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Death to the Term NIMBY Because We are All NIMBYs

This morning I had a fleeting thought about the acronym NIMBY. You may be familiar with it. It means “Not In MY Back Yard.” Most recently in Park City it was commonly used during the school bond debate to describe those people living in Prospector or Park Meadows who apparently didn’t want the bond to pass because if it did, and the football field was moved, then sounds from games would bounce off mountains and be too loud for the neighbors (I guess)… and supposedly the lights would bother the neighbors since they would be… uhhhh… pointed in the wrong direction or something. Therefore, any of this community’s concerns with the bond were dismissed as being that of NIMBYs.

I was reminded of that fleeting thought a few moments ago when a Park Rag commenter told another commenter that the term NIMBY was offensive. The two commenters were discussing the proposed affordable housing and transit center that may be put between Jeremy Ranch Elementary and the Burt Brothers. One commenter thought that people in Jeremy Ranch may not like this development because they were NIMBYs. Another commenter said the term was offensive.

Personally, I agree and disagree with them both. I’m not sure it’s an offensive term but I don’t think the label does much good.

The truth is that most of us are NIMBYs. Want an example?

Let’s build a homeless shelter on Main Street, perhaps right next to the Egyptian Theater. There isn’t a homeless shelter around Park City (that I know of) and why not provide the homeless with an opportunity to be in the center of our city where the potential jobs are and where visitors may be able to help them?

Want another example? Let’s go back to Mountain Accord and have them build that tunnel through Big Cottonwood Canyon to PCMR. It would likely bring a lot more people to Utah, increase the state’s visitors, and increase the tax base of our state, thus increasing revenues for education statewide. So what if people just stay in the valley, stop going to our hotels and restaurants, and make a day trip of it? Don’t be such a NIMBY. Don’t be so concerned with yourself.

Want yet another example? If I recall on Old Ranch Road there is farm land across from Willow Creek Park. Wouldn’t that make a great transit center, if we could buy it? Especially if we connected Old Ranch Road directly with Highway 40? People could come in via Highway 40 via Old Ranch Road and park at the transit center. They could then be shuttled to Canyons and PCMR for skiing. We could have buses running downtown and to PCMR. Why not?

Need another one? Let’s open Guardsman pass year round to traffic. Who cares about the extra traffic going by houses in Old Town and causes more congestion there. That’s NIMBY thinking. It’s not like traffic will be going fast and become dangerous. It’s frankly good for everyone. It provides another way into Park City, so traffic is alleviated up Parleys Canyon, 224 and 248. It likely makes things that much safer!

Need yet another one? Why didn’t we want to put the new state prison in Park City… perhaps on the Triangle Parcel (Between the Home Depot and the Park City Gun Club)? Just think of the economic impact of having a prison near our community! What? You want that prison in Salt Lake and not near where you live? Why?

Wait there’s more. Let’s take the final step and go full circle. We have a transportation problem right? We need more buses on the road! We need transportation alternatives! Yet, how do we fund them? The obvious answer is that all of us living in 84098 currently have a “Park City” address … but we don’t REALLY live in Park City. We live in the unincorporated Snyderville Basin and not Park City. The problem with this is that taxes like the “Resort Tax,” that could be used to fund transportation, are only available to cities and not places like the unincorporated Snyderville Basin. Therefore we are missing out on substantial taxes, that could fund transportation, from visitors to the Canyons because we are not in a “city.” That tax number is likely 6.35% of Vail’s “Canyons” related revenues. All we need is you 84098-ers to change your address. Just so you know… you won’t live in Park City anymore. You’ll live in Moose Valley. But please don’t fuss, because it’s good for all of us. Especially don’t mind the drop in property values associated with you living in Moose Valley instead of Park City. Why would you care?

Because you are a NIMBY. Most of us are NIMBYs. There is nothing wrong with it. At a broader scale, even globally, we all care about where we live.

It is true that at some point we all may have to make sacrifices for the greater good, but it should be a very high bar. Most people in Jeremy Ranch bought into their houses, knowing that the parcel of land between the Jeremy Ranch School and Burt Brothers was zoned Rural Residential and Hillside Stewardship. This would mean that one or two houses could be put on the 30 acres of land between the two sites (not affordable housing and a transit center). You could go further with what people expect around their kids safety, the ability for a two lane road to handle this extra traffic, etc.

The point is that a park and ride and affordable housing at the new location near Jeremy Ranch may make a lot of sense and may be overwhelmingly good for our community as a whole. It may even be good for the Jeremy Ranch population (if we turned into a bus commuter neighborhood). However, IT BETTER make much more sense than a spot that negatively impacts no one or many fewer people.

The truth is that we are all NIMBYs. We just don’t notice until an issue directly impacts us. Most importantly, as a community we should want to support our different neighbors’ issues. Today, it may be affordable housing near Jeremy Ranch. Tomorrow it may be a heliport in Sun Peak.

We’re all in this together.

For a slightly different viewpoint, I’ll suggest you watch the great George Carlin video below. It is definitely NSFW (Not Safe For Work).

Comments

3 Comments

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Walt

Well, if you advocate for more affordable housing, and then you say, “oh, but not near my house”, then you’re a NIMBY. That’s different than being opposed to, say, strip clubs near your house because you’re opposed to strip clubs near anyone’s house.

Just being concerned with your town isn’t a NIMBY move. It’s publicly asking for things to happen where other people live, but not where you do. So if you just don’t care about affordable housing, that’s fine. If you just don’t want affordable housing near Jeremy Ranch, on the other hand, then at the very least you gotta explain where it *should* go and why. But I bet the people who live *there* feel differently…

So a subtle difference, but an important one. I’ve been through the NIMBY wars in CO (example: person builds a giant house by bulldozing a bunch of trees and dirt near open space, then advocates against any other parcels nearby being built up similarly).

Actually I sort of prefer the term BANANA (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything).

Avatar
Parkrag

I love that! BANANA… AWESOME.

Avatar
K B

I’ll add another observation gained from 4 years as an 84098 resident – most people’s ideal level of Park City development is the extent it was immediately before moving to town.


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