Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 28

Thread: Stuff that drives me nuts at work

  1. #1
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve
    Posts
    3,387

    Stuff that drives me nuts at work

    Being asked to interpret the responses on a very poorly designed community attitudes survey that our office did not have any part in designing.

    A sample question:

    [Community name] has adequate infrastructure. Agree/Disagree/Need More Information/Undecided (Choose one)

    Of course, infrastructure was undefined. No wonder 25% of the respondents answered NMI!

    And for reasons that escape me, 31% answered "Agree." Agree to what?
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Upstate
    Posts
    4,859
    I can relate to your frustration. A few years ago, we were asked to analyze the results of a survey conducted by an intern at a private economic development organization. The director was really hoping that the intern's work could be used in some meaningful way, but the survey was so poorly worded that the results were virtually meaningless. Most people don't know how to design a good survey... or how to ask for help when they need it. Wouldn't you have preferred reviewing and commenting on the survey beforehand?

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,573
    Blog entries
    3
    I get these calls all the time.

    "Hi ... I live over in Brookwood Estates. Can you tell me what's going on around me?"

    First off, the city is pretty big, and I don't know every subdivision in town. Also, developers will often file a subdivision under one name, and market it as another. Thus, the subdivision map hanging in the office might not list "Brookwood Estates," because it was platted and recorded as "Rolling Prairie" or something similar.

    Secondly, do you want to know what's been submitted? What's been approved? Care about preliminary plats that haven't been recorded? Rumors? You might be doing due diligence, but if I've only spoken to a developer that is planning a Mega-Lo-Mart around the corner from you, and there has been no formal application, I can't speak about the project. It's not public information yet.

    I also get a lot of "when in doubt, call planning" calls. I feel bad I can't help these people more; I've gotten calls about potholes, speeders, tax assessments, ADA requirements, and so on, and I can't do anything about it. I feel bad I'm about to start bouncing a caller to another department; it's bad customer service.

    Also, calls from reporters who need an answer NOW regarding some obscure fact that they want, such as the gross floor area of all new medical office space built in the city broken down by year going back to 1990 ... we don't keep records like that.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    4,604
    people that think the green space next door/down the street etc wont be developed and go ape when they see some "future home of..." sign

    they dont understand if they dont own it they cant honestly stop the development.

    another big peeve is dealing with chruches wanting to build-ive lost all faith in chruches (pun intended)
    "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!'"

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Mr. Cool Ice
    Posts
    4,161
    Originally posted by PlannerGirl
    people that think the green space next door/down the street etc wont be developed and go ape when they see some "future home of..." sign

    they dont understand if they dont own it they cant honestly stop the development.

    Funny...

    A guy at my work is going through this now. He bought a "slice of the pie" at the end of a cul-de-sac so he can build a house. The neighbors are going nuts because it's "their" green space.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935

    A lesson learned about surveys.

    "The public" tries to debunk survey results when they don't support "the public's" position. We've taken to have all surveys designed and administered by a local college professor, and he defends the methodology at public hearings. Saves us lowly planners from picking nits with "the public" and keeps our noses clean.

    You want to know who iritates me at work? Indian Givers.

    No... I take that back. You want to know who iritates me at work?


    *waits for someone to take the bait*

  7. #7
    maudit anglais
    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Odd-a-wah
    Posts
    6,586

    Re: A lesson learned about surveys.

    Originally posted by Chet
    [B
    No... I take that back. You want to know who iritates me at work?


    *waits for someone to take the bait* [/B]
    I guess that depends on whether you consider cyburbia to be work!

  8. #8
          Downtown's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Under a pile of back issue Plannings
    Posts
    3,174
    -People who live on stub out streets that think they're living on a cul-de-sac that go ape s*** when the property next door is developed with a connection to their stub street.

    - People who come to Planning and Town Board meetings with the express purpose of rabble rousing - they don't live anywhere near the project, and honestly don't care about it, they just want to stick it to the Board and end up dragging meetings out for hours.

