhood...the neighbors are always asking me to call the city and see what can be done or call to have the mosquito truck spray our street...etc....they never really bitch to me about problems, just constantly askng for info...
    I don't know that I would ever live in the community that I work for again, too much pressure, constantly seeing violations, etc...I also rarely "go out" in the City that I work for...too many offers of free drinks, dinner, me drinking too much then starting to "talk" politics with people, etc...so when I do go out here in this city it is rare...

  14. #14
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,150
    I have not really had this problem yet. I have told some people we've met in the neighborhood that I am a Planner, but where we live, the average property owner is well-educated and knows how to deal with "planning" questions or concerns on their own.

    I have been asked that "their friend has to lots, could one be buildable?". My reply was maybe, depending on the specifics of the applicable zoning code.

    Plus, I live approx. 30 miles from where I "plan".
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  15. #15
    There is an ongoing feud in my neighborhood -- the type of thing where one neighbor is waiting for the other to do something without a permit so they can be the first to leave me a voicemail alerting me. So, I'm at work one day and one of the neighbors stops by to personally inform me of some perceived infraction. He asks me why I didn't see it on my way to work and why am I not "johnny-on-the-spot" sending a violation notice.

    Well, you see, I am more than you think I am. I actually have a life beyond working for the city. I have two kids that have to go to school, don't you know, and that school is not located on ye olde maine streete, so therefore I could not have personally witnessed this alleged violation.

    Later they were overheard by a coworker leaving the elevator saying "that Gedunker is an a$$h0le..."
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,662
    Honestly, I don't tell people what I do really, just that I work in development but they don't know if that's for the town or not. If they need something they can call during busines hours just like every other citizen. I don't ask them job related questions when they're at home, I think I should get the same respect.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Encroaching on something
    Posts
    2,713
    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop
    That's why I'm especially leery about living where I work. I've always had a big buffer between work and home and although the commute can suck, at least I'm not getting stopped by the citizenry at the supermarket.
    I have to agree completely. I do it for my sanity. When I worked in a place that the BCC meetings were televised, I would get accosted. It was not worth it to me. I just know that the communities that I live in do not want me living there because I will be a pain to them whenever they try to do something in my neck of the woods. Tee hee. Planners do not always make great neighbors.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    739
    Yikes!!!!

    Well, I'm glad I don't live in a small town and I'm glad that I don't go to church. After hearing these stories, I'm also not going to tell ANYONE that I'm a planner whenever I finally become one.

    Some people around me already know I work for the City and they think that means that I know everyone here and can "get things done" for them

  19. #19
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 1998
    Location
    On the Mother River
    Posts
    4,533
    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    giff, I believe there is a very different psychology present in small towns. Residents still might act like poopheads from time to time, but the fact that one knows they'll be dealing/interacting with the same neighbors every day in a variety of social settings acts as a sort of restraint that tends to encourage civility. Would you not agree?
    To some degree, yes, but some folks are just a'holes no matter where they live.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  20. #20
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9,005
    Blog entries
    2
    I live 20 miles from work, but some people ask me about things, eventhough I cannot do really anything about it.
    I got some raised eyebrows from my RV parking neighbors when I told them what I do. (They got some calls for inoperable vehicles when they lived in Fort Collins). But otherwise things are okay.
    I do get asked about landscaping, probably just because I seem to be the only one who cares to FINISH HIS YARD!!!! Which is fine, I'm beginning to think I could offer my landscape design services for my neighbors and maybe make some extra beer money!

    On the other hand:
    My builder for my house out in Weld County is based and has a couple development out of the town I work in. In fact, when I went in for various design/construction conferences, and they found out what I did I got asked:
    "When is a Supermarket going in by my house?"
    "What can we do to smooth the building permit process with you guys?"

    The other day I got a call on my cell from our "Construction Coordinator" from the home builder. Not to check on how we are enjoying the home (their customer service SUCKED) But she had a couple questions about her neighborhood and would like me to call her back...
    ... I think that will take me a couple days....
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  21. #21
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,128
    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Has anyone else ever noticed that simply because you're a planner working at City Hall you suddenly become in your neighbors' eyes the Representative of All Government?

    Anyone else have this happen to them?
    Hah! Just move to a neighborhood where no one speaks english! Sure you have to put up with chickens, un-mowed alleys and a general level of squalor, but you won't be bugged!

  22. #22
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    739
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    Hah! Just move to a neighborhood where no one speaks english! Sure you have to put up with chickens, un-mowed alleys and a general level of squalor, but you won't be bugged!
    Don't forget 10 cars parked at each house

  23. #23
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    5,502
    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Anyone else have this happen to them?
    Yes... too many times. That's why I almost never live in the town I work for (especially if it's a small town).

  24. #24
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2001
    Location
    skating on thin ice
    Posts
    6,958
    This is whay I left my last 2 jobs.

    Getting calls at home about applications, getting harassed when lying n a hospital bed about an applicaiton, not being able to go grocery shopping.....

    Now, I am a nameless/faceless peon in a sea of people and I like it.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    ????
    Posts
    1,184
    All of my neighbors know what I do. I don't mind when they ask me advice, and they generally do not call me to complain about things in the neighborhood. I don't list my phone number so people can't call me at home for work related buisness. My city cell phone sits on my desk when I am not working.

    Even though I don't work for the city in which I live, I have become pretty well acquainted with their development code, thanks to my neighbors.

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. What to do about the new neighbors?
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 16
    Last post: 28 Feb 2013, 1:51 PM
  2. Thy neighbors
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 34
    Last post: 12 Feb 2007, 12:43 PM
  3. My neighbors' feud (rant)
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 12
    Last post: 13 May 2005, 3:27 PM
  4. Article: When Neighbors Go Bad
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 12 Jul 2004, 4:06 PM
  5. Crazy neighbors
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 08 Aug 2002, 2:45 PM