Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Couple of Valid Reasons Why Goo Goos Are Not Gah Gah About Those Wacky Developers

All of you pro-developer journalists and political communications types at the Metro Courthouse take note. Carol McCullough has an outstanding list of dirty tricks used by developers (and the politicians who love them) to supress citizen participation in the planning process. The whole list is worthy, but here are a couple of my favorites from Occasional Muse:


Schedule Legislation so that the Public Hearing falls near a Holiday

When dealing with a proposed development that you anticipate would face significant community opposition, it is important you get the timing right. Bring your proposals to the Council Member at a time that will allow you to ensure that the Public Hearing takes place at a time that it is inopportune.

One of the most popular Council Meeting dates for such an activity is the first one of the year that often falls one or two days after the new year holiday. Other good dates to avoid public scrutiny include those near the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. If possible, create a sense of urgency that would make it seem that this timing is entirely accidental. A contract set to expire shortly after that date is one option.


Produce Petitions and “Community” Spokespeople

If facing zoning zealots that are circulating a petition, circulate your own among people who have an interest in seeing the development move forward. It does not need to be mentioned if the signers do not live anywhere near the proposed development site. It is best if you can find at least one proponent that lives nearby that can speak in favor and make the opposition look silly and backward.

Alternatively, if you have a Council Member that is favorable to your proposal, ask them to hold up a large stack of papers while on the Council floor and insist that they have a petition that shows support. There is currently no requirement that they have to enter such a document in the public record.

Only 24 more lobbying days until Independence Day. We'll watch to see how many public hearings are put off until the week before or week after the holiday. And check those petitions for outlyers.

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