Yes NIMBY seems to becoming the acronym of the year; for those who don't know, it stands for Not In My Back Yard.
Most recently to gain national media attention is Sacramento, California whose shelter system even after being (video) drastically expanded in 2007, because of a previous Tent City built up near the Union Pacific Rail Road, is still overwhelmed and overcrowded and is forcing a whole new segment of the former middle class into the Tent Cities that are burrowing up much to the dismay of local businesses and residents who don't want the homeless in view of their backyard. The latest count places the current population of the Tent City at 1500 with 20-50 additional people joining the make shift community weekly.
Last month in jest the Editor of Fort Wayne News (aka Angry White Boy), Dan Turkette, suggested that the City should invest in the $500 per unit EDAR, "Everyone Deserves A Roof" [website], a program started by Peter Samuelson a Movie Producer out of Los Angeles, for the City of Fort Wayne's claim of only 100 homeless in Downtown and start putting them in at Harrison Square as a campground. Here is a basic introduction to the EDAR from the LA Times and an additional coverage from CBS News.
The reason why I bring this up is because of a more recent issue of riverfront development and NIMBY syndrome knocking on City Council's door. I am going to defer to Stephen Parker @ Around Fort Wayne for his coverage and commentaries on this issue regarding Fairmount Place for a detailed overview and then insert my own as well.
This most recent case of NIMBY and riverfront development versus the property rights businesses or land owners is in regard to the Rescue Mission's recent request vacate the a portion of an unused street to build a new 4.5 million dollar 94 bed Charis House women and children shelter on the riverfront just across the street from the Public Safety Memorial and the beginning of the Wells Street Corridor Business Association (WCBA) district line. This proposal was deferred for sixty days when said Business District President Judi Wire and surrounding Neighborhood Associations went up in arms over said development of land and used and friends of friends clout within local government to put the FUBAR on the prospective project and site.
Third district City Council member, Tom Didier's, district is across the street from the controversial land. He says he isn't against helping the homeless but doesn't like the proposed Well's Street location.
"This particular project is something that probably could go somewhere else. You know it's not like it has to go here! They own the property so for them they actually could make out in the long run if some developer would want to come along and purchase that property.”
Didier called Mayor Henry today and suggested the city purchase the property and help Charis House officials find other land.
Source: Homeless Shelter Ready To Expand, Neighbors Say "Not So Fast" By Laura Donaldson, [STORY] [VIDEO] 25 February Updated 04 March 2009, The Networks of Indiana News Center
As a Libertarian, my immediate reaction (as in a predisposed response filter, that is not acted on, but is there to throw up red flags on any particular issues that arise) is that this is a direct issue of private property rights violation with the additional implied threat, directly by a member of City Council, of eminent domain regardless of cause.
CLARIFICATION: This is an implied threat, without question by Mr. Didier and it is an indirect threat as said property is outside of his jurisdiction representing the Third District on Council.The land was... (redacted) ....purchased for a specific purpose by monies donated to said 'religious organization', and it should be retained for that intent. It is not like anyone ever noticed that property before someone decided to build a Women and Children Shelter on it anyway. Secondly it is a pain to get to so if someone wants to cut off access to an unused piece of land, I would usually say go ahead..
The purchase of this property in question by the City would have to be done by Eminent Domain in order for the Rescue Mission to begin recuperating any part of full expenditures. Otherwise under a normal purchase agreement the City could only begin to pay, I believe it is three times over the assessed value of the property and buildings, to compensate for the moving expenses and reestablishment of an existing business. But as this land is disoriented in zoning, with no one having an invested capital project currently being built on the land, the City is restricted by what amount it may purchase the land for. As it stands now, if the City authorizes the repurchase at full price and/or swapped the land with equal purchase value, above 350 thousand dollars, any responsible citizen would be up in arms by such a decision.
To bailout a huge mistake by any organization that does not pay taxes should be highly reviewed and said organization should be held to a higher standard of accountability in regard toward dispensation of donated resources by both its board and patrons. Not forgetting to mention the Secretary of State, who should also probably review the original sale in 2002.
I'm Still reading up on State Code please feel free (LINK: IACT, pdf) to join in the fun.
