NIMBYs unite.

How prevalent is this opinion? From a letter to the editor in today’s C-Ville –

This letter is to the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority [“So simple, it just might work,” The Week, August 2]. I could have saved the $1.1 million you paid to consultants: STOP THE OUT-OF-CONTROL HOUSING DEVELOPMENT! No development = water conservation problem solved. No charge for the advice.

This kind of simplistic response is all good and well, but simply not practical. No more than saying that all those who are not born and bred in Charlottesville should move back whence they came. We need to accept the growth, but manage it within the guidelines that are 1) currently in place or 2) can reasonably be put in place by reasonable people working together. Maybe we should stop the continuing development of the Downtown Mall while we’re at it.

The above sentiment seems to be that of many natives and NIMBYs alike. I wonder which the writer is.
Side note: I love that wikipedia’s definition of NIMBY lists under the “see other” section “hypocricy.” HA.

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4 Comments

  1. Duane Gran August 9, 2005 at 14:14

    I agree with you about the impracticality of the letter writer’s suggestion, but I think it reveals an undercurrent of truth — namely that infrastructure matters are not part of development planning. I wrote a brief essay recently about the inversion of responsibility that we see in Central Virginia and elsewhere. I’ll grant that there is some up-front planning for infrastructure, but at the end of the day the cost of a new development is spread out among all county residents when the onus should be on the developer.

  2. Jim August 9, 2005 at 21:22

    The sentiment may be prevalent, but moving that sentiment to a practical solution takes time, patience and massaging emotions and desires into something that is workable.

    “In America we build communities and then try to figure out how to address the transportation needs.

    This is so true. Now, where do we go from here? How do we learn from our mistakes and improve?

  3. Duane Gran August 10, 2005 at 13:24

    Now, where do we go from here? How do we learn from our mistakes and improve?

    A small step is to raise dialog about it, but I think the root problem is one of imagination. Before I travelled in Europe and experienced walkable cities with usable public transportation I didn’t know what I was missing. I knew that something was amiss, but I lacked the vocabulary to express it. Short of sending the whole nation on vacation to Europe (that would upset some people), I think those of us who “get it” need to explain it to others in a non-elitist sort of way.

    In other words, when joe sixpack starts talking about sustainable transportation and correcting our priorities the concept will have political force.

  4. Jim August 10, 2005 at 13:50

    I will be happy to do another fact-finding trip in Europe. Take the train from pub to pub.

    Europe and the UK, from my understanding, were built around mass transit, so the infrastructure is there. Here, installing this needed infrastructure would be such a logistical challenge (to say the least) that it may never get accomplished.

    Joe sixpack may be talking about other methods of transport soon. As fuel prices increase and those who work in but cannot afford to live in urban centers are paying more and more of their paychecks simply to get to work.

    Expressing and convincing are two separate steps, but persistence and patience may well pay off.