Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chevy Chase Meddlers

I just learned about a the meeting of the Chevy Chase Neighborhood Association this past Monday night, not that I would have been there but I would have liked to ask around about it. The Chevy Chase group is like most neighborhood associations- full of local, grass-roots activists- keeping their fingers on the pulse of the community. Most of the time they want to know just who is doing what.

And then, there are the ones that my dad called "the Meddling Bessies". These are the ones who then want to tell you "how to" or whether "they want you to" do whatever it is that you wish. Unfortunately it usually involves property, your property.

A topic of the meeting, maybe the only topic of the meeting, involved a redevelopment project. It was not about the High St/Euclid/Fontaine intersection's redesign (I would like to see a nice round-a-bout there). Nor was it about some upcoming civic gathering for the well being of all. It WAS about the expansion of the Christ the King complex.

There is not much available about the project yet. They want to build a new rectory for the bishop(probably one a little bigger than the current one) and some more classroom space with a modern gymnasium. They will probably have to reconfigure the parking lot and all. All in all this is not an easy thing to do on a lot like this. It will take a lot of effort.

Already the neighborhood wants to take control of the situation. Where is it going to go? How tall is it? What is it going to look like? What about this situation, or that one?

Folks, this is PRIVATE property. Yes, they would like to work with you but this is NOT your project. There are certain rules that have to be met and then there are the RLUIPA laws which can supersede our local zoning laws.

I don't see this as much different than the CentrePointe situation downtown, as long as no rules or laws are broken, if they don't want to listen to you-THEY DON"T HAVE TO.

All of this is spoken of in terms of "transparency" in the planning and implementation of civic life yet that only goes over well when you are not the one being told what to do. Majority rules does not often override private property laws, although it may if it clearly involves public safety and security not the aesthetics of personal opinion.

I do wish that I had been there.

4 comments:

Alison said...

I'd love to see a roundabout at High/Euclid/Fontaine too, but I know it'll never happen. I'd love to see roundabouts at a lot of intersections in Lexington, but I know it will never happen.

As for the rest...I have to admit it's NIMBY, so I don't have a big stake in it. I do worry and wonder about the Greek Orthodox church on Tates Creek, and their proposed expansion, because I walk right in front of there more often than I walk in front of Christ The King, yeah, selfish, I know! But I figure that things will happen, or not, and I'll live.

Hilary Baumann said...

People in Lexington still don't seem to know how to drive on a roundabout so I'm not exactly pro-roundabout.

I DO think it's a good idea for developers to get feedback from the community but that doesn't mean that the community should expect them to do things the way they want. Sometimes the developers have the community interests in mind, sometimes they have their pocketbooks in mind, but it tends to work best when it's a little bit of both.

Streetsweeper said...

Hilary, Lexington drivers don't know how to use turn signals, stop bars or four way stops either but that doesn't mean that we should stop using them.

The Wellington Way roundabout was built about 1/3 smaller than originally proposed for the number of lanes in the area.

Hilary Baumann said...

You're comparing apples to oranges. People know how to use their turn signals and four way stops, they were brought up with them even if they act like idiots and don't use them properly. They had to know those things at some point to pass the driving test. It's different when you throw something at at a person that they don't know how to use even if they wanted to.

Wellington Way adds to the problem by making it look like we don't even know how to execute the construction of them properly. On top of that, it's most recent addition has been some confusing looking signs last minute that are distracting to people as they're turning into the roundabout (they're distracting to me even.)

I'm not talking statistics, I'm talking my own frustration with them.

Road planning has clearly not been our city's strong suit. Not saying they can't get better but what are those steps to actually get there?