Friday, August 04, 2006

Lean a little bit closer see the roses really smell like poo poo poo

The Saga of The Development Next Door continues...*

This is my new part-time job, fighting this development (but unlike a real part-time job situation, I am not getting paid, alas). Every time Nolan goes down for a nap or manages to occupy himself with a book or a toy for 10 minutes at a time, I'm in front of the computer or on the phone working on this thing. My sweet little patient boy has been to Kinko's with me twice so far this week, not to mention the three tours of the neighborhood he's been on in his stroller as I hand out flyers and try to get people to sign a petition against the development.

I'm feeling pretty fired up about this whole thing, though. The more I find out about the developer and his local flunkies, the more outraged I get and the more determined I am to fight it off.

Would you believe this guy, this local doofus who seems to be running the show on behalf of the lead scuzzball developer, showed up at my house this morning? AND THREATENED ME. With my child sitting right there playing in the living room! He pretended to be a neighbor from another street and asked me for one of the flyers that I'd been handing out, and when I wouldn't give him one, he said, "You'll be sorry!" and that I would be hearing from his lawyer. Then he offered to buy our house out from under us. He said, "I'll buy it right now - how much do you want for it?" and I told him I didn't want to sell our house to him. He said everything comes down to money and I told him that I was sorry he felt that way, and that I think there are more things in life than money.

I think he's scared. I really do.

I think he's worried he's going to get turned down for this variance. He said even if he can't build the six units he wants to build, he'll still build as many as he can "by right," just to piss me off.

So after he left I called the cops and reported it. They sent an officer to our house and I told him I felt threatened and that I didn't want him contacting us or coming to our house anymore. When I told the officer the guy's name, he rolled his eyes and said, "John Doe? Ah god is he a pain in the ass!" and proceeded to tell me numerous stories about the crap work this guy does and how the police get calls all the time from subcontractors who haven't gotten paid by this guy for their work. I don't know if that makes me feel better or worse - this guy's bad enough that even the beat cop who gets sent out on house calls knows about him.

So the cop said he'd call John Doe and tell him that if he comes on our property again he'll be arrested, and he told me if I see him there again to just call 911.

I've also contacted our local newspaper to see if I can get them to do a story and/or cover the hearing on Tuesday. The woman I talked to at the news desk sounded interested, but I haven't heard from the reporter yet.

And I'm still waiting for a call back from the Mayor's office. His receptionist promised he'll call me before the hearing on Tuesday. His web site has a big quote from him about how he's concerned about the rampant development in our town and how he wants the Zoning Board to be more strict with handing out variances, so I'm hoping he'll want to back up that statement with some support for my cause.

The one person who's been amazingly great and supportive has been our Ward Councillor. I've spoken on the phone with him a number of times, and he sent a letter out to all the residents on our street and two neighboring streets about how he's against this development and encouraging people to show up at the hearing and voice their opposition to it. He's been wonderful - one of those public servants that make you have faith in government again.

We've been in touch with a lawyer, too, so if Evil Developer Man does get the variance approved we haven't ruled out a suit as an option. Ugh. I hate to even think of it, but a couple of the people I've talked to who have fought this guy before said that's the only thing they've seen work.

So the fight continues. The Zoning Board of Appeals hearing is Tuesday night at 7:15. Please think good thoughts for us 'round about that time.

Thanks for reading!

*Rose, you're psychic!

6 comments:

Erica Mulherin said...

WOW! You go girl!! You totally rock, taking this on. Most people (me included) would probably just grumble about it and not actually DO anything. I admire that very much. Sending good thoughts....sending good thoughts..

Karan said...

YAY! You go for it!!! I'll keep checking up on your progress and rooting for you from way over on this side of the country!

Karan said...

I finally remembered to ask my husband about this situation. He said that the developer has to prove that there is a "need" to get a zoning change...like the need for lower income housing in your neighborhood. See if you can get a copy of his justification and then attack that with vigor.

thptpth said...

Yeah, in our town the developer has to prove that some sort of "hardship" exists to justify the variance - something with the topography of the site, the condition of the soil, etc. I won't find out until the hearing Tuesday what they're going to argue their "hardship" is, so we'll have to see.

zachdb said...

I, too, find your action admirable - way to go! Fight the good fight! I'm rooting for you and will be thinking of you on Tuesday!

Electric Mayhem said...

I am?

I'm thinking of you as well.