Thursday, March 15, 2007

Proposed Land Use Signs: Redmond, WA

Another day has come and gone at the MVP Summit. As usual, we were treated to some demos of future products, and had great discussion with Microsoft staff, in both a working/meeting environment and a more social environment during dinner. Due to various non-disclosure agreements, I cannot blog about those items now, but only to say that there is some interesting stuff coming down the pipe in the next few months. As more information becomes publicly available, I will blog about it.

Of course, being an urban planner, there were various signs within Microsoft's campus that caught my eye. Microsoft is rapidly expanding their Redmond campus to accommodate their expansion targets. As a result of these expansions, there are many 'Proposed Land Use Signs' all around campus. These signs had a unique item that I had not seen in any Greater Toronto Area municipality before.

While the signs listed all the pertinent information about proposed land use, the nature of the application, the applicant, the assigned planner and contact information, these signs also included a box where one could pick up a handy summary sheet of all the information. This handout sheet further elaborated on the nature of the proposed land use, current and proposed planning designations, required permits, environmental documentation requirements and a site plan.

While I think the whole sign itself could have been posted in a more secure fashion, I found the use of the handout sheet to be something that could really be useful to those that are interested (i.e. geek planners like me). Perhaps weather might play a role in why we currently can't incorporate something like this onto land use change notification boards in the Greater Toronto Area, or perhaps there are other considerations that I am not aware of (any comments?).

When I return home, I'll pdf the handout so that others can see what they do here in Redmond, Washington.

Here is a PDF version of the Notice of Application that is available for the public to take from the above sign.

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Unknown said...

I would think that in a place like Toronto it is simply so big a municipality that it would be difficult to corral X number of sign producers who would carry a supply of "take one" summary signs.

In Barrie, the City has one "approved" Notice Sign provider - they'll even take it out there and pick it up later, God I love them. But in a land of 170,000 people, it's a lot easier to have just one provider.

The larger the municipality, the more difficult it is to ensure 100% compliance is obtained. Redmond is far wetter than a Barrie or Toronto, so I'd factor out weather.

So that's what I think. Inconsistent approaches can be used against a municipality at the OMB (owner X had a notice sign but Y didn't, and then there is the enforcement of that...), which is why you can never ever send out direct mail notices about a project beyond what is specified in the Planning Act and OP.

Unknown said...

That said, I think it's an excellent idea to implement, but there is a cost effective manner to do it and it would have to involve some level of municipal oversight.

Anonymous said...

I once posted a notice on the wrong house (neighours) and subsequently corrected the situation when he dropped in the inquire about the renovation he was apparently underataking. In true NIMBY fashion this lovely feller later appealed my development. He was an engineer.

There are two things to be learned here. Engineers are never to be trusted and notices are not your friend.

Anonymous said...

It's "down the pike" as in 'turnpike'... Using "down the pipe" is a key example of the sorts of linguistic drift that are being mistakenly used and subsequently enculturated into the younger generation, which is directly contributing to the degeneration of the English language.

Good day.