    - Engineers and Architects telling their client that the Town is holding up their project, when in fact, we're waiting on THEM to get revised plans back into us.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian H's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2003
    Location
    MKS
    Posts
    2,847
    Originally posted by PlannerGirl
    people that think the green space next door/down the street etc wont be developed and go ape when they see some "future home of..." sign

    they dont understand if they dont own it they cant honestly stop the development.

    Yes, this topic is brought up at EVERY public meeting I have ever been too at every level. Many times by the same people.

    What do you say to this? What is your "line"?
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  10. #10
    My number one pet peeve is sign companies that don't read the ordinance before they submit sign applications. I would estimate that 75 percent of all sign proposals I recieve do not meet code. There are a few companies that always submit sign proposals that follow the letter of the code, but most do not. It is like they design whatever the customer wants to please them, then they make the City look bad when they say to the customer "The city didn't like our proposal." If you would have spent 10 minutes looking over the code, you would have your permit by now!

    Another thing that drives me nuts here are people who come to meetings with all of these supposed concerns when their real problem is that they don't want Black people shopping in the City. We have a proposal for a grocery store and all these neighbors come in and say they are concerned with traffic, stormwater, aesthetics, and crime that will come with this grocery store. However the exact same residents gave overwhelming support when the original proposal had a more upscale grocery store as part of the development. A lot of residents have complained that this grocery store will attract "a bad element," which couldn't be further from the truth.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  11. #11
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    5,502
    A recent development application was submitted. Deemed incompleted in three days. Applicant took three months turning in new plans. Still didn't address the issues. Turned around in three days. One more month and a meeting to boot, turned in the application materials yet again. Finally complete. Processing begins... takes 8 weeks (including a redistricting that goes through MPC and CC and a subdivision that goes through MPC subsequently).

    After the meeting, the developer complains about how long the process is. In for 9 weeks total here, out in their hands for 16 weeks. That is my biggest pet peeve: if it's in that much of a hurry, then get it done fast on your end too!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935

    How about engineers and surveyors -

    That find it's easier to submit crap than to read the code and do it right. Obviously they can save time and $ by having you tell them what they need to fix, than research it and do it right the first time. Doesnt save their client time or money, but it helps them plenty.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    5,502
    Oh oh... how about when someone takes the last of the coffee except for like three swigs and then puts it back on the burner? It's probably the same person that never changes the water bottle. That drives me nuts too.

  14. #14
    We have a downtown historic district complete with Historic District Guidelines....that NO ONE seems to read or pay any attention to. So, I spend an insane amount of time policing the downtown area and making people stop work that they are doing so that they can get a certificate of appropriatness so that I can make sure that everything that they are going to do follows the guidelines. And then, ultimately they tell me that "someone" told them they weren't in the district....who is this "someone"? Makes me want to scream.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Upstate
    Posts
    4,859

    Consultant peeves

    * Communities that ask you to submit a detailed proposal, when they already have another firm in mind, OR they just want to see if the other firm's cost estimate is reasonable

    * Clients that don't provide you with the materials, contact names, etc. that you need for their project in a timely manner -- then get upset because you're behind schedule

    * Clients that call you a week or two before the deadline to write a grant application for them... when you had called them months earlier to find out whether they wanted to submit an application

    (Hmm, I think I'll stop there...)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian pandersen's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 1998
    Location
    "Off Kilter"
    Posts
    242

    What bother me at work ........

    Hrere's mine.

    Going to a public meeting (with consultant in tow) to provide the Public the opportunity to provide feedback on a draft Master Plan and being verbally asaulted by an individual who wants to do nothing but talk about the conspiracy that is being perpetrated on him by the "multi-nationals".

    Oh, did I mention that I just came from such a meeting last night (after a full work day and a 3 1/2 hour commute to and from the meeting. Needless to say, I'm feeling a bit "knackered" after being in the office again "bright and early" this morning!

    This brings me to another "peeve". Us planners are often called upon to be out late at evening meetings. Unfortunately, all our other clients have the expectation that you will be available at the office during normal office hours (despite pulling "extra duty" during evening meetings.

    Below, see my idea of the average workload of a typical planner.

