January 06, 2014

CAVE people

Everybody is familiar with the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) crowd. Until recently, I hadn't heard of their kissing cousins, "CAVE people" (Citizens Against Virtually Everything). Explains Wikipedia:

While the NIMBY phenomenon is typically related to development issues, CAVE people, as the name implies, oppose virtually everything. This may manifest itself in opposition to changes in public policy questions as varied as tax levies, sewer rates, public transportation routes, parking regulations and municipal mergers or annexations.

Apparently, CAVE people have showed up to to whine about the proposed expansion of University Mall in Orem, Utah. Val Hale at the Provo Daily Herald issues them a warning:

Just as detractors in Provo made the fatal and costly mistake of driving the mall to Orem in the late '60s, Orem has a small number of naysayers who are fighting this latest attempt to upgrade the mall. I like to refer to these people as CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything).

I can't see any harm in an upgrade as South Orem has been one big splat of commercial (retail/professional) development for the past quarter century. I also don't care because I avoid malls. I prefer big box stores like Walmart to the rat's maze that is a mall.

If they want a righteous cause, the CAVE people should channel their energies into removing the blight in downtown Orem left over from the housing bubble. It's an absurdly out-of-scale, mixed-use condo project that got half-finished before the funding dried up.

Unlike the mall, which is more or less an architectural fit for the neighborhood, "Midtown Village" sticks out like a sore thumb, two ugly lumps three times taller than anything for a mile around. I say, either lop off the top four stories or knock the whole thing down.

James Roh/Daily Herald

Besides, the surface streets couldn't support the traffic. Center Street has only four lanes to I-15. Expanding it to six would require knocking down the north end of Mountain View High School. It makes me wonder why a building permit was ever granted.

But such was the irrationality of the exuberance. University Parkway (1300 South), which goes by the mall, has six lanes, as does 800 North, making them far more logical locations for strip malls, big box stores, office plazas, and high-density housing.

Incidentally, if you follow the first link about the mall, you will see that this is something the Woodburys are doing. The rich, real-estate Woodburys. Alas, not related to me. Well, we're all related, but not closely enough to count.

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# posted by Anonymous Dan
1/07/2014 6:27 AM   
One of the pecularities of Utah that I will always remember is going to the University mall on a early summer Saturday evening in the mid-1980s and finding it closed. I suppose that was back when community leaders believed Saturday was a special day. But then the people discovered the wonder of retail commerce and sales tax revenue. Now it seems Utah County has to be one of the global leaders in retail establishments per capita. Give Mormons credit for never being lukewarm in their efforts!

My recommendation to the CAVEs is to relocate to rural New York where in fact commercial progress has halted.