Remember Peter, Paul and Mary and the sweet harmony of “If I Had a Hammer?” These lyrics may well be the theme song of many Valley neighborhoods over the next few years. Take note: Once development starts, if they have a hammer, they’ll hammer in the morning, they’ll hammer in the evening, all over this land. Your ground will be shaking, your houses are quaking, so run, be quick, some sanity is needed, all over this land.
The first sign of development is the survey engineers.
A few years ago, I awakened to a beautiful blanket of glistening white snow that brought a sense of tranquility to the early quiet. The trees were similarly adorned. There wasn’t a single footprint to mar its beauty.
As I was enjoying the moment, a man started spraying lines of orange paint. I thought, “What kind of deranged lunatic would be spraying the snow with orange paint? It was an atrocity. That was my first encounter with survey crews and their garish decorator paints. Since then, I’ve learned there isn’t a tree, shrub or groundcover safe from their measured marks, and you’ll be the last to find out what their phantom graffiti is all about.
Once started, crews lay siege to your area. There are no rules of engagement as the community vies for a normal life and an open road. Construction activity literally sends us around the block. All roads lead home, since we have to utilize almost all the roads to get to our home due to road closures.
After a few years, local traffic is no longer deterred by “road closed” signs. Drivers will look for a path and plow through, since the signs are left for weeks while crews are out of the area. Some construction crews have resorted to large concrete pilasters with heavy rope to stop traffic.
Noise now typifies our neighborhood. The big earth rollers have sent at least one refrigerator across the kitchen. Heads are aching amid the so-called “inconveniences.” Neighboring properties are getting a bit “tetchy.” Our neighborhood now understands why the roadrunner was so hated by Wile E. Coyote. It was the annoying “beep, beep.” The incessant beeping raises the question of why are the trucks only backing up? What happened to forward? We’ve started to get tense whenever the microwave beeps.
The homeowners feel invisible as our concerns are ignored. The city and council have turned a deaf ear to our appeals, so we figure they also must have suffered hearing loss from all this construction noise.
Fights over land are nothing new. There were the Hatfields and McCoys, the railroad ousting settlers, sheep herders versus cattlemen, and now it’s the developers against the neighborhoods, investors against residents. Unfortunately, they have all the hammers.