• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no echo chambers. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! You can also register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Random Thoughts Deserving No Thread of Their Own 2020

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
12,316
Points
44
You get a shiver in the dark
It's a raining in the park but meantime-
South of the river you stop and you hold everything
A band is blowing Dixie, double four time
You feel alright when you hear the music ring
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,912
Points
45
You get a shiver in the dark
It's a raining in the park but meantime-
South of the river you stop and you hold everything
A band is blowing Dixie, double four time
You feel alright when you hear the music ring
I immediately heard that song in my head reading this - awesome

saw him do this live in a little bar in Syracuse in 1979 and then again in an arena in Worcester in 1991/2 for the On Every Street tour - as good live as in the studio
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
27,906
Points
70
You get a shiver in the dark
It's a raining in the park but meantime-
South of the river you stop and you hold everything
A band is blowing Dixie, double four time
You feel alright when you hear the music ring
I like that song even more than Money For Nothing
 
Last edited:

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,495
Points
30
I absolutely despise variance requests. 99.9% of the time they absolutely do not meet the standards of law, they are just an "I'm special" mentality.

And yes, because you have already shown that you're unwilling to meet the requirements of the code for a structure you already have a permit for, now you'll need an as built survey to keep you in line.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,204
Points
48
I despise them because my town hands them out like candy. It's not uncommon to have a project with 7 or 8 variances. Some are legit because our code is bad or doesn't address their situation, but most are just accommodating bad site design.
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
456
Points
19
I absolutely despise variance requests. 99.9% of the time they absolutely do not meet the standards of law, they are just an "I'm special" mentality.

And yes, because you have already shown that you're unwilling to meet the requirements of the code for a structure you already have a permit for, now you'll need an as built survey to keep you in line.
We have state law criteria that must be met for variances- they are really tough/impossible to get if you actually follow the required findings.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,495
Points
30
I despise them because my town hands them out like candy. It's not uncommon to have a project with 7 or 8 variances. Some are legit because our code is bad or doesn't address their situation, but most are just accommodating bad site design.
Our board used to be this way, but they've really tightened up in the last few years. They almost never approve front yard variances anymore.

We have state law criteria that must be met for variances- they are really tough/impossible to get if you actually follow the required findings.
We do too, but they're not as strict as I would prefer.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
27,906
Points
70
I despise them because my town hands them out like candy. It's not uncommon to have a project with 7 or 8 variances. Some are legit because our code is bad or doesn't address their situation, but most are just accommodating bad site design.
I don't know. Perhaps we should simply view variance requests as being essentially a component of a political process. That's right, a political process. When you think of it that way, it becomes more readily apparent why so many communities hand them out like candy.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,495
Points
30
I don't know. Perhaps we should simply view variance requests as being essentially a component of a political process. That's right, a political process. When you think of it that way, it becomes more readily apparent why so many communities hand them out like candy.
Well then make it that way. If you want a variance, go to the meeting and prove it to the board yourself. Don't make staff provide you a report, don't let them be involved at all. At that point, it's a truly political process. Instead, I have to waste time going to get site photos, provide a whole big list of legal references as to why it shouldn't be approved, and then look stupid in front of an audience when they approve the only request on the agenda that is patently illegal to approve.

Today's Know It All comment: The reason why the interstate has a bad section that has standing water during rains is because her mom told her that when they were building the road, there was a "quick sandy like substance" in that part that had to keep being compacted down and that is why. She got mad at me when I said that's incredibly unlikely and called ME a know it all. Really? Quick sand? WTF is this, an Indiana Jones movie? "Uh, they know people who BUILT the road". And? Are they engineers? Did they design it? No, they just sat out there and watched an asphalt truck work. I told her I can get her the phone number for the district engineer and she can certainly call him to tell him that the reason people have died there is because of the "quick sandy like substance". :r: :r: EDIT* I should mention that this wasn't a statement of conjecture. It wasn't phrased as "well the local rumor is because of a quick sandy like substance, but I don't know". It was "Well the reason why it's like that is because of a quick sandy like substance". It was a statement of fact based upon the rumors of locals.
 
Last edited:

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,495
Points
30
I tried to fix the bathroom sink at the office. It was leaking at the p trap thing. Instead of fixing it, I cracked the pipe when I tightened it and now it's leaking a lot more. I suspect it was already cracked anyway, which is why it was leaking.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,324
Points
49
Well then make it that way. If you want a variance, go to the meeting and prove it to the board yourself. Don't make staff provide you a report, don't let them be involved at all. At that point, it's a truly political process. Instead, I have to waste time going to get site photos, provide a whole big list of legal references as to why it shouldn't be approved, and then look stupid in front of an audience when they approve the only request on the agenda that is patently illegal to approve.
This is why I don't give recommendations either way on variances, but simply present the facts and some objective-ish comments in relation to the codified review factors.
 
