Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Nothing has changed

This was not the document sought, but it does reveal that nothing has changed around here (or, as our dear Gallic friends like to say in their own lingo, "the more things change, the more they stay the same"). It's an addendum to a 1999 neighborhood planning survey. Recently, we responded to just such another. Here's what was said in 1999 (a few details have been changed to protect the guilty):

Enclosed is a completed copy of the "Masterplan Summary and Ballot." Comments were invited, so here are some—

1. As was noted on the ballot, "All issues affect us all!" It seems methodologically and statistically suspect to have so few survey items to be answered by all who would be affected. The method is especially dubious as concerns those of us who live on our street—the residents are divided into quadrants, as though what happens across the street or up the hill has no effect on the rest of us.

2. "Lower tax rate for central city residents," though certainly greatly desirable, would seem to be a matter for state legislation, not a master plan. Have you noticed how, on most properties in our neighborhoods, the appraised value of the land, without improvements, has been artificially boosted? There should certainly be account taken of airplane noise and traffic noise and dirt when appraisals are done. We really are aware of sales of real estate prompted by tax burdens in this neighborhood.

3. Though this has nothing directly to do with the survey, the neighborhood association may or may not wish to be aware that several of us repeatedly, and without success, have requested traffic enforcement on our street. If there were some, particularly at night after clubs close, there would certainly be arrests, for drunken driving if nothing else, to judge by the alcoholic-beverage bottles to be retrieved in the morning. There are graffiti to be found at both ends of the street.

4. As concerns the survey item on mercury-vapor lights, we hope that this pertains both to private "security" lights and to city streetlights. It should also apply to any unshielded lights that spill over onto neighboring property. The sky is red at night and many heavenly objects are no longer visible to the unassisted eye. Some plants will not bloom if exposed to light. We suspect that some nocturnal birds are affected, as we no longer hear the whip-poor-will at all or nearly so many screech owls as we used to. We live on a corner and suffer from two city lights, which have only grown brighter over the years. They do more lighting of our yard and the interior of our house than anything else. We have no air-conditioning and rely on open windows, so they are especially troublesome during the summer months. At just one intersection here in this neighborhood there is a shielded light—a sort of halo-ring that directs the light downward and to the street; why can't all neighborhood lights be fitted with these?

5. Sidewalks are great—we have them—but even more important is educating property owners about the right-of-way or easement along curbs. Everywhere people are blocking them by installing permanent large vegetation and trees or large gates, fences, and walls. People need to be informed and pedestrian rights need to be preserved.


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