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Stuff that drives me nuts at work

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,387
Points
25
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?
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,896
Points
27
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?
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,841
Points
59
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.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
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)
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
PlannerGirl said:
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.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
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*
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Re: A lesson learned about surveys.

Chet said:
[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! ;)
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
-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.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
PlannerGirl said:
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"?
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
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.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
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!
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
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.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
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. ;)
 

mcmplans

Cyburbian
Messages
31
Points
2
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.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,896
Points
27
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...)
 

pandersen

Cyburbian
Messages
243
Points
9
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.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,288
Points
44
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.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
RichmondJake said:
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.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
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.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
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. :)
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,387
Points
25
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!
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
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.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
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.
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
Re: Lack of planning on your part.....

SGB said:
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.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,387
Points
25
Re: Re: Lack of planning on your part.....

Mastiff said:
Just out of curiosity, how big is the town?
About 3,300 according to the 2000 Census. No planning staff of their own.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,896
Points
27
SGB said:
About 3,300 according to the 2000 Census. No planning staff of their own.
Yeah, the smaller communities just don't know what goes into doing a grant application...

I seem to remember one community where the municipal leader, who had to sign the application before it was submitted, went on vacation and didn't mention it to the consultant. I just love those situations.
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
Re: Re: Re: Lack of planning on your part.....

SGB said:
About 3,300 according to the 2000 Census. No planning staff of their own.
Therin lies the problem...
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Getting drawings dimensioned and referenced in Imperial when the By-laws are written and the only legal measurement here is SI (metric). It is a real pain to have to divide everything by 3.26 or 10.76. (Sorry, Americans)

The other item I hate is when we get things in in really weird scales ( 1 foot = 3/32 inch while common it is a real pain to work in). Please use a rational metric scale.

I'll be sending two proposals back to the engineers to redimension, it is not like AutoCAD can't do it for you automaticly.
 
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