I was originally told that it was donated, my apologies. The understanding that I possessed at the time of starting this post almost 1 1/2 weeks ago, was the land was donated and the 4.5 million was for construction. The property was only valued at the now infamous 525 thousand dollars purchase of 3 1/2 acres that was only assessed for just over 72 thousand dollars for property taxes and and purchased from the City for 88 hundred dollars seven years ago.However I also have to look at the surrounding community and agree with them on one count that the planned construction is obtuse in both design and planning. With sincere apologies to Stephen Parker, for a view of the illustrated design please right click on this link and open into a new tab. Unfortunately the building is currently designed like a giant four layered (Original previous omitted detail: Franciscan Tau, styled LINK) altar cross! I stand behind this statement and its referenced commentary below. 15 other people so far have agreed with me. If they simply flipped the project around by putting the back of the building (ie: the top of the cross) to the street side and the parking in back, it would begin to fit more in line with the surrounding neighborhood facades and environment. If the facility was built in a camp lodge style with up to three floors it would be more appropriate for the area as a whole too.
The most this property should have been purchased for is 400 thousand and even that is accommodating the location and convenience of other properties in the area and in the said organization's network. The Rescue Mission should have only paid two hundred grand for it and I pray they didn't give him tax deductible receipt for the difference of his asking price.
Paraphrasing Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, in regard to servicing the poor, I have a Fozyism: "anyone whom has nothing of beauty deserves something of beauty from everyone". This (allowing the shelter to be built in some form on this site) would be a beautiful statement of setting aside our first fruits to the poor and the sojourner, the widow and the orphan (Exodus/Leviticus).
Dear Anonymous Reader: Thank you for asking! Here are the answers to your queries:
Then we are now left with another dilemma and that is the scope of the overall project as a whole and the intended versus the actual efficiency of said program in lieu of the property being taken off the property tax rolls. The current building plans at 30K sq ft. is claimed to be eight and a half times larger then the biggest business in that corridor, a funeral home. The CM Sloan & Sons Funeral Home is the equivalent of 6 maybe up to 8 one bedroom apartments which litter the known area and the proposed facility will only host 28 long term women with children, 28 single women, but a reserve of 38 with an additional capacity of 38 for emergencies. Using the idea marker of, eight times greater than, this project in size and scope only qualifies for four times greater in housing capacity however it does serve more than just a permanent housing scenario and therefore the pointe is moot as the residency is only partially long term the rest almost two thirds would be transitional therefore it would actually increase the total amount of people served to the same marker.
Who asked me a math question? ...mumblings...
From the peanut gallery:
My Dad is doing math?
Only GOD can HELP Y'ALL now!!
He is numerically dyslexic and failed basic algebra too.This is not going to be a easy thing to do. There will be some really crazy logical deductions awaiting you at the end!
You must be very trusting in this forum to ask me to do math questions. Brace Yourselves!
Assuming the facility is 8 times larger than the funeral home and we know there are 94 beds total and the average women in need of service each have 2 children at minimum. The actual final math didn't make sense to me either initially because if this building is built to code then even at the greatest stretch of the rules allowed there cant be more than three people sleeping per room and the parent and children should have separate bedding according to Child Safety standards. Remember certain safety restrictions and requirements demand separate sleeping arrangements after age 6 for children of differing genders. Their basic service goal is 28 women with presumed 2 children a piece plus 28 single women (28x4=112 not 94) and that is not even counting the 38 bed reserve and the additional 38 bed capacity for emergencies.
So there will not be enough beds?
Actually there are follow along if you will:
Now after allowing for a slight question of facts, that each bed is possibly a bunk bed and just counted as one, then you could account for the short numbers. If the numbers are factored by 1 bed equals in reality 2 adults, then you are getting somewhere quick. Because now 28 single women, become just (14 beds) for a supply count; and the (84 people) that make up the other 28 women with two children a piece account one for one so you are up to (28+14=42 beds) then (94-42=52 beds) remaining in capacity divided between the two categories equally which is 19 women with 2 children plus an additional 19 for single women (57+38=95 and 95+84+28 for a total of 207 people) bringing the total bed number to the pointe where capacity numbers and supply counts start to match up to the goals established by the Rescue Mission if you account for emergencies, overused stock, removal during lice/crabs infestations, and on-site staff to sleep in shifts. (Source: Table Maker)
So you see Dear Anonymous Reader there is no controversy, just another 250 more homeless people being able to live along the river bank. Only they will have a roof, a warm bed, plenty of food, and a future this time!
In the Journal Gazettes coverage of the story on the third of March they released an editorial statement but then also (Correction: were delayed in) publishing Letters To The Editor that whose authors were fair in their opposition to the request to both the vacation of Fairmount Place and the current building project as a whole.
