Sometimes It Is Just That Simple
As I watch the “process” of private citizens trying to gain approvals for their planned projects, I am struck by the self-righteous attitude of NIMBY’s.
NIMBYs have the ability to suspend the logic of the needs of the community by touting the imminent loss of “quality of life” if any houses, asphalt plants, winery tasting rooms, or affordable apartments should get built. There are any number of reasons the NIMBYs can cite in order to say no to development in their backyards: traffic, water, noise, etc.
Usually the opposition to a project is raised by an impressive “professional” like a geologist that speaks to the project not adequately addressing the potential subterranean disturbance the proposed buildings might have. Often, the opposition expert cites the loss of an empty field as being symptomatic of all land getting paved over. Almost every project has an “expert” to talk about the increase in traffic that will impact the quiet country lane vibe that exists now. Of course, these professionals do not live near the project and we are supposed to believe their opinions are purely out of concern for maintaining the “Quality of Life” issues that are endangered by the proposed project.
Yesterday, I watched a presentation by the Ramey family to develop a tasting room and event center near Hop Kiln Winery on Westside Road in Healdsburg area. Several speakers opposed the project. One threatened a lawsuit should the project be moved forward. None of the opposition lived near the property in question. After the opposition speakers cited the traffic catastrophes that are sure to occur if the project gets built, and the danger to folks driving on Westside Road due to the intoxicated traffic going in and out of the proposed project, I was struck by one of the speakers who got up and spoke in favor of the project. One gentleman said he was the Ramey’s next-door neighbor and he “didn’t recognize or know” any of the speakers who were opposing the project on “Quality of Life” issues. He said “who would know more about my quality of life than myself? I support the project and welcome it.”
So, who are these folks who are self-appointed “worry warts” protecting Quality of Life for the rest of us? Conservation Action, River Watch, and several others were at the Sonoma County hearing yesterday. I have lived in Sonoma County for 60 years, but I don’t recall a need for these organizations to help me in my quality of living in Sonoma County. Who the hell put them in charge?
I sat there in wonderment as I listened to Supervisor Gorin cite sea level rise, global warming, the proliferation of tasting rooms, and water usage as all reasons to consider denying the Ramey proposed project yesterday. Really? Sea level rise on Westside Road? In fairness, she was referring to the billions of dollars it was going to take to overcome effects of sea level rises over the next 50 years, but is it appropriate to consider denying a family farmer the right to improve their property because Hwy 37 needs work? I was astounded.
To me, the real guardians of our Quality of Life are folks like the Rameys who will enhance their land and be able to continue raising grapes on a family farm rather than sell out to a megloconclomerate billion-dollar foreign company. The real attack on our quality of life in Northern California are those that refuse to approve housing that is sorely needed by workers who want to, and are needed by us, to live here.
Luckily for us, the Supervisors yesterday approved the Ramey project. Despite Gorin’s stated concerns about sea level rising, she voted for the project too. We have Supervisors who are not owned by the NIMBY factions. Thank goodness.
Sometimes, the opposition to development is subtler. When consultant Tony Korman, who is working on a project being proposed by Jackson Family Wines at Wikiup in Sonoma County, was at a neighborhood meeting listening to the concerns of the homeowners in the area, a young lad about 6 years old asked him “Hey Mister, why can’t you just leave it the way it is and not build houses here?” Tony said, “I bet you live with your parents, right?”. The lad nodded yes. Tony continued “You will probably live with them when you go to high school too wont you?”. Large eyes looked back at Tony and the boy nodded yes again. Tony said, “when you graduate from College and get married, will you live with your parents in their house too?”. The boy shook his head from side to side saying no. Tony said “that is why we need to build some houses here. It is so there will be a place for you to live when you grow up”.
Sometimes, it is just that simple—
That’s All Folks
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