Last edited:

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
11,040
Points
36
This is why I don't give recommendations either way on variances, but simply present the facts and some objective-ish comments the review factor.
This describes my staff reports in general. I gave recommendations as part of the staff reports during my first PD gig. I had a public hearing where the planning commission reversed everyone one of my recommendations. After that humbling, I stopped making recommendations. It was a good but hard lesson to learn. Being humbled in a public forum is good for you. It teaches you what your part in the process is.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,324
Points
49
This describes my staff reports in general. I gave recommendations as part of the staff reports during my first PD gig. I had a public hearing where the planning commission reversed everyone one of my recommendations. After that humbling, I stopped making recommendations. It was a good but hard lesson to learn. Being humbled in a public forum is good for you. It teaches you what your part in the process is.
Well, I always give specific recommendations based on good practice for PC related legislative and ministerial reviews (rezonings, site plans and cond/special uses).

I reserve the 'no recommendation' SOP for just the quasi-judicial reviews at the BZA.
 
Last edited:

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,495
Points
30
This is why I don't give recommendations either way on variances, but simply present the facts and some objective-ish comments in relation to the codified review factors.
This describes my staff reports in general. I gave recommendations as part of the staff reports during my first PD gig. I had a public hearing where the planning commission reversed everyone one of my recommendations. After that humbling, I stopped making recommendations. It was a good but hard lesson to learn. Being humbled in a public forum is good for you. It teaches you what your part in the process is.
I don't give recommendations either. Like WYP, I started doing that but within the first year or so I dropped it after a CUP went awry. Namely, we didn't receive any evidence for or against at the PB meeting so I essentially recommended approval. It was basically a re-do of a previous permit, so what was the harm? Well the opponents showed up at the Board of Commissioners meeting equipped with an attorney that fully blasted the case apart. Rather than using their heads and voting no, they went with the recommendation regardless. So now, they get none.
 

estromberg

Cyburbian
Messages
196
Points
7
Well then make it that way. If you want a variance, go to the meeting and prove it to the board yourself. Don't make staff provide you a report, don't let them be involved at all. At that point, it's a truly political process. Instead, I have to waste time going to get site photos, provide a whole big list of legal references as to why it shouldn't be approved, and then look stupid in front of an audience when they approve the only request on the agenda that is patently illegal to approve.

Today's Know It All comment: The reason why the interstate has a bad section that has standing water during rains is because her mom told her that when they were building the road, there was a "quick sandy like substance" in that part that had to keep being compacted down and that is why. She got mad at me when I said that's incredibly unlikely and called ME a know it all. Really? Quick sand? WTF is this, an Indiana Jones movie? "Uh, they know people who BUILT the road". And? Are they engineers? Did they design it? No, they just sat out there and watched an asphalt truck work. I told her I can get her the phone number for the district engineer and she can certainly call him to tell him that the reason people have died there is because of the "quick sandy like substance". :r: :r: EDIT* I should mention that this wasn't a statement of conjecture. It wasn't phrased as "well the local rumor is because of a quick sandy like substance, but I don't know". It was "Well the reason why it's like that is because of a quick sandy like substance". It was a statement of fact based upon the rumors of locals.
Quick sand you say? I'm reminded of this...

Quicksand.jpg
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
456
Points
19
Our board used to be this way, but they've really tightened up in the last few years. They almost never approve front yard variances anymore.



We do too, but they're not as strict as I would prefer.
We have a requirement that basically says "but for the variance requested, the subject property could not be developed."

That isn't "could not be developed the way the applicant wants to develop it." Rather, "could not be developed at all." Boy does that shut 'em down. Your basic variance anywhere residential is allowed is going to fail if it's possible to build a single-family home on the lot within the rules.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,495
Points
30
Quick sand you say? I'm reminded of this...
EXACTLY what I thought. Hilarious.

We have a requirement that basically says "but for the variance requested, the subject property could not be developed."

That isn't "could not be developed the way the applicant wants to develop it." Rather, "could not be developed at all." Boy does that shut 'em down. Your basic variance anywhere residential is allowed is going to fail if it's possible to build a single-family home on the lot within the rules.
We had a requirement similar to that, but the state took it out.

I decided I'm going to paint a huge pair of wings on the side of my house. Apparently every woman ever wants to take pictures in front of them. They'll line up for the chance.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: kms

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
12,316
Points
44
^^^I used to put some word in a multi-page report that was very uncommon & not widely used just to see if people would read it. I've only had 2 ask about 'the word' in my entire career.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
27,906
Points
70
When I was a kid our neighbors had a tri-level that was constantly flooding. The first time a really bad flood hit they were using the basement for storage of canned goods. the water level got high enough that it submerged the cans. As a result, the labels came off the cans. For several weeks afterwards they were opening cans for dinner hoping to get something like green beans but ending up instead with dog food.
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,912
Points
45
so we are planning on getting rid of automatic lot mergers of non which I am now at peace with but now they want me to make it retroactive to pick up all the lots that merged unnecessarily - wtf - head exploding

kirk.gif
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,495
Points
30
Surveyor wants to get an attitude with me, oh well. Your extra map that you bring that I sign for free now costs the review fee. It's per map.
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
12,316
Points
44
Surveyor wants to get an attitude with me, oh well. Your extra map that you bring that I sign for free now costs the review fee. It's per map.