The Editors of the Journal Gazette made two pointes that I will directly challenge:
1. The City does not have a vested interest. (3rd ip)
It gave that up when it sold back the land to whomever sold/donated it to the Rescue Mission. If the City bought out the property for flood control in 1982, it should have not been sold to anyone else in the first place for at a minimum of 25 years, let alone to a private owner or developer. This means the property shouldn't have been sold to anyone until 2007 at the earliest. Even though, as time and paradoxes have a way of twisting your nuts while making the same pointe, this means that we might still be in the situation; however it would have possibly slowed it down, because everyone involved in the purchase would have had knowledge of the different covenants and existing strategic area development plans.
I blame this one on the City for selling back the land that taxpayers purchased and then trying to buy it back yet again or (Correction: possibly) force it under eminent domain. The ultimate irony is that a (Changed: 'Religious Organization') in the middle of the City of Churches wants to build a shelter for Women and Children on their own riverfront property and the money changers wont let them @ the Inn! So much for the remembrance and living the message of Bethlehem. Let us finally be truthful for once in politics and admit to each other why we do or don't like something, even if it could damage your business or personal reputations.
2. Yes it is a giant cross; just say so! Admit that it scares you. (6th ip)
"Neighboring businesses represented by the Wells Corridor Business Association are concerned the design and location of the homeless shelter will obstruct future development..., specifically riverfront development. Neighbors are disappointed in the design of the shelter because it ... does not fit the character of the neighborhood."
I honestly do wonder if they are comparing those statements of "design" and "character" towards the existing businesses in the district. Was it the Pagans and Satanist @ The Ninth Gate, (who by the way I count among my friends), or the Drug Addicts @ the Methadone Clinic that is next door to the Pawn Shoppe?
The fact of the matter is that, subliminally, they don't want a giant cross "reminding people of their sinful nature" as they come over the bridge to patronize such establishments of small retail, or as they enter the heart of Downtown visiting our new Ballpark.
Before I forget, I want to also refer my readers towards these two posts on the 27th of February and the 4th of March by Charlotte Weybright @ Berry Street Beacon UPDATE:, and again on the 15th of March, whom has also addressed these ongoing issues of Fairmount Place, with a similar tactical analysis that I am taking, in regards toward specific issues. It is not very often that Charlotte and I agree on most things, even when coming from different vantage pointes, so I wanted to pointe out this distinct privilege that I feel welling up inside me from this occurrence. I have one last pointe to contest from the Journal Gazette editorial but at the same pointe I am going to use it to offer my craziest but well founded solution yet to date.
The current location of The Bean Cafe (F6 previous post (under Friday), until a year ago for a decade used to be, Hide~n~Seeks (F6 previous posts), a gay leather and jeans bar, which I also frequented on a biweekly basis for karaoke and which the Board of Heartland Communities meetings are currently held every Sunday night @6-9P, is just directly across from Fairmount Place technically it is all on the same street, but it sits between two Council Districts and changes physical direction and possibly a zip code, so therefore the name changes when crossing Wells Street/Fairfield Avenue and Ewing Street merger before the split for the bridge.
The remaining claims that everyone is making in opposition to the project, which are really straw man arguments, is that the south side of this property and beyond in question is susceptible to flooding; and again that the design is neither aesthetically conducive, to which I agree; and that it will hinder future riverfront development, in that location. To which, again I repeat, "What riverfront development?" But alas as a good friend always reminds me, to offer the good with the bad when tearing someone a new asshole, so I will attempt to now offer my solution to the design dilemma.
For that solution we will have to go back in history and our precolonial roots. In France, yes the French had the first fort here, and it was a French missionary whom secured the land for the later built Roman Catholic Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. Amongst other notables is, Jean Baptiste Bissot he actual is the original to interact with, and possessed a general respect for, the native people of the Miami nation whose national headquarters were here @ Kekionga. He built the first fortified trading post in 1704. Finally let us not forget the Centlivre Brewery which was also created by a Frenchman. So why do I bring all this up? Simply for historical presentation of the French connection to Fort Wayne for those whom don't know our local history that well and to establish the precedent for my political irony and suggestions to solve this problem in both design of the current project and the gripes involving future riverfront development in that area to follow.
