In a former life, I had to appear before planning/zoning boards to requests
variances for gasoline service stations. Being an employee of a major oil
company, I had two strikes against me when I went through the door. But I have
to tell you, I usually got everything I asked for.
Did a study once to determine the backgrounds of board members. They ranged
from a Coca Cola truck driver, to housewives ( no insult intended ladies), to
car salesmen, real estate brokers, ad infinitum. Not of them had any formal
training on land use, or on the legal issues involved in their decisions. The
city attorney was always present at meetings, however, and kept them on an even
keel. The meetings themselves usually started around 7pm and last until every
item on the agenda was acted upon, even if it meant maintaing the quorum until
one in the morning.
Why did these people volunteer for a job that pays nothing, required them to be
away from their families 1-4 nights a week until after midnight? Never make a
decision that was supported by 100% of the people all the time, and have to sit
there taking verbal abuse from all sides. I would have to say it was a concern
to serve their community, and to do what was right for land owners.
Treat them with respect and courtesy. Have all your facts at hand, and help
them make the right decision by presenting these facts in a polite and
non-belligerent way. "It's my d....ed land and I can do whatever I want with
it!" is the surest way to get thrown out the door. Same for the protestors,
especially the after-the-fact protesters. Where were they at the original
meeting? All such hearings are, by law, posted in the local paper.
As I recall the original post on this subject, the board granted the applicant
everything he asked for. Subsequent meetings with belligerent neighbors did not
result in revocation of this approval. So don't blame the board in this case,
or run around wrapped in the flag and babbling about your "rights". It gets you
nowhere. Kudos to the board for sticking by their guns.