I am trying to get my head around the NIMBY slur used by developers, architects and land use attorneys against Boca’s residents. At one time it was a valid criticism because it referred to attempts to separate people on the basis of race, ethnicity, or economic status.
But today, NIMBY has been weaponized by property development companies against residents or anyone else who protests against their project. Even when objections are legitimate and deserved. It’s been denigrated into meaningless hyperbole and over-used to extinction.
NIMBY is being used against Boca Residents even now
For example, you want to get away from commercial businesses, apartment buildings, and traffic. So you move into a single family home neighborhood. Then Bam! A developer comes along and tries to quietly change the city zoning for all residential areas to allow apartment buildings. See the recent BocaFirst article “Zoning Change Alert: Council Looks atAdding Hi-Rises to Neighborhoods“, for how this is happening right now. Are you a NIMBY because you just want to maintain the status quo of a nice neighborhood vibe? Because you like your quiet street, the lack of traffic, the uninterrupted skyline? I don’t think so. And you shouldn’t either. If you haven’t signed the petition to stop this, you should. Download it here.
I live in downtown Boca and people are always complaining about the traffic. So when a developer recently proposed a project and admitted that it will “double traffic in downtown” I figured it’s a slam dunk to protest. Who wants double the traffic? I would think nobody (See “A Chicago Setting for Downtown Boca” for an example of what’s about to happen to Sanborne Square).
Even our city planners say the project “will result in more traffic circulations and diminish the public parking opportunities in downtown”. Can you have any more of a slam dunk than that? But the developers, and their cronies who get aroused at the sight of a crane in the air, still yell NIMBY.
We really need something to yell back at them. I invented DESI, for Develop Every Square Inch. Use it freely and often please.
DESI is the anti-NIMBY
DESI developers believe that every foot of space has to be turned into profit. Even in a city where everyone complains about traffic, they want more traffic, and even brag that they are doubling it. DESI believe that buildings should run from property line to property line.
I looked up the home of a DESI who probably thinks I’m a NIMBY. Big house, plenty of room around it, and has what looks like an empty lot across the street. I bet if someone wanted to change his zoning to put a 4 story apartment building on that lot, the DESI would quickly become a NIMBY. In fact all DESI would turn into a NIMBY (as they define it) in an instant if their neighborhoods were challenged.
But that’s not how they think. It’s never about their neighborhood. It’s like “Hey, let’s put an apartment building in that single family zone. But how can we handle the NIMBY complaints? I know. Let’s call it an assisted living facility. We can say the NIMBYs are haters of the elderly.“
The DESI are wrong
Basically as long as you are not protesting against a race, ethnicity or other minority from moving in, there is nothing wrong with protesting a development project. If you can’t protect your own neighborhood there’s a much bigger problem and Boca Raton has that problem. Think of it as a version of stand-your-ground.
Unlike Canada right now, we still have a right of lawful protest. This protest can be about something across the globe, across town, or across the street. People who routinely yell NIMBY when you are exercising your right of protest are oppressors of that right and deservers of the pejoratives of being shallow, arrogant, and in need of a civics lesson.