Has anyone noticed that here in Western Sonoma County, people are constantly objecting to having things near them? Seriously, this place is NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) gone totally BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything)!
The following things come immediately to mind:
- Fire station sirens: Neighbors in Graton keep suing their own Fire Department because the siren is too noisy. Never mind that the loud siren is the only way to effectively summon their volunteer fire fighters in that far-flung, rural community.
- Homeless shelters: Yikes! Let’s not go there.
- Skateboard parks: Our fear of sullen, pimply-faced teen-agers hanging around smoking dope ensures that they’ll continue using abandoned homes and secluded riverbanks for these nefarious purposes. The same goes for youth centers and additional neighborhood “pocket parks.”
- Cigarette smokers: Sorry, but the smoking area is located in Nevada. Pot smoke’s okay, though.
- Electro magnetic fields: Cell phones, cell phone towers, and Smart Meters cause cancer! Pot smoke’s okay, though.
- Wineries and vineyards: Um … but we don’t we live in the wine country? Medical marijuana farms are okay, though.
- Vacation homes: We definitely need to place restrictions on the more egregious activities that go on in some of these places, but we also need to remember that our economy depends on tourism.
- Convenience stores: The new owners of Guerneville Food & Gas (formerly known as Russian River Gas) want to install a delicatessen and sell beer and wine. Many of us folks in Rio Nido and along Old River and Riverside Roads would love to have a full-service gas station and convenience store within walking or biking distance. Unfortunately, the County will not give them a license to sell beer and wine due to objections from just ONE OLD LADY who doesn’t even live here year-round. Despite GF&G’s location on River Road and the proximity of hotels and vacation homes, the area is zoned as “residential” and hence liquor sales can be prevented by a single resident or property owner. The previous owner spoke with this lady personally, promised to install a security camera, prevent people from drinking on-site, and install a fence to screen the noise … but alas, no go.
- Music venues: Despite Rio Nido’s long and fabled history as a music Mecca, some neighbors have caused hassles for the Rio Nido Roadhouse with the County. Most of us folks here in Rio Nido absolutely love the Roadhouse as a music hall, restaurant, summer-pool hangout, and general gathering spot. The RNR also serves as our unofficial community center, hosting numerous meetings and fundraisers benefitting important programs and services. Besides – unlike many of the wild parties held in River vacation homes – the RNR’s music ends at 10:00pm at the latest.
- Multi-unit housing: Despite our chronic housing shortage, lack of year-round customers to support our local businesses, and the desirability of walk-able neighborhoods and better public transportation (which require high-density housing in order to be viable), nobody wants these large structures blocking their sunlight and views. But … where will our children live when they grow up?
- Gravel quarries and asphalt plants: I agree with people on that, but could change my mind if these businesses created enough well-paying jobs to make the visual and environmental impacts more palatable, and if the people driving those ugly, obnoxious slow-moving gravel trucks would (a) paint their trucks to look nicer; and (b) let motorists pass them when passing is safe & legal, instead of deliberately changing lanes to prevent us from passing.
- Tattoo parlors that sell sex toys: I wrote about the neighbors protesting in front of Red Spaghetti last year, but after receiving comments and talking with nearby residents, have concluded that we should "live and let live." In general, they're a positive presence in the Hacienda neighborhood, plus their coffee is AMAZING!.
Can you think of anything else you don’t want near you? If so, please feel free to add your comments below.