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Heroes of the Planning Department
If you have ever tried to build a new structure in Lawrence, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that working the planning department can be challenging. From arcane language to seemingly ridiculous requirements, the process is both frustrating and time consuming.
I can only imagine how frustrating it must be from a planner’s point of view. Having citizens (customers) come to you, each with their own idea of how a project should be done, each one considering their project “special”. This is especially true in middle America where attitudes about private property are rather rigid.
Today we saw what happens when these planners play close attention to detail and enforce the building standards uniformly. Japanese planners and engineers are the heroes of today’s earthquake. Their insistence on quality materials and earthquake resistant building styles made the homes and businesses of northwest Japan capable of surviving the massive 8.9M earthquake that shook the region.
Though thousands of lives were lost, the death toll from this quake would have been much, much worse if it had taken place in a city with lax building codes and enforcement. The men and women who developed these standards, worked with builders and enforced them in their communities are to be commended.
The next time you do a project and run into resistance from the planning department and building inspectors, remember that they are enforcing the rules for your own good. You will thank them if there is a fire in your home, or a natural disaster in your area. They are heroes; working to save lives.