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Thread: Retaliation against developers

  1. #1
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Retaliation against developers

    "we're afraid that they will start to come down real hard on us and make our approval process difficult."

    That concept really bothers me. Professionals do not hold grudges, nor do they retaliate. Or am I the oddball that accepts each and every proposal on its own merit?

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    No...you're not the only one mike. But we are certainly "harder" on individual problem developers.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    It is not your job to be hard on problem developers. You should evaluate each proposal against applicable ordinances, nothing more.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    This is a case of actions speak louder than words as an example and invoking sam's law...

    I had an application from wal~mart, the developer and consultants pushed me really hard to do most of their leg work, the municipality wanted it doen, so I did it.

    They then came in with another application and expected the same treatment, I said no, this time you'll do the work and do it properly as you now know what I expect.

    Same thing at my most recent job, people get the benefit of the doubt until they prove they don't deserve it and then they get the bureaucrat.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Captain Worley's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    It is not your job to be hard on problem developers. You should evaluate each proposal against applicable ordinances, nothing more.
    I hear what you're saying, but certain companies draw attention to themselves, and not in a positive manner.
    Navy collier
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  6. #6
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    It is not your job to be hard on problem developers. You should evaluate each proposal against applicable ordinances, nothing more.
    Exactly. The ones I am hard on, I am hard on because they are not complying with the ordinances. If you comply, I've got no bone to pick with you.

    "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)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I understand human nature, but I think alot of people on this board should re-evaluate what the actual duties of a planner are. The personal agendas voiced by several are quite disturbing (not just in this thread).

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    Exactly. The ones I am hard on, I am hard on because they are not complying with the ordinances. If you comply, I've got no bone to pick with you.
    Particularly when they do not submit a complete application according to the instructions packet.
    Oddball
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    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    In their defense, half of all the townships I deal with do not make the application process easy. Checkilists are often difficult to locate, fee schedules leave to much up to interpretation, and staff frequently does not know the answer to simple questions, such as ...how many sets of plans?

  10. #10
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    staff frequently does not know the answer to simple questions, such as ...how many sets of plans?
    twelve (5)



  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    In their defense, half of all the townships I deal with do not make the application process easy. Checkilists are often difficult to locate, fee schedules leave to much up to interpretation, and staff frequently does not know the answer to simple questions, such as ...how many sets of plans?
    We have our applications and their instructions available in both hard copy at the counter and on line.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    I understand human nature, but I think alot of people on this board should re-evaluate what the actual duties of a planner are. The personal agendas voiced by several are quite disturbing (not just in this thread).
    Welcome to the human condition.

    Imagine that, a "private" bueracracy which does its best to minimize required obligations in order to maximize "praviate" gain and run by people, would conflict with a "public" bueracracy wich isn't supposed to see people but is run by humans who have to deal with "entities" that apply very real human pressures.

    It comes down to those that try to work well with other usually have an easier time of it. Those that don't play well with others tend to get less latitude. It's not really rocket science.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  13. #13
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    When you think about it, problem developers make things harder on themselves. If they turn everything in that they need, have done their homework ahead of time, and know the process, then it should not be too difficult to get approvals.

    But when you start omitting things, turning in plans that do not meet the regulations, or doing things out of order, it slows up the process greatly.

    We have one developer who repeatedly does not turn in correct site plans, which we then call and ask for revised site plans showing the correct location and setbacks, but they go and build without the permit being issued, and then we double the fee for the building permit.

    If all the information had been turned in correctly, it would not have been a problem.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    I understand human nature, but I think alot of people on this board should re-evaluate what the actual duties of a planner are. The personal agendas voiced by several are quite disturbing (not just in this thread).
    A lot of this depends upon a person's job description - public vs. private is the obvious one, but also what location they are in. In some places, the planning department is expected to have an "agenda" (and thus will tend to hire those whose personal agenda matches the department's agenda), based upon wording in the city or county charter or bylaws. Simply going by what is currently in the book may violate the spirit of that charter - because the specific situation has not come up yet to write a new rule.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    A lot of this depends upon a person's job description - public vs. private is the obvious one, but also what location they are in. In some places, the planning department is expected to have an "agenda".
    Your only "agenda" should be to promote the comp plan, and the visions that are contained within. That is what planners do. Politicians promote agendas.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    Your only "agenda" should be to promote the comp plan, and the visions that are contained within. That is what planners do. Politicians promote agendas.
    I'm private sector, so it's now irrelevant to me personally, but when I was in the public sector my city had a "transit-first" policy in the city charter. Part of my job (Yes, an explicit part of my job responsibilities) was to evaluate each proposal based on whether or not it conflicted with the transit-first clause, regardless of whether or not it complied with the comp plan.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    That isnt a personal agenda.

