Overbuilding in the Grove
First, to the deniers, a lot of building is happening. It is perfectly legal though. The rules need to change if neighbors do not like being surrounded on all sides by solid white, concrete walls. But a lot of what we see is according to code, despite it being against good sense. More on that in a moment.
Second, to the newcomers, this is the never-ending fight to preserve the character of our great single-family home neighborhoods. Let no one trouble you about why you are joining us now. Welcome to the club. This struggle is fierce at the beginning and towards the end of every building cycle.
Third, to the concerned, there are some projects that are certainly out of scale, contrary to good planning principles and downright unfriendly to neighbors. And then are those that are against code, in a BIG way. Once a project if fully built, it is effectively legal (perhaps improper). But when it is obvious that setbacks are violated, that multi-structure projects are allowed on former single-family property lots and mature trees go completely missing, you have a right to complain. Zoning and building rights are granted by us through our elected representatives.
What can you do? A commissioner sets the tone and adjusts policy as needed. I endorsed Ken Russell for commissioner because it was the right thing to do. I knew it would take time for him to acclimate to the role. I knew that in the mean time, businesses would close, historic homes would be demolished and as much advantage would be taken of our community during the transition.
Now is the time to effectively advocate your issue:
First, organize those most affected. I am pleased that neighbors are organizing to contend with the issues they see in their particular neighborhood. Your united voice gives our commissioner the ammunition to make the case for policy changes.
Second, citizen lobbying works. We have to help Ken convince administrators and the other commissioners to see the Light of our concerns. We get the government we deserve by neglect or by careful attention.
Third and last, always keep the commissioner in the loop. He can only advance policy from the dais with the agreement of his peers. He and his staff can help you at every step to your goal. It is his job to carry the issue “football” across the goal line with the Commission.
Some parting wisdom: No one knows your concern better than you --- you are your greatest advocate. Do not engage in debate with people who cannot help you --- bypass them. Make friends with those who can help you --- calling people names will not resolve anything but being friendly will.
Your advocacy team is only as good as its members. You want the best, you want the ’72 Dolphins as your front line. You will get your neighborhoods back and better. A new commissioner was the first step, now it is on you to work with him.
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