Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in

So I know you've all been breathless with anticipation for the next installment of The Development Next Door. I can feel the keen excitement vibrating over the ether. Truly.

But unfortunately, there's really not much to report.

We had a community meeting at the neighborhood church last Wednesday night, which was supposed to be a forum where all the people who live on the street could express their feelings about the proposed re-zoning. I don't know what we were thinking - if you'll recall my last post on the subject, my ineffectual tirade against people who don't care enough to attend a City Council meeting - I don't know why we thought holding another meeting was the answer. Which is a roundabout way of saying nobody came. Or not nobody, exactly, but very few people. The developers came, of course, and brought their lawyer with them, which I didn't think was really in the "neighborhood meeting" spirit, but then, they didn't ask me.

There was much arguing, and much interrupting of each other, but it remained mostly civilized and well-behaved, if with a seething undercurrent of animosity. Our awesome City Councillor had the flu, so it was truly amazing that he even showed up to run the meeting, which he did.

The developers and their lawyer pretty much monopolized the discussion and tried to make the issue that they stood to lose a lot of money if the street was rezoned, and how unfair it was to them to do this. They kept talking about what a nice project it was going to be and how good it would be for the neighborhood ("We're not going to cut down ALL the trees..."). Whether that's true or not, I don't really think that's the issue. Our little street can't support five more townhouses - we don't have the sewer and water resources, we don't have room for the traffic increase, and we can't afford to lose the green space. The whole point of re-zoning the street is to keep ANY future development, no matter how well-intentioned, from happening, because the street (technically, it's not even a street, it's a Lane - we don't even have sidewalks) can't support it.

But this developer couple (it's a husband and wife team - the husband is Chinese and an architect/engineer, I guess, and the wife is Caucasian and a duplicitous pain in the ass) are trying to make people feel sorry for them, because they have been so greviously wronged, you see. The bought the property, which was advertised to them as being Residence B and thus capable of being developed, in good faith, and NO ONE TOLD THEM that the city was thinking about re-zoning it. This despite the numerous flyers I peppered the neighborhood with and the numerous letters the City Councillor has sent out. You see, they don't get the mail there. They bought the property, but they don't live there. They're not ever planning on living there, even if they get to build their five condos. And yet they still have the audacity to address those of us who live on the street as their neighbors.

So anyway. Nothing much was decided or accomplished at this meeting. I said I thought it was disingenuous of the developers to pretend that they were trying to make the neighborhood a better place when what they were really about was making money. The pain-in-the-ass wife said that they would be lucky to make even a very small amount of money on this project, and then later in the meeting the husband let slip that they stood to make in the vicinity of $200,000 in their worst-case scenario. So I guess that's not much money to them.

(Side note: Two people in the neighborhood who are on my "side" in this issue have spoken to me in seperate conversations about the developers and, during the course of the discussion, referred to the husband as "The Chinaman." Each time that happened, all I could think the rest of the conversation was, "Dude, Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature...")

The meeting where the City Council has to vote on the re-zoning proposal is December 4th, which is coming up quick. I don't know if anyone else on the street is planning on stepping up and making some noise, but I'm guessing probably not, judging by the lack of attendance at the neighborhood meeting. If people aren't willing to walk half a block to the church to talk about this issue, they're probably not going to write letters or make phone calls to the City Councillors. *sigh*

The other sort of blech thing is that I told our City Councillor that we were probably going to be moving next summer. I felt dishonest not telling him when it's virtually a certainty - a lie of omission, basically. And of course I got all worked up about it and started blubbering when I was talking to him. Poor guy. He had the flu and just wanted to go home and go to bed, and here's me sniffling and snupping and generally getting way too emotional. He was very understanding and said he was sorry to hear that we would be leaving. I tried to tell him what a great public servant I thought he was and just ended up blubbering some more. I hate that I do that. I felt like I was in 10th grade again trying to talk to Mr. Kathan the Scary Physics Teacher about my test grade. Ugh.

So that's that with that. I guess we'll see what happens on the 4th.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

Adams said...

Stop making me fall in love with your The Big Lebowski-spouting, civically-minded hot ass!