Pity Emeryville's Planning Director
He's Forced To Carry Water For Pro-Developer Philistines: Fast Food Restaurants Are Now "Memorable"
Like the Christians of ancient Rome, who had to renounce Jesus to the Emperor to stay alive, so too must Emeryville's Planning Director renounce universally accepted planning standards and precepts as his esteemed planning colleagues in the Bay Area look on, all to keep his job at City Hall.
Trying to fit the newly approved Panera Bakery building into compliance with Emeryville's new forward thinking General Plan has been no small feat for the Director, Charlie Bryant; and he's really earned his money, giving the decision makers in town all the cover they need to push the fast food establishment through to completion.
|Emeryville's General Plan gets an award |
from the American Planning Association.
Mr Bryant is second from the left.
The new General Plan received a 'Small Jurisdiction' award in 2010 from the American Planning Association. That august and professional association noted Emeryville's General Plan will transform the town into a "vibrant, livable city". The presenters of the award took into account the fact that 20% of the people of Emeryville participated directly in shaping the plan over a four year period, a remarkably democratic public vetting led in no small part by Mr Bryant himself.
Against this weighty backdrop, Planning Director Bryant has had to make some pretty outrageous claims to grease the skids for Panera, among them:
- Panera 'employs Emeryville residents', but at $8 per hour without benefits, there's nobody working there that can afford to live in Emeryville
- The archetypal fast food style building is of 'high aesthetic quality'...this makes us wonder what kind of development would be considered low aesthetic quality
- Panera is supporting a 'vibrant community' and 'contributing to the well being of the community'...and this makes us wonder how low the bar can be set
- The restaurant and building is a 'memorable' place, even though it's only one of 1500 across the US and Canada
Loyalty is often considered a positive personal trait, especially for employees and we wonder if the Planning Director is acting the faithful employee for the city council and the City Manager. To that we would remind Mr Bryant of his duty to his job to the people of Emeryville and to repaying in kind to us, his level of planning expertise that he is forsaking in the Panera case.
If there is some other reason why our General Plan should be so distorted to serve some foreign cause, we are ignorant but we would like to know. We do know a general plan is not needed to bring fast food restaurants to a town. In fact no planning is needed at all and we point to Anytown USA as proof. Fast food is what you get in the absence of planning.
No, this is a corruption of what the people of Emeryville worked so hard for. All those General Plan meetings the citizens participated in should not net more fast food restaurants for Emeryville.
If Mr Bryant is simply worried about his job security, we are empathetic. We feel for Charlie Bryant; he knows it's a load of bollocks and no doubt he wishes his professional planning colleagues don't catch wind of his covering for Panera. He can feel some consolation that his colleagues don't have to answer to the likes of the Emeryville city council majority, all his hyperbolic claims of fast food memorability and high aesthetic quality notwithstanding.