Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Reviewing development in Snohomish County.

I asked for and received the entire collection of review requests from Snohomish County since the arrival of the new Planning and Property Management Specialist. There was a sum total of three.

I suppose it is a good thing that development has slowed down a little bit in the County, due to market conditions and a lesser demand for new construction. There was a time when the requests poured in like our region's wet weather. Apparently the volume is down to a trickle.

What I find somewhat bewildering is that the District has shifted back to using a word document and writing in the bus stop locations by hand. Of course, writing things in by hand means no one can search, sort or evaluate data for enrollment projections. The bus stop information is available on the District's main web page. Any developer or the County's planner could just input the development's address and get that information without paying for postage to the District or waiting weeks for a response.

Another concern is the fact that I was told the District would be critically evaluating each and every development. Not just performing a cursory glance at the proposal but visiting each site, pacing distances, developing standards and making recommendations for off-site improvements. None of that is going on now. What prompted this reversal? There was supposed to be a new emphasis on this aspect of the evaluation and yet such information is nowhere to be found on any of the three responses.

I suspect this was just "busy work" fashioned by managers seeking to keep their staff distracted by less important things. After all, what engineering experience does the position require? What sort of traffic count and analysis is to be performed by a Planning and Property Management Specialist? Assuming conclusions were drawn by the District, what credibility would they have once they were reviewed by County staff? They have engineers on staff and confer with them on a regular basis.

The purpose of evaluating these developments is to make certain that the developer made the necessary improvements to his or her development during the time of construction. Without these issues being included, the improvements would have to be put in place years later at the public's expense. Is that sort of evaluation taking place? I was told it was a new and high priority, but surely it must have been a lie.


Anonymous said...

Dummying down of the District or a good reason to vote No on the May Technology/Capital levy. Send a message!

If only a No.2 pencil and a form letter are the requirements for a submittal to the County why then should the taxpayer be encouraged to support District technology/capital issues? Why pay wannabe management staffers exurbanite salaries for lackluster performance? The last time fill-in-the-blank forms were the standard was in the last century; sometime before 1995. So that they are not the last to know, please inform the Districts HR department that computer profincency is not a requirement for specialist new hires.
Vote No on the Levy

Assume that the ESC is seen as the hub of technology in the District and they can't provide training to undernourished new specialist hires. How then can the District expect to train the students to excel in the technology environment if the Districts staff is not held to a higher standard than they, the students?
Vote No the Levy

What happened to the probationary period where new hires are monitored,trained,let go or found another position more in keeping with their skill level. These are not BAD people but rather examples of lack of managements skill in hiring. Who do we blame? The Director for encouraging a friend to apply? The manager who may have extremely low expectations from a new hire? The new hire who provided less than accurate information on their application; or just stupidity for putting ones self in such an embarrassing position in the first place?
Vote No on the Levy

I know the BLOG only deals in facts but let's start a rumor that the District is about to enter into a lucrative contract with the Piano Man to reincarnate carbon paper, NCR forms,No. 2 pencils and slide rules.
Vote No on the Levy

Anonymous said...

I am stunned to think that the district is not making a case for safe sidewalks for their walk routes to schools. But then again, those in charge will not have children walking in those new neighborhoods. What do they care?

ESD15.org said...

To ensure the inclusion of much-needed sidewalks, you should plan on speaking at the developer's hearing at Snohomish County.

Could you imagine how that would go? Mr. Harding would pass around sketches in crayon and then assign all responsibility for a shoddy presentation to anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Seems tax payers have been passing the technology/capital levy without really knowing where the money is going. How many new hires were done with tax payer money and we still don't get the help we need when we need it. the high tech online help line takes days/weeks/months to get the job taken care of.

Anonymous said...

And there was the "new" phone system. I suppose we had to hire a dozen or so new tech people to get the system up and running at less then half of its ability. The system is a joke right now. they have so many glitches that it is impossible to communication with the outside schools. You dial a number and it rings in another part of the building and some just say no such number. What a mess and how depressing for us trying to work without communication. I only hope that we don't have a big emergency in the district because we might as well use smoke signals for help. Tax payers $$'s at work once again.I think the phone system will be great but the timing for implementing it was and should not have been during a 2 week break. No training and very little information on how to use the system. Every day we get an email telling us about tips/short cuts for the phones. Why note just give every user a user guide and we can figure it out. Instead we spend wasteful time trying to get through the unfriendly system. The moral in the district is terrible and this and the skyward system has just added additional stress for everyone.