Nimby Assessment

Neighbors Lobbying to Deny Capital and Operating Funds

Background on the Impediment

This is a complex, high profile, and time-sensitive project. Funding for capital, property operating costs, and services will be provided by three different government agencies (two state and one local). Neighbors who are opposed to the project are lobbying state and local officials and politicians to deny funds, and are very sophisticated in the methods they are using.

The impending closure of the board and care facilities has received a lot of media attention, and some of that attention has focused upon the residents. The media did not paint a very flattering picture of the residents; in fact, several of those profiled were especially unsympathetic — with active drug problems, contagious diseases, criminal records, and belligerent behavior.

Neighbors are using every means available to promote the belief that this housing project will substantially alter the character of the neighborhood, and that the potential residents will pose a threat to neighborhood children and the frail residents of a nearby assisted living community for seniors with Alzheimer's disease. The proposed use for the building is consistent with local multi-family zoning, and no municipal approval is required. As a result, neighbors must appeal to the sponsor's funding agencies in order to block the program.

Because of the high quality of their existing programs and their commitment to the target population, ABC, Inc. enjoys considerable support from the executive branch agencies at the state and local levels (e.g., state mental health and housing agencies and the local mental health authority). However, state and local legislators, responding to pressure from their constituents, are now putting pressure on those agencies to abandon the project.

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