  17. #17
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,581
    What drives me nuts are members of the public that believe I'm in the back pocket of the developer simply because I'm offering a positive recommendation on a project. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Additionally, members of the public that claim information is being withheld--hell, all our files are public records, so come and review them.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,953
    Originally posted by RichmondJake
    Additionally, members of the public that claim information is being withheld--hell, all our files are public records, so come and review them.
    Oh, sure the public can look at those files, but what about the ones you keep hidden?

    My complaint is somewhat similar. After you send out notices, publish in the paper and hold dozens of public meetings on a project, there are still people who claim never to have been told about it.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935

    on tonight's agenda....

    Person applies for a sketch land division (concept review). ONe acre lots unswered. Zoned agriculture, min 3 acre lot sizes. Comp plan calls for the same. Plan Commission denies sketch. At the meeting the person is mean spirited and their main argument was "I can make more money with smaller lots".

    Same person petitioner for the rezoning to 1 acre unsewered lots. The only reason we even have that district on the books was to address one part of town older than the code, and once sewers get there the district is being eliminated from the books (already decided, done deal). Tonight should be interesting. This person has been calling board members at home. They hate that.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,662
    Lack of communication in departments, I had to tkae a call for licensing because they could'nt re-read the emails we already had in February about the same site. It was just easier to pass the call.

    It doesn't irritate me so much as make me laugh when certain people get their packets, don't read the memos, and then ask you a question that was clearly spelled out in the memo. Or, if they misquote the code on record, I love that.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve
    Posts
    3,387

    Lack of planning on your part.....

    Here's another common one that many will recognize:

    A state grant application submital deadline is in 2 days.

    We get a call this morning from a community we didn't even know was interested in these funds, asking us to help them with their application.

    We are already placing bets that this town doesn't have any of the prerequisites for consideration done, such as committment of matching funds, resolutions authorizing application for funds, etc.

    Miracles: Apparently just another one of the many services we're supposed to offer!
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,662
    Oh, this shoudl be fun, our second Commission meeting in July is being cancelled, the same date that one of my problem cases was supposed to go.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,683
    Surveyors who insist they submitted plans 3 months ago that you've never seen before in your life. I'm sure its being explained to the client as "you know how the city is - it must be somewhere on the planner's desk." This guy does this a lot so I know its not me.

    Developers of big projects who just send their engineers to public hearings (we don't technically require the owners to be there). They can only answer so many questions and can't make committments on behalf of the developer.


    We get a call this morning from a community we didn't even know was interested in these funds, asking us to help them with their application.
    From the municipal end, I've been told from above to apply for things a few days before they're due.

  24. #24
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Middle of a Dusty Street
    Posts
    6,386

    Re: Lack of planning on your part.....

    Originally posted by SGB
    Here's another common one that many will recognize:

    A state grant application submital deadline is in 2 days.

    We get a call this morning from a community we didn't even know was interested in these funds, asking us to help them with their application.

    We are already placing bets that this town doesn't have any of the prerequisites for consideration done, such as committment of matching funds, resolutions authorizing application for funds, etc.

    Miracles: Apparently just another one of the many services we're supposed to offer!
    Just out of curiosity, how big is the town? We're just over 3,000 and the state agencies just marvel at our ability to get them complete grant packs on time (and thus, fund us muchly). But then, we have some good people here to do the work... many places our size don't have a planner, let alone a planner with experience in grant writing and administration.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    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

  25. #25
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve
    Posts
    3,387

    Re: Re: Lack of planning on your part.....

    Originally posted by Mastiff
    Just out of curiosity, how big is the town?
    About 3,300 according to the 2000 Census. No planning staff of their own.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 1177
    Last post: 29 Sep 2014, 9:54 AM
  2. S/he drives me crazy!
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 39
    Last post: 03 Apr 2013, 4:40 PM
  3. What drives you crazy on vacation?
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 22
    Last post: 09 Apr 2012, 9:49 PM
  4. Nuts
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 31
    Last post: 08 Jan 2010, 10:16 PM
  5. Replies: 26
    Last post: 27 Jan 2005, 9:55 AM