Okay, I am going to admit something here… getting up on my soapbox…bear with me…
I attend neighborhood meetings for projects we are working on with our clients and there is often some surprise at the reactions they receive from neighbors towards them and their proposed project. It can sometimes be quite shocking how passionate people can become about something new they don’t understand or that scares them somehow.
Residents, neighbors, and business owners need to take this active role in the design process and what happens in their communities. In a perfect world I would love to have them come to learn, ask questions, make suggestions, and take part in the process in a positive and growth oriented way. Looking at the long term, “planting trees they won’t be around to sit under”, making their communities better and more economically sound.
It’s our job in the entitlement process to educate the city officials, neighbors, and others concerned about a proposal so they can appreciate the amount of work that has gone into a project by the time it is realized.
We do quite a bit of work in the supportive housing market. It is a personal passion of mine to make sure that we educate and provide equitable housing for everyone including people with mental health issues. There is so much that isn’t talked about or is misunderstood. We try to bring clarity.
The major point I always try to convey is that these are people in your own neighborhood. It’s the person that lives next door to you that has struggled for years with depression, the person across the street you’ve waved to for years but never really got to know whose life begins to cave in around them with the sudden loss of a loved one. The elderly fellow down the street who jumped in the car to run to the store and ended up in Hibbing because he got lost on the way to the store down the street that he’s gone to for 30 years. There are literally hundreds of different mental health diagnoses and mostly its people who need a little more love, tenderness, and care in their lives than they can find by themselves.
I say let’s give people a chance to create living environments that support our neighbors and friends to find solace and healing in a carefully structured and protected space. And let’s let them be able to find that space in the same neighborhood they’ve lived in and loved all of their life.
And don’t worry that it will affect your property values adversely, it won’t, and it doesn’t, in fact the opposite is true. New development of any kind will raise values around it not depress them.
At Firm Ground we design buildings to be good neighbors, respond to landscaping, buffering, and traffic safety. Building codes, zoning ordinances, licensing regulations, health inspections, and the entire entitlement process ensure that any new building will meet the high standards of the community, fit its environment, and generally be a good neighbor.
Okay, time to put my soapbox away!
No wait, one more thing! We advocate for our clients, we stand at your side, tell your story and work with you to present a project that meets your needs and the those of the greater common good. Call me to talk more about how we help navigate the entitlement process, we are experts.
-Tom Wasmoen, Principal, CEO