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Thread: Out of the loop: city planner not consulted on school project

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Out of the loop: city planner not consulted on school project

    Article: http://www.bristolpress.com/site/new...id=10486&rfi=6

    Highlight: (First sentence)
    No one involved with the recommendation to build a 900-student K-8 school on the old Scalia sand pit off Barlow Street has asked the city planner or public works director whether they think the site will work.
    WOW !

    How do you feel or react when you/your dept are left out of the loop ?

    Could this become a new never ending thread of bad planning headlines and article ?
    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)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    How do you feel or react when you/your dept are left out of the loop ?
    Like I'm at my office during a normal day.
    Maintaining enthusiasm in the face of crushing apathy.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Coragus View post
    Like I'm at my office during a normal day.
    No kidding. School districts in our area think they are autonomous of the site planning process. We even have a state supreme court case about it.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    the last town I worked in had me lead the public process for a new school - the town had purchased the lad about 30 years ago for the express purpose of putting a school there osmeday and even had that in their deed (good planning, it was impressive) - the problem was that is was nestled next to the Town Forest and separated 2 neighborhoods with inadequate access (cul-de-sacs with zillions of people on them) - so for all those years of the land getting built up around it, the realtors were telling people that land was town forest, so you can imagine the shock and dismay when, alas, a school that their kids could walk to, play at (active recreation and playground), and would connect 2 islands of neighborhoods - you would think I was locating a nuclear power plant

    it was a great exercise and as you would guess, after it was built, everyone's land values went up and people loved it (duh)

    so yeah, we planners should be in on these projects because it deflected the pressure off the School Committee and the Superintendent personally and it became a town project - planners are used to getting their butts kicked in public and smile about it

  5. #5
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    No kidding. School districts in our area think they are autonomous of the site planning process. We even have a state supreme court case about it.
    Yeah, I think Texas has one of those decisions as well. It still doesn't allow us to save the school district from itself though when they buy the stupidest piece of property humanly possible to place an elementary school on. A certain nearby district really hit for the cycle on one of their elementary sites: on a heavily travelled semi-rural state highway with no neighborhoods nearby, playground in the front next to the highway, illegally constructed a driveway onto said highway only to have TxDOT force them to remove it, building an auto-centric elementary school nowhere near neighborhoods then not having enough stacking space for all of the soccer moms and buses picking up kids...

    "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)

  6. #6
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    No kidding. School districts in our area think they are autonomous of the site planning process. We even have a state supreme court case about it.
    Here in NH, they are exempt from Local Regulations.

    RSA 674:54

    Most times, we'll have a hearing and issue non-binding recommendations, that is hit or miss on whether or not they are followed.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  7. #7
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    No kidding. School districts in our area think they are autonomous of the site planning process. We even have a state supreme court case about it.
    By state law, public schools in California may exempt themselves from local land use regulations and building codes with one exception that I'm aware off: if the site is located in the coastal zone.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    In Colorado, public schools are reviewed by the state. We at the city have no say in the process (except for signs visible from public right-of-way.

    This doesn't surprise me, nor am I taken aback.
    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

  9. #9
    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    I feel your pain. We have a new school bond in the process right now that has failed several times. The school district would have never included us (the city) in their facilities planning meetings if we hadn't imposed ourselves after I saw an article in the paper about it. Their proposal is to place several new schools in the district, one of which will be in the middle of nowhere, right next to another school in the middle of nowhere. This by the way is still using an old sewer lagoon that is at capacity and who do you think they are looking to to solve their sewer problem - that's right, the City.

    Another thing about schools...Is anyone else aware of minimum acreages for schools. In my state, there is apparently some requirement that they have to have 10 acres for elementary schools, 30 acres for middle schools, and 40 acres for high schools. To me this is so rediculous. How do you incorporate a school into the community with this kind of rediculous, inefficient, land consumption?
    ...my lifestyle determines my death style!
    - Metallica

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner View post
    Here in NH, they are exempt from Local Regulations.
    Yes, but in most of New England the school department is part of municipal government. In much of the country, including NC, the Board of Education is a stand-alone agency with no allegience to municipal plans or goals.

    They do have to follow local zoning ordinances though.

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