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The Fun Stuff

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
So, what type of work-related project do you find the most enjoyable?

Lately, I've been enjoying the chance to work with a small group of volunteers in a very small rural community in our county (Pop. 850) on an economic development plan. In fact, I'm preparing for this evening's meeting now.

It's a fun project with a fun group. Loads of energy, lots of creativity, a small but strong group of entrepreneurs, and a willingness to enter into a long term effort for the greatest good.

The project will have elements of organizational development, "bootstrap" economic planning & development, agri-business niches, community assessment (SWOT analysis, stakeholder identification, etc.), public participation, local and regional partnerships and more.

For me, this is definately the fun stuff that keeps my professional interest level peaked.
 
Messages
5,352
Points
31
I'm sort of in between projects right now, but the most enjoyable that I've worked on since joining the private sector is a light rail project. If and when it happens, it will be the first light rail system for New Orleans and I can be proud to say that I was involved in its infancy stages. :)
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
Fun stuff...

1. Some of the neighborhood groups are nice to work with. They are comprised of residents from each neighborhood. A lot of them are creative and fun to work with....If I could just get them to meet during the day so I didn't have so many damn night meetings.

2. GIS Development - I like anything GIS-related. Probably becuase it gives me a break from typing/reading/dealing with people. I am also a computer nerd in my spare time, so I enjoy the challenges, especially when things don't go as planned. Although I need some major computer upgrades before I can do much more.

3. Site visits - I like going out and seeing what is happening with projects, etc in the City. It is a nice break from sitting in my office.

Although I would give at all up for one winning lottery ticket. :)
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
About a month ago I was given the opportunity to turn off my phone and put an away message on my e-mail for seven days to totally re-write our Land Use Bylaw. For eight hours a day I sat in my office with the door closed just writing and formatting. I loved it... it's what I look forward to. It's the endless meetings to build consensus, answering phone calls, supervising, etc. that burns me out.

Site visits are fun too including off-roading in three feet of snow... woohoo!
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
Hehe colouring maps by hand-dont ask why but its very relaxing and i feel creative. Next to that I think helping get a dog park added to my last City, it took a few years of lobbying, begging, pleading and education but now Greensboro has its first dog park, honestly I belive becouse I pushed the issue non stop!
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
I work as a researcher, so sometimes I get to do fun stuff.

Yesterday after much discussion I finalised the format of a survey for pedestrians, asking questions about things that affect their feelings of security on their walk home. Then I spent the afternoon frantically photocopying, folding and packing 300 surveys with cover letters, return envelopes, and instant kiwi scratch tickets ($1 scratch tickets with the chance to win $10,000 - a little incentive). Then as soon as I had finished that I collected my survey team, and we drove into the city, each of us going to a different location, and at last I got to the fun bit - handing out surveys to people who were walking home from working in the city. It was a nice change to be out talking to people, although I didn't have to ask the survey questions, they took it away to fill out and post back in their own time.

I handed out 100 surveys in 35 minutes! (the fastest time).

I had a homeless guy kind of following me - eventually he sidled up to me and asked "are you doing a pedestrian survey?" and I said yes and he says "well, I'm not feeling the best today, so perhaps I better leave it this time". To which I replied "Okay" and off he went! Don't know if would have qualified as a city worker walking home!
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,314
Points
36
PA Turnpike built a bypass around one of our cities, and also built a small mitigated wetland bank. The Turnpike Commission tried to give it to the nearest town for a park, but they didn't accept it. I hooked up our county parks with the Turnpike people and the county accepted it to be used as an educational wetland. I also worked with a committee to write a self-guided tour book for the park. Another good part was that I was publicly praised for this project.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
1. Negotiating with Developers. I like the dance.

2. Budget season, believe it or not.

3. Economic Development, which up till last year was not a priorty for our elected officials. We just had final action to approve a brownfield TID on Monday, and we're in the Project Plan drafting stages of another.

4. Like Nerudite, being able to close the door, turn off the phone (I'd add order in a pizza), and be a code writing machine.

EDIT:

5. Exposing our Board members to new concepts and getting earnest reactions. Tonight is the Holding Zone / Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance discussion. Requiring TND in one part of town is coming up the end of the month...

