Best of the Worst for 2006

Keeping track of the weird things that occur in the planning and government world -- from Barry Manilow to brothels -- isn't really necessary. But someone should do it anyways.

December 28, 2006, 7:00 AM PST

By Rick Bishop, AICP

Photo: Rick BishopAnd we'll throw in a future draft pick in exchange for two overpasses.

In December, the mayor of the western town of Lupeni in Romania offered the top player of his football team to another franchise in exchange for a gas pipeline.

The next good thing for people: phony repossession and eviction notices.

A suburban village in New York sent out fake water bills of more than $1,000 "just to get their attention" to people where workers could not access meters for readings for two or more years. "This is good for people," said Village Manager Richard Herbek "because the way you know you have a water leak is if the water bill goes way up."

The General Plan update will have to wait.

The Havering town council in Romford, England, prepared a 300-page report in October, which was the result of a 12-month investigation, to find out who had heckled a speaker at a zoning meeting by making "baaa" noises. The authors said they had narrowed the list of suspects.

Next year, the warehouse swimsuit edition.

Kevin Beresford has traveled across the United Kingdom to take photographs of parking garages and lots for a calendar he wants to publish. Hundreds of pictures taken will be narrowed to 12 to be included in the calendar. In 2003, Beresford sold 60,000 calendars featuring roundabouts.

Will partial payments be considered?

The municipal city of the Indian city of Bihar has hired a force of Eunuchs to collect overdue taxes from shop owners. Eunuchs are generally males with partial genitals, and are believed to be stubborn and don't take no for an answer. Eunuchs often make a living on tips for dancing at weddings and blessing newborn babies. They will collect the municipal taxes while dancing and singing to the beat of a drum.

On the flip side, demand from seniors for late-night lawn bowling at the park quadruples.

In July, a local council in Rockdale, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, started a six-month trial of playing at high-volumes hits by Barry Manilow and Doris Day to chase away car enthusiasts who were gathering on weekend nights at a local park. The council's deputy mayor reported that, four weeks after the effort, "Barry's our secret weapon. It seems to be working."

Don't you be my neighbor?

The City Council of Greenleaf, Idaho, passed an ordinance in November to require nearly all residents to keep a gun at home in case the town becomes overrun by people relocating after Gulf Coast storms.

Wouldn't just building a dog park be easier?

A civic group in Vienna, Austria, gathered 157,000 signatures on petitions in May and presented them to city officials to encourage a government program toward cleaner streets. Under the proposal, the government would assign the populace the task of counting and mapping dog droppings as a