WARNING: This post is both a rant and a restaurant review. If you'd not like to read about development today, please scroll down.
pictured: a bumper sticker from a Charlottesville-area NIMBY group.
Last night, while Just Up The Pike was eating dinner at Miller's, the bar where one Dave Matthews once served drinks, the NIMBYs and Evil Developers threw down in Rockville to hash out Marilyn Praisner's building moratorium that would delay the construction of 5,000 new homes in the County until August.
Despite the protests of chairman Royce Hanson - the architect of the Agricultural Reserve who was appointed to fix the planning commission - you still have Jim Humphrey from the Montgomery County Civic Federation spouting B.S. like "let's not worry about a lapse in economic vitality" as if every empty building and parcel in the County will suddenly start growing crops. Meanwhile, Marilyn Praisner leading the charge for "slow-growth," saying she's finally listening to The People.
I have to praise Valerie Ervin, however, for taking a cautioned stand against the moratorium. "If this is such a great idea, why is it necessary to have so many exemptions?" she asked, a complete reversal from last summer's statements in favor of it.
But surprisingly, the tide has turned against growth in Charlottesville as well. The Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population, perhaps the most subtle name for a NIMBY group ever, has "growth is NOT inevitable" as one of their core beliefs, sounding more than a little reminiscent of our friends the Neighbors. And the local alternative weekly, weary from the Dave Matthews Band-induced popularity of the town, is complaining that gentrification in the city and development on the fringe is causing Charlottesville to "jump the shark," losing the "Southern hippie charm" that made it so attractive in the first place.
MoCo and Charlottesville, as the nation's Most Progressive Municipality and Best Place to Live, respectively, both face a major conflict. It's clear that we have to come to terms with development, but not the terms of the shouting NIMBY minority. A few of The People may have spoken, but they're way out of line. I apologize for sounding like a broken record, but if we put growth on hold for the next eight months just to appease them, we'll come to regret it.
As for Miller's: It's a dive-ish bar in the middle of Downtown, a narrow, dark-panelled space straight out of a movie. While cheap, the food was excellent, but the loud music over the P.A. (Staind, Staind and more Staind) really hurt the ambience. I wouldn't have minded seeing old Dave on the little stage by the door, but I was about fifteen years too late.
YOU'VE GOT A SENSE OF IRONY: Buy the "Dammit, growth is NOT inevitable!" bumper sticker from the Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population at CafePress.com.