SECOND EDIT: They want Holding Districts and Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances!
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
When I was in Davis we didn't have code enforcement officers and we were all expected to do our share... When I was the new kid on the block I was given enforcement of sororities and fraternities. At first it was daunting, because at 20 years of age I was younger than half the students. And then I actually enjoyed it... as I got to really tick off some major a**holes on a regular basis. I even started volunteering as a liaison between the City ane the greek council and went so far as to go to the greek council at UCD to get sanctions put on them when our regular enforcement procedures weren't working.

All of their neighbours loved me, because I kept them in line. :)
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Crushing people's dreams. 8-{ Actually, I just like it when someone thinks they can get sympathy points by crying about our code and hopes I'll feel bad and reduce their requirements.

Mwahahahahahahahahaha!
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
Some other things I find enjoyable:

I love shutting cocky people or a**holes down...and I love it even more when they get shut down by the Plan Commission. However my favorite is when I tell someone that there is no basis for granting a variance and that the Board of Appeals will likely reject their appeal, but they insist on spending the money, waiting up to 45 days, then going before the board only to have the board deny them.

There are also certain businesses and developers that always turn in submittals without reading the code and I thoroughly enjoy writting letters to them outlining evey single reason why their proposal violates the ordinance.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
TexasPlanner, you are evil! C'grats!

As for me, I love the design-related work, from landscaping to site planning to publications to neighborhood planning, etc. Like PlannerGirl, I love to get out the markers or pencils of colour.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
I like trying to convince the other planners that they are taking it all too seriously. Sometimes they get all twitchy and develop facial tics over that concept.

As for tasks, hmmm.. I always liked the big, high-profile zoning/plan amendment cases the best. Working for a win/win with the developer, engineer, citizens, other agencies. Oh, and telling the jerk engineers "No". But I left all that last year. So now, probably that I get out of the office more and am working on trails which is a much happier subject than zoning.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
my favorite things

forcing walgreens to alter their prototype so that it actually looks nice. and having the developer whine that he can't change it then he talk to walgreens and they bend a little, then more, then more......it will be the 'nice' walgreens.... you know, the one that planners would be proud to goto.

oh ya.. text amendments are great. I get point out all the faults in the old ordinance and push off my version as "God's word."

I like talking people out of variances, not because of the reduction in work i create for myself.. But I get people to reconsider stupid, stupid plans.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
1. Lot Grading

2. Sanitary sewer design...I like making poop splat.

3. Destroying wetlands and other key natural resources.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
Ya know Mike i worked for the Water and Sewer dept a few years and i LOVED it, going out to the wet wells, learning about muffin monsters (no snide jokes thats their real name) etc something about making stuff roll down hill then cleaning it up at the end was fantastic.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Like nerudite and bturk, I am partial to researching and redrafting our by-laws, i even have an ongoing file of changes and updates I want to make to ours. I don't get the luxury of closing my door though.

I also like reviewing site plans for large developments, especially when the person is nice enough to send me in a digital copy to make my life easy.

I like to go with the building inspectors on inspections some times, I say it is the only perk to our job, getting to go into buildings that you'd never other wise see. I got to see the new courthouse and holding cells before they were done and also going into the big boxes during construction is pretty neat.

Preparing to go and attending the appeal board is also fun, in a weird way.

Crushing dreams is also right up there.
 

SW MI Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
3,194
Points
26
Hehe colouring maps by hand-dont ask why but its very relaxing and i feel creative
Me too!

I love shutting cocky people or a**holes down...and I love it even more when they get shut down by the Plan Commission.
Me too!

In addition -
We just did a plan for a linear trail, and that was awesome - had an excuse to wear jeans and be out of the office all day walking the proposed trails.

I like site plan review. I like being able to take some of the crappy ones we get in and make them better. Our engineer is constantly telling me that "we are not here to design". Well crap, half the stuff we get in sucks, and we are the ones that have to live with it, and if they can't do their job well, I will.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
In the short time I've been in my current job I've found that I enjoy monitoring and site visits the most. I'll take any opportunity to get out of the office plus it's good to put faces to the voices I'm always on the phone with. Now that all the snow has melted and spring is on the way, you can bet I'll be making a lot more of these visits.

During my short stint working for the dark side I also found getting out the colored pencils and coloring land-use maps was oddly therapeutic. Maybe it helped exorcise some of the evil I had a hand in producing.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,197
Points
28
Working in photoshop is fun! I get to create stuff like this (original version is 14" wide):
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
Anytime I get the chance to hunker down and write the text and complete the tables for comp plans, neighborhood plans, corridor studies, etc., I feel I'm at my best.

