We live in a neighborhood with an active email group. I don't jump into the conversation often but, when I do, it tends to destroy my inbox for the next few days.
In black and white terms, I am a YIMBY when the most vocal writers on the list-serv are NIMBYs. Or, rather, the vocal members just don't want to see anything change in our immediate area.
Usually, I drop a message to counter the trending argument simply to remind people that there are other views. Once I send a message, I tend to receive a flurry of responses - both public and private. Sometimes I'm thanked; more often than not, however, it's a lot of... umm... well... I've not so nicely called it a "hive of villainy." People are really mean when they can't see your face.
This week, after someone posted angrily about a local neighborhood Commissioner (a popularly-elected, volunteer position) not representing their particular views about historic zoning, I jumped in with my counter point. That, yes, some of us did, indeed, support his work to change zoning. The backlash in my inbox was immediate.
Usually, I don't respond to the mean messages. This week, I couldn't let one go. The same person kept responding to me over and over and over again. Finally, I replied if only to end things. I'm including it below because I'm still cranky and feel like parts of the message need to be more public. Namely, that views vary and a neighborhood email list is not where decisions and policy are made.
This country has historically under built housing for the last two (plus!) decades. It’s why home prices and rent have risen so dramatically. The rate of housing creation is far below what is needed for population growth. My daughter may, literally, have nowhere to live because DC, like many other urban areas, is not growing fast enough. Even small towns, like the 2,000 person one I grew up in don’t have enough housing.
A moderated email list is not where decisions are made. Nor are they a representative sample of all voices. I shared my opinion as others have. But that does not mean any one person on the list holds views that are more important than anyone else. Just because some “owns” a home doesn’t mean their voice gets a bigger say. Apartments are homes too. Renters care just as much about their neighborhoods.
I merely want those who own property in this area to have more options for what to do with it. If folks want ADUs. Great! If not, they don’t have to build one.
Existing zoning structure preserves the status quo and all the problems inherent in that.
There’s a great Substack newsletter, The Deleted Scenes, which posts thoughtfully on these issues. The author discusses how, in refusing to build density upwards we move outwards, thus clear cutting all the greenery and nature we wish to preserve.
We can’t stay the same as we’ve always been.
Again, opinions vary and I, myself, am not necessarily right. It's just aggravating to me that some folks think being louder means they should "win."