    It is a clearly defined agenda, available for all developers to read and comply with.

    We're talking personal agendas.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    That isnt a personal agenda.

    It is a clearly defined agenda, available for all developers to read and comply with.

    We're talking personal agendas.
    Ok, sort of. But it goes back to what I said earlier - if the city planning department has that agenda, it attracts and goes after new planners who share that as a personal agenda - sometimes to a much greater degree than the planning department has held in the past (it continually skews further to one direction). Since it isn't written in stone, it's up to each individual planner to determine what "transit-first" means - and their personal agenda influences this to a huge extent. There is no black and white - the planners know this - and allow their personal agendas to come into play, and are fully backed by the department - though many times it is completely unfair.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    We are professionals and have a set of ordinances to go by and Master Plan to guide us. We do not make ordinances nor do we make the MP, these are done by elected and appointed officials with public input.
    We also have a set of ethics to go by
    Like and/or dislikes do not enter the process

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    "we're afraid that they will start to come down real hard on us and make our approval process difficult."

    That concept really bothers me. Professionals do not hold grudges, nor do they retaliate. Or am I the oddball that accepts each and every proposal on its own merit?
    I have certainly worked in places where this is real.

    Most of the communities I know, and most of the ones I have worked for are very professional in their treatment of developers. The exception to that is one community that would distribute a questionaire to the applicant's consultant after the ordeal. As the consultant read it, it might have said "Bearing in mind that you will have to come before us again, and considering that you will need to get clients in the future who think you can get plans considered by us, tell us how well you agree with the statement that we really did treat you fairly." Think I am kidding? The applicants would complain about the torture they went through to me and to the private economic development corporation, and then the planning department would say that all went well.

    Working in the private sector, I think we do have an obligation to speak up and let people know when a community (its plan commission or staff) is out of line. Unfortunately, it can also have an impact on the liklihood of getting work with that community, or on our ability to get projects reviewed in the future. No, that is not professional, but we all know some very petty people are out there. As a result, we can be reluctant to be frank about the community's process, standards, etc.
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  21. #21
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    I just got started in planning, but so far it feels like every day I make some decisions that require my own discretion. You could call that an "agenda" if you want, but I think that some reliance on personal preference is inevitable. City policies do not cover every possible circumstance, and besides there are a million ways to skin a cat. Of course, on big issues city policy must be followed. But there are millions of small decisions that you really just have to trust your own instincts on.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by raster calculator View post
    I just got started in planning.....there are millions of small decisions that you really just have to trust your own instincts on.
    Off-topic:
    Please be careful. Be very careful.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian ruralplanner's avatar
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    Your only "agenda" should be to promote the comp plan, and the visions that are contained within. That is what planners do. Politicians promote agendas.
    Politicians promote their own agendas, however planners influence what those agendas are. Planners promote the comp plan, but they also promote their agenda through the comp plan based on what they and the majority of the public thinks is best for a community overall. The planner agenda takes the form of plan policies and recommendations, which in turn influences the agendas of politicians. Hao dare a politician go against their constituent developed comp plan?

    In terms of treating developers the same-- you have to. Always take the high road. In the end you will get a reputation of being hard-- but fair. That goes a long way in the credibility of your department and operation.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian poncho's avatar
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    I don't think it is a matter of coming down hard on developers. It is a matter of making them tow the line so to speak. I receive so many incomplete applications, then when i reject it they complain, and I just need to let them float on by. This is typically when we get the we are a hard community to work with.

    In the past there might have been some that were arbitrary in the review process, but that has ceased. I get so tired of asking for the same information from the same large engineering firms.

    If the public knew how much time and tax dollars were spent holding these consultants hands I am sure they would not be happy.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by raster calculator View post
    I just got started in planning, but so far it feels like every day I make some decisions that require my own discretion. You could call that an "agenda" if you want, but I think that some reliance on personal preference is inevitable. City policies do not cover every possible circumstance, and besides there are a million ways to skin a cat. Of course, on big issues city policy must be followed. But there are millions of small decisions that you really just have to trust your own instincts on.
    Echoing RJ, do be careful. There is a fine line between using discretion when making or recommending decisions, and promoting your own agenda in doing so. But you are basically correct. Should yo recommend a waiver to allow an additional sign? Is the architecture of the building compatible with its neighbors? Is not only the percentage of greenspace, but also its location appropriate for the development? There are many judgement calls we make in this profession. We simply need to be able to defend them when challenged.
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