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Thread: Your PUD: There's an app (required) for that!

  1. #1
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Your PUD: There's an app (required) for that!

    And of course I'm trying to post this using the iPhone app...

    Some brainstorming around the office has someone suggesting that we implement some criteria that your PUD is required to establish an online presence of some sort, be it a website, Facebook page, and/or iOS/Android app. The reasoning the person wants this is that she lives in a condo complex where no online presence has been established to foster a sense of community for what's going on, create opportunities, etc.

    From my experience in two new subdivisions I've lived in, neighbors always seem to talk to each other and then it evolves in them starting a yahoo/google group, or website on their own. In one case after a community get-together, as a resident, I created a website for our newly built subdivision, only to have a neighbor who's a realtor create a competing website, copy the content I created, and then add advertising banners for his competing site. In the subdivision I live in now, another realtor has created a competing website for the Google group someone else originally created. Seems like the condo complex just needs a realtor to live there. :p

    Anyway, I'm not too sure on the concept of regulatory code language requiring the establishment of an online presence for your PUD. A home builder can create a yahoo/google group in 2 minutes, how do you ensure that it's used, promoted, etc? Residents may decide to create their own afterwards, does the developer provide evidence of this and does this release themselves of further obligations? Is the Zoning inspector required to do online site inspections every year for compliance? If a website goes offline years later, what's the recourse? Should the town have security in place to then utilize in order to create a website for the non-compliant PUD?

    Admittedly this isn't stuff that keeps me up at night. I just admittedly get stuck on how new and different code criteria is able to be enforced, tracked and maintained.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    I sincerely apologize for being blunt, but I find the idea ridiculous.

    I'm in my early 30s. I facebook, I have a smart phone, I can text one-handed. I spend more time than I should on my laptop at home. But if I want to meet my neighbors, I go outside and see them. If I want to organize a community gathering, I put up flyers or use the local paper. I would consider a neighborhood mailing list if one existed, but I simply cannot envision a community mandating such a thing. I think the better use of a planning office's time is to mandate social spaces in new developments: parks, useable green space, tot lots, even playing fields or mixed use with small retail/restaurant (think coffee shop) in larger developments.

  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    From my experience, you do not want to mandate a developer to do something like this, for precisely the reason you describe: enforceability. Also, I'm not entirely comfortable justifying a requirement like that as in 'the public interest.' I've seen developers try to do things like this voluntarily, and they almost always fall flat--the ones started by residents themselves always do better. Also, a grassroots group is less susceptible to censoring, which could be an issue for a developer-owned web presence if the developer is doing something against the CC&Rs or is just generally pissing off the neighbors.

    We, as planners, have a lot bigger fish to fry when it comes to improving development practices than requiring they create a fancy website. You're certainly well-intentioned in your desire to help build community in these new neighborhoods, but forced communication is not the same thing as creating a legit community.

    BTW, you probably have recourse for someone violating intellectual property in copying your website and/or its content without citation, particularly when they are doing so for profit. I hate Realtors.

    "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)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    You both confirmed my view that the concept seemed ludicrous, I was just looking for some affirmation.

    Of course the one who suggested it is also the one who wants to create a facebook/twitter page specific for the planning department, meanwhile the current project map the person's responsible for maintaining on the muni's website is months out of date.

    Suburb Repairman, I wholeheartedly agree with your thorough analysis on the subject of realtors.

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