You want to work with each other and get things done, great.
If instead you want to play games, we'll play games.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,495
Points
30
You want to work with each other and get things done, great.
If instead you want to play games, we'll play games.
Been friendly with them for 7 years, and she wants to spit an attitude because I happened to be at lunch when she came in to get a map signed. They're done now. I'm gonna nitpick every single map they submit from here on out. They dropped off two mylars for me to sign. They get one signature. They paid for one review fee, not two.

I think I just decided I basically hate people.
 
Last edited:

Hink

OH....IO
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,333
Points
46
My boys and I are cooking dinner for my wife. Which you would think is sweet, but it is going to make me crazy, as it will be a lot of "HE GOT TO CUT IT UP LAST TIME!". :shrug:
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
27,906
Points
70
At times I can tell when various folks in the office are having a birthday based on the 'celebration food' they bring in for everyone to share. When it's chocolate frosted donuts, it could a number of people, but when it's some combo of granola, greek yogurt, and alfalfa sprouts, its gotta be the map guy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kms

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,495
Points
30
Surveyor wants to get an attitude with me, oh well. Your extra map that you bring that I sign for free now costs the review fee. It's per map.
Stuck to my guns, she was NOT happy. Oh well. Spit crap behind my back, you'll get an attitude right back. EDIT* I should mention that, yes, I realize this is extremely petty, but that's just how I be.
 
Last edited:

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
456
Points
19
Someday I want to feel as much professional bliss as this drummer playing with the Delvon Lamar Organ Trio appears to be feeling:

 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,495
Points
30
I decided to take my EMT class at my alma mater. I have to take a vacation day for it anyway, so why not make it a real vacation.
 

Big Owl

Cyburbian
Messages
2,524
Points
28
My youngest switched from playing the trumpet to playing the baritone at the beginning of the school year. She was using a loaner instrument from school. While I looked for one. I found out that a good used baritone is expensive and hard to find. I found a good one for sell at a good price; unfortunately it is four hours away and the guy will not ship. I am contemplating driving up that way tomorrow. He has sent me detailed pictures showing every angle and close ups of the valves and tubes. My only hesitation is that I can't get the seller hold it for me. I have offered to put down a deposit but the seller doesn't do any transactions electronically, or so he says. All the others ones that I have found of the same quality are 2.5 times the cost of the one 4 hours away. The good thing is I have the time and my daughter is looking forward to a potential road trip. So it won't be a total loss if I come up empty handed.

Exactly. Based on the frequency with which one saw folks struggling in quicksand on tv I assumed encountering it would be on a monthly, or at least quarterly basis.
I used to fish at a place that had expanses of soft mud, some people called it gumbo mud. If you weren't careful you'd sink waist deep before you know it. I'd think about those tv shows when I was struggling to get out of it.
 
Last edited:

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,252
Points
37
My youngest switched from playing the trumpet to playing the baritone at the beginning of the school year. She was using a loaner instrument from school. While I looked for one. I found out that a good used baritone is expensive and hard to find. I found a good one for sell at a good price; unfortunately it is four hours away and the guy will not ship. I am contemplating driving up that way tomorrow. He has sent me detailed pictures showing every angle and close ups of the valves and tubes. My only hesitation is that I can't get the seller hold it for me. I have offered to put down a deposit but the seller doesn't do any transactions electronically, or so he says. All the others ones that I have found of the same quality are 2.5 times the cost of the one 4 hours away. The good thing is I have the time and my daughter is looking forward to a potential road trip. So it won't be a total loss if I come up empty handed.
I switched from the trumpet to the French horn in HS. I didn't really have the ambiture (sp?) for the smaller mouthpiece and probably should have gone toward the baritone as well. Good luck to your daughter and I hope you make the 4 hour trip and it is worthwhile!
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,495
Points
30
I switched from the trumpet to the French horn in HS. I didn't really have the ambiture (sp?) for the smaller mouthpiece and probably should have gone toward the baritone as well. Good luck to your daughter and I hope you make the 4 hour trip and it is worthwhile!
I did the same. I was much better at French horn. Unfortunately the band teacher hated me so no matter what I did I couldn't beat the guy in front of me to claim the first seat. It probably had something to do with dropping the brand new French horn and smooshing the bell. They are easy to repair, BUT the repair is very visible.
 

RandomPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,659
Points
23
I've been trying to order a journal for the past 2 months. Apparently the person who does the ordering for this $12 journal is not interested in approving it. I've got an email chain of about a dozen emails back and forth (many just FROM me, with no responses from said person). It's actually 3 compact journals for $12 that each fit nicely in my (personal) leather bound folder. I've been using these journals for probably 10 years now. I brought in one from home and filled it two weeks ago; now I'm using blank paper added into the back of the folder because I'm stubborn and refuse to buy my own office supplies.

Yesterday, I had had enough. I forwarded the email chain to my direct supervisor (Chief of my department) and asked if it was typical to take more than two months to spend $12 on office supplies. While my snarky email achieved the desired results (I think) and I was able to finally order my journal, I had to purchase one journal (instead of the 3-pack) for $24 (instead of the requested $12).

I think this is why people find government to be ineffective.
 
Top