Tag Archives: Real estate development

Courage at Twilight: A Questionable Vote

I managed to keep my job today.  A subdivision plat came before the City Council for its approval.  Dissatisfied with the particulars, the Council voted against it.  This plat comprised one piece of a larger development plan already approved by the City, and was simply the first platted phase.  But the Council thought the first phase should contain some of the master plan’s promised amenities instead of consisting only of residential lots.  “Did the Council just deny approval?” I whispered to the Mayor.  The Council had, she confirmed.  Even as the frantic developer raised his hand to object, I gently intervened to express my sympathy for their concerns, but reminded the Council of their prior approval of the development master plan, and of the law in Utah that requires approval of subdivision plats if they comply with City ordinances (which this plat did), and that the Council, actually, was required to approve this plat.  I explained that their rejection of the plat certainly would be challenged by the developer, and that the City would lose the challenge.  I walked the Council through the proper parliamentary procedure to approve a motion to reconsider the prior rejection, then to present a motion to approve the plat.  All of this I said with a sort of frozen apologetic smile.  Actually, I was tensely walking a long legal tightrope: in general, elected officials do not appreciate being told in public that their vote is questionable, or that they are required to vote contrary to their inclinations.  What’s worse, this whole exchange was broadcast to the world on Facebook Live.  To my great and immediate relief, all the Council members thanked me for helping them understand the law and for walking them through the corrective process.  Driving my hour-long commute late that night, listening to the Chernow’s Hamilton, I felt so grateful to be working with reasonable, intelligent, ethical people—and to have kept my job.  Mom and Dad were equally grateful, and relieved, when I recounted to them the event.

(Pictured above: 1844 Town Plat of Nauvoo, Illinois, by Joseph Smith, Jr.  Source: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Used pursuant to the Fair Use doctrine.)

Chapter 47: Big-Wheel Ecosystem

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–Rabbit Lane is a short nothing of a dirt road in Erda, USA.–

The air was crisp but warmer than a typical January day.  The sky hung gray, and pockets of darker clouds dropped round, soft pellets of dry snow.  Shades of orange accented the western mountaintops.  Feathers of unseen House Swallows rustled from inside Wild Rose and Willow bushes.  The scene made for an idyllic late Sunday afternoon walk on Rabbit Lane.  Idyllic and peaceful . . . except for Hannah (3) riding her big-wheel tricycle behind me.  The wide, hollow, pink plastic wheels ground over the disintegrating asphalt, radiating into the peacefulness the racket of an ore crusher.  I couldn’t hear my wife talk or myself think. Continue reading

Chapter 38: Black-Oil Pavement

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–Hold on by letting go.–

Toward the north end of Rabbit Lane, the ditch crosses the road through a 36-inch culvert pipe, where the water flows diagonally across Charley’s pasture in a shallow channel.  Charley was losing too much water through the informal channel and decided to install a new culvert a hundred yards or so further south.  He cut a new crossing in Rabbit Lane with his backhoe, dropped in a new section of black pipe, and backfilled around the pipe, restoring the road.  The water now flowed directly west in a deeper channel following a fence line. Continue reading

Chapter 17: Foreshadowing

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–The Milkweed will push through to grow tall, fragrant, and beautiful, to call the Monarch.–

The disc cushioning my lumbar 4 and 5 vertebrae has been bulging capriciously since I was 12 years old.  It was then that I experienced my first unexpected spine-twisting spasms that paralyzed me sitting in my church pew.  A bulging disc means a frequently aching back, with locked joints and tense muscles.  The pain is always different depending on which way the disc is bulging and, more importantly, which area of the spinal nerves the disc is irritating.  While it becomes difficult and painful to bend, I somehow always manage to dry my feet after a shower, to shimmy on my socks, to tie my shoes, and to drive to work, even if I do have to lie occasionally on the floor during the mayor’s staff meeting. Continue reading