In the public sector I used to get a real charge working with community groups in tough parts of the city who were strongly advocating new development in their areas. I became their advocate in a way, and I enjoyed that.

Far and away my career highlight was to write the neighborhood plan for a neighborhood in Las Vegas -- three visits over six months (two during the winter months!), and we stayed at the Luxor. We did some work, too.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Beaner said:
Working in photoshop is fun! I get to create stuff like this (original version is 14" wide):
Beaner - I think Freud woulf have fun with you creating that pic. ;)

Otherwise, one other thing I enjoy - the BIG PICTURE. Build out analysis, alternative scenarios, stuff beyond most people's ability to display "in their heads".
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
PlannerGirl said:
Ya know Mike i worked for the Water and Sewer dept a few years and i LOVED it, going out to the wet wells, learning about muffin monsters (no snide jokes thats their real name) etc something about making stuff roll down hill then cleaning it up at the end was fantastic.
Around here we simply call them "brown trout." Public works language could be a whole new thread....
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,436
Points
33
I love working on environmental stuff. I really love it when someone comes in or calls and is extremely pissed about something. It must be very unsettling to them when I sit and talk calmly to them while they yell at me for a half hour. I had a guy a couple of weeks ago that I wrote up for not removing snow from his walk. He came in ranting about how stupid it was and that he knows of all these place that had not done it. He was red in the face and shaking he was so pissed. I talked to him for 20 minutes and he left saying that he would buy gas for our machine if we needed it. He was almost happy when he left. My assistant was just sitting there astonished at my powers... :)
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Michael Stumpf said:


Around here we simply call them "brown trout." Public works language could be a whole new thread....
Hee Hee. PG is a turd herder! Yes, we should split this thread.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,516
Points
69
nerudite said:
About a month ago I was given the opportunity to turn off my phone and put an away message on my e-mail for seven days to totally re-write our Land Use Bylaw.
Call me a geek, but I live drafting land use regulatons. Seven days isn't enough, though. The code I wrote for my old employer still hasn't been adopted, and I still make changes and additions, find ways to simplify the wording, and otherwise pick away at it, pro bono. I think the code I've been working on is one of the few in North America that is written in plain, simple English.

Nerudite ... I'll PM you with the URL tonight.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,197
Points
28
My brain isn't functioning today, so feel free to call me naive if I don't understand your reference. The only thing I see that is Freudian about that pic are the two rivers: they look like snakes upon Medusa's head. What am I not seeing or "getting"?!! HELP!

Or is it the 14" reference?!!!


bturk said:


Beaner - I think Freud woulf have fun with you creating that pic. ;)
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Beaner said:
My brain isn't functioning today, so feel free to call me naive if I don't understand your reference. The only thing I see that is Freudian about that pic are the two rivers: they look like snakes upon Medusa's head. What am I not seeing or "getting"?!! HELP!

Or is it the 14" reference?!!!
Looks like a crotch to me. Esp. now that I see yellow = wetlands!!!!!!!!
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Dan said:

Seven days isn't enough, though.

Nerudite ... I'll PM you with the URL tonight.
Sweet :)

Yeah... 7 days isn't enough. I've been tinkering with it since then. But seven days of (gulp) 11 - 14 hour days of total alone time got the core of it done. Luckily it was just a "limited review" that centered specifically on 15 or so issues with our bylaw. Otherwise, it probably would have taken a looooot longer.

Seven days of good code writing was still a treat though. :)
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,197
Points
28
HA! That's friggin funny! I didn't notice that before! Last month, and this is a true story, I walked the site and by the wet lands, there was evidence of beaver action - cottonwood stumps sticking out all over the place!


bturk said:


Looks like a crotch to me. Esp. now that I see yellow = wetlands!!!!!!!!
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
Beaner said:
HA! That's friggin funny! I didn't notice that before! Last month, and this is a true story, I walked the site and by the wet lands, there was evidence of beaver action - cottonwood stumps sticking out all over the place!


This must be like the ink blot thing. I was thinking it looked like fallopian tubes and would make a nice companion plan to the phallic subdivision that was posted recently.
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
31
Back on topic: This week it was putting down a know-nothing, unprepared applicant's lawyer at a public hearing. It started when she tried to ask me a question, and I replied it would be in the staff report. She asked when that would be, and I replied "when you sit down". It got better.
 
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