This is what distresses me about the Smart Growth 40R Process.
By sinabeet on Flickr, “Hand say Hand Listen,” Creative Commons License
The problem is with the citizens of Newburyport who are not paying attention, not with the elected officials and folks on volunteer boards who made the Smart Growth 40R District happen.
1) This is not new.
The 40R was first proposed way, way back in 2004. This idea is not new to Newburyport. People are presenting this new zoning law as if it just came out of the blue. They are wrong.
2) No one was paying attention.
- If people had been paying attention to the 40R as early as January 2014, things might have turned out much differently.
- I was blogging about it since January 2015, and no one was listening, and I couldn’t get anyone to listen. I actually went around and talked to people explaining that this was probably one of the biggest long term projects that Newburyport was looking at, and it would affect everyone. I actually had people turn their backs on me and walk away while I was talking in mid-sentence. No one cared.
- I talked to at least one city councilor who had reservations about the project, and they couldn’t get anyone to listen either. We both agreed that trying to get people to pay attention was like talking to a wall.
3) Do not complain after the fact.
If you do not show up and pay attention EARLY in the process when things are being decided and problem solving is taking place, do not complain after the fact.
4) Pay attention NOW.
This is a multi decade project that will go through multiple administrations and planning directors. The 2 things that are on the docket now is the Graf Road Pump Station and the Minco Building.
5) Stop making excuses.
If you really care about this project, and just don’t want to complain about it, follow those 2 initial projects, the Graf Road Pump Station and the Minco Building. If you cannot make it to meetings, talk to city councilors and other people who do attend those meetings. You can find out who is interested by asking around (I do), or reading the minutes (I do), which are online on the city’s website, see who shows up and contact them. Reading the minutes of the meetings helps too.
6) Stop throwing people under the bus because you think that they are not listening to you.
The time to get elected officials and volunteer boards to listen to you is in the BEGINNING of a project when decisions are being made — not after all the work has been done. Stop throwing elected officials and volunteer board members under the bus, because you were not paying attention when this 40R Smart Growth District was being worked on.