Don’t blame the planners | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
December 19, 2010 · 8:10 AM
To the editor:
When the Record first reported that the city of Langley has more planners than most similar-sized communities, another dangling statistic, the paper neglected to ask “why?” rather than imply those planners are extravagant expenditures.
As an architect/urban planner with
40 years working with small cities and towns in the region, I offer the following: Most communities need and desire planning capability; due to budget priorities and politics, most expend significant money to hire consultants for needed services instead of maintaining quality staffs; and politics is ever-present.
Firing the planners is a smoke screen for city council indecisiveness. I truly hope this is not a blow-back from the Langley Passage council fiasco.
Politics: Some on the left want to fire planners (public comment at council meeting) because they may not be no-growth enough (called doing their jobs), and some on the right want to fire them because they get in the way of “economic development freedoms.” A no-win situation as 100-percent consensus is not possible in community planning.
Langley is blessed with two hard-working, intelligent and dedicated planners who other communities would covet. Langley has two planners because someone in the past had foresight, not excuses or retribution in mind. They need community support, not council pandering to a few disgruntled citizens.
The council ignored two years of valuable work on new design-based subdivision regulations by the Planning Advisory Board and other citizens that would have made new Langley Passages unlikely, opting instead for an unnecessary and abstract “social cell” agenda.
We need to protect Langley’s physical environment (through design) and let the citizens determine their own social community relationships that are ecological. The council, not the planners or the PAB, undermined positive change.
This is akin to cutting the school budget by firing the teachers. Don’t blame the planners, and don’t lose their valuable services.