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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

June 15, 2007

you want to build what? where?

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,lawyer news or ethics — David Giacalone @ 1:11 pm

BigStore I’ve let my twin brother (and haiga collaborator), Arthur Giacalone, do the legal heavy-lifting in our family for the past decade. Arthur has a solo law practice in western New York State, where he specializes in zoning/development law, focusing on the representation of homeowners (usually in opposition to environmentally harmful projects). Today, he shared his experience at an Erie County Bar Association CLE program entitled “You Want to Build What? Where?: Public Input in Private Development” (June 15, 2007), which focused on “issues confronted in the development process, including wetlands, zoning, the Brownfield Cleanup Program, and organized opposition by citizen groups.” Although the thickly annotated, 5-page outline that Arthur prepared for the seminar relates to development and environmental law in New York State, I think the information and insights deserve a wider audience. Therefore, I’ve posted it here at f/k/a: see Zoning Challenges: Overcoming Obstacles (by Arthur J. Giacalone, June 15, 2007; also available as a Word Document, with working footnote links).

road crew –
bright orange jackets
circle the old tree

……………………………… by Hilary Tann from Upstate Dim Sum

bulldozer In the Zoning Challenges outline, you’ll find citations to the most relevant laws and court opinions. The major points Arthur makes in the seminar materials include:

  1. Contrary to the complaints one often hears from developers and their counsel, residents concerned about projects proposed for their communities have always faced an uneven playing field. The obstacles are political, legal, bureaucratic, financial, etc.
  2. An increasingly hostile legal system, political climate and media have contributed to an environment where protection of the interests of residents becomes a more challenging task each year.

Giacalone says an Atmosphere of Intimidation has been created to discourage residents from asserting their rights and interests: “Some advocates of so-called ‘progress’, including some developers, public officials and members of the media, are engaged in a concerted effort to belittle and silence neighborhood residents who dare to speak out against a proposed project. The residents are castigated as obstructionists, labeled NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard), and even called ‘Un-American’. Developers are portrayed as saints, residents as villains.” Meanwhile,

WorkAreaAhead “It seems that developers and property owners are frequently threatening to sue municipalities and/or government officials for money damages if their proposed projects are denied. They claim ‘regulatory takings’, violations of ‘vested rights’, due process violations, etc. Such threats are intended to have a ‘chilling effect’ on local officials.

Given the level of hostility exhibited towards residents, Giacalone says “it is fortunate that both the State Legislature and the courts have taken steps to protect their rights to petition their government and to express their opinions.” If you’re interested in issues raised when development is proposed near residential neighborhoods or environmentally-sensitive areas, I recommend that you read Zoning Challenges: Overcoming Obstacles, by East Aurora attorney Arthur J. Giacalone, as a starting point.

March wind —
more garbage
in the trees


construction crew
the blackbird

10:01 PM
the mall fountain
falls silent

intersection ExpectDelaysN
a chance to view
distant mountains

traffic jam
the man ahead
raises his cup

……………………………………. by Hilary Tann from Upstate Dim Sum

nplantriver p.s. If you’re looking for haiku relating to fathers, check out our postings from 2005: “a haiku father’s day” (with poems from several of our Honored Guests) and “glimpses of fatherhood” (featuring poems from Tom Clausen‘s classic collection Homework)

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