Monday, December 2, 2013

The Worst NIMBY Ever?


Every city planner knows the acronym NIMBY, which stands for Not In My Back Yard. It is used to reference people who are against projects. Typically, it is not used for all opponents, but those who are irrational in their opposition, and who are against not just bad projects, but everything

Having worked in local government for 15 years, I have heard a lot of NIMBY stories, but this one takes the cake...

This tale comes from a close friend of mine who lives in an upper-middle class city in Northern California. The area has not produced much housing in recent decades, but is quite nice, and has a robust job market, so prices have risen significantly. It has gotten to the point that people who would have traditionally had no problem affording a home there are priced out. 

My friend happens to be acquainted with one of his City Council members. They recently had a chat, because my friend wants to get more involved in the community, perhaps by joining the Planning Commission. 

Then this happened:

MY FRIEND: "What I think we need to do in this town is build more housing. The supply has not kept up with the demand, so prices are out of control. I want to find a way to create new housing in a way that satisfies the demand and stabilizes prices, without drastically changing the character of our community. I want my kids to be able to stay here when they grow up, and I just don't see how that can happen unless we get a lot of apartments and townhouses built."

COUNCILMAN: "Oh, no. I told my kids not to even think about living here, because there is no way I am going to allow anything to be built that they would be able to afford. Forget it."

Wow. Usually, NIMBY's don't think about who they are hurting, or they don't care because they consider the affected party to be a member of the dreaded Other. But this fellow is aware of the negative results of his stance and is aware that it hurts his own children... and he doesn't care.


  1. Sounds like Davis

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