All NIMSY were the borogoves

That’s if the borogoves are members of Austin’s planning commission. Not mentioned in the local daily in connection with the so-called “McMansion” issue but appearing in recommendations of the planning commission from its meeting between the city council’s first and then second and third reading of the interim ordinance is the possible prohibition of mechanical equipment in side yards.

The NIMBY (“Not in my back yard”) phenomenon is well known. What goes on in a side yard can be even more important, especially when there’s a mere five-foot setback from the property line governing where the adjoining structure goes. When people install giant central air-conditioning units at the side and not the back, they often go right up to or over the side property line and onto the adjoining owner’s land to within five feet of his / her walls. These units can be big and noisy and seem to give off quite a bot of heat as well.

Even were this prohibition to be enacted, it would no doubt govern only placement of new equipment. In the summertime, we live without air-conditioning and with open windows. We can no longer use the sleeping porch that was placed long ago to catch prevailing breezes. All it catches now is noise. Venting gas clothesdryers into side yards is not a kindness to the neighbors, either. The exhaust gases are smelly and also hot. These matters concern only people who spend time in their yards, open their windows, or are not yet suffering a decline in the acuteness of their hearing. Any single one of these demographics seems to be a smaller and smaller proportion of the Austin population.

The appointed task force will meet from one to three o’clock tomorrow afternoon at city hall. It seems likely that the city council will take up matters concerned with development regulations again on March 2. Both of these meetings are public. There’s still an opportunity to sign up to receive notices and information regarding these issues affecting all tenants and property-owners.

3 Comments so far

  1. M1EK (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2006 @ 12:34 pm

    Oh, come on. I open my windows, and me and all of my neighbors have air conditioners and dryer vents on the side of the house – it’s just not feasible to put them anywhere else in most cases.

  2. Rajtor (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2006 @ 1:07 pm

    They’re in front yards and back yards and on rooftops all over town, and that’s where they belong. Noise-generating equipment and exhaust-generating ventilation outlets do not belong on the property line or five feet from it.

  3. M1EK (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2006 @ 5:12 pm

    “rooftops” – sure, for big buildings. Front and back yards? I have yet to see one on a house. And I ain’t exactly in Round Rock, either. (My house and my neighbor’s house were built in the 1920s, and both have central air units on the side).

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