Letter to the editor, The Washington Post, 12/20/00
Robert J. Morgan of American Tower Corp. accurately points out that the District must be consistent in its land-use and related permitting decisions [op-ed, Dec. 3]. But while the District should facilitate economic enterprise, a developer also must assume some of the burden of winning public support for projects considered undesirable.
Developers who avoid public involvement and surprise neighbors with
the "Decide, Announce and Defend" approach to facility siting
can expect to hear from the community they plan to join
Public acceptance of a facility is needed, and coercion only creates
outrage, which intensifies opposition. NIMBY behavior is not a flaw that
impedes economic development but a sign of a healthy democracy in which
local citizens expect to have a say in decisions that will affect them.
And unless there is a clearly defined social need, elected officials
cannot be expected to ignore the electorate
MARK DAVID RICHARDS
© 2000 The Washington Post Company