Currently in the French Alpes on the Rivera there is Ville Franche, that translates to "the town with no taxes" as it secured that right many moons ago by providing shelter to Charles II, Duke of Anjos and later the Count of Provence, from the insurgent Turks in 1295CE. The privilege of being a free port was retained through the 18th Century even after being divided and shuffled many times over between modern day Italian and French predecessor governments or monarchs. There is a portion of the town that allows for this shelter from heathens, warring factions, an occasional pirate, etc., and that is the Rue Obscure. The City was actually built over this Obscure Road to allow people safe passage in their daily lives, the City with strategic access pointes to each house and business.
Here is my recommendations and project plan in conjunction with my work with Heartland Communities:
The City still needs to allow the Women and Children Shelter to build at the Fairmount Place location, but by working with them instead of threatening eminent domain, by starting at the second story and allow the first story on north side of Fairmount to be parking completely. Then after building the new Charis House, beginning over two thirds of the road going north with the second story only and continuing with a third floor, in a mission lodge style only, over the north side of Fairmount Place, we can then turn the south side into riverfront development and also a strategic water retention park with flood gates available to be attached at a moments notice for "the 500 year flood" everyone @ Journal Gazette and City Council is so worried about.
EDITOR: This picture does not illustrate my plan, just a point that the idea of building over a road and under a bridge in this case, is not a foreign concept to engineers just one that isn't used in America often.
The one third remaining tunnel top at the beginning of the Women and Children shelter over Fairmount Place would become a stage for productions and performances for concerts and/or theatre, The donations/ticket proceeds from these events could be split evenly between the Cooperative Worker Owners of the shopping and apartment complex and Charis House for further development and/or maintaince of their properties. This riverfront development that I suggest would be European in nature, similar to the original intent of Jefferson Pointe, but smaller in scale, providing more impact to the both the surrounding community and Downtown.
This complex would be worker owned and operated as green as possible with each employee having the option to live on premises at a reduced rate. The businesses located within the retail establishments would not have to be part of worker owner cooperative but the renters of apartments would and everyone as a whole would be required to follow the procedures and commit to a zero impact policy by their environmental footprint, and that includes the three communal bathing facilities, individual composting toilets, one of which is pictured to the right. Which means that between those two items and geothermal heating already planned, the entire Complex would not be hooked into the City Sewer, that currently has 50 CSOs per year minimum.
EDITOR: For more information on the Sun-Mar line of self contained toilets or to read commentary from the Owners of Gypsy Rose on thier experience and review after a year of using the non electric version of the composting toilet, click on the previous links.
Pointe Of Information: Pools Patios & Spas @ 3204 Illinois Road/State Road 14, phone: 260-432-3570, is a carrier of the Sun-Mar product line and they have a display.
This proposal in regard to the south side of Fairmount Place and beyond would also add entertainment, dinning, and shopping venues on the second story's east and south sides and a cooperative 2 story multiple bedroom town house on the southwest corner for employees of the shoppes and worker owners of the Cooperative over the complex located on the premises and additional apartments on both second and third floors on the west and third floor on the south side of the complex. All of this would be facing inward to the promanade or park that is encased within the hempcrete [website] walls with minor brick facade for highlights and still with a half arched view of the rivergreenway/riverfront from the first story to the south and west and second story to the south, and possibly a portico/veranda especially on the south side on the second and possibly a smaller balcony for both second and third story apartments.
Now in order to maintain the facade issue with the adjoining Wells Corridor Business District this plan has already forced the parking to be placed under Charis House completely; however by the very nature of the plan so far explained it is more obtuse than the original, but it also twenty times more energy efficient and community impacting as well. Since the design structure would allow the north and south sides of Faimount Place along Wells Street, facing west from an across the street at the Public Safety Memorial, to then also build outer businesses both on the east side wall facing east or toward the rest of the businesses in the neighborhood, because the complex itself has become the flood wall so the businesses on the outside first story should be okay. There would be approximately 50-80 15x10 studio bedroom apartments included.
There is one last issue of traffic safety which is simply resolved by creating an extended roundabout from High Street to the bridge with no circles involved. Simply putting a stop sign on Wells at High Street and then a full tri-coloured, trip triggered, four way, stop light system at Fairmount Place and North Wells at Wells Street/Fairfield Avenue and Ewing Street with a five minute deference pattern, would assure smooth transitioning from Downtown to both the Wells Street Corridor and the new complex located @ Fairmount Place or vice versa. By the way, as a reminder once this is done North Wells Street and Fairmount Place need to be renamed one name, please. And while it would be pretty good bragging rights to say that you literally live or work above a major intersection, the area if the complex that is built in front of the stage and the beginning 1st story of Charis House on the intersection of Fairmount and Wells Street should be reserved for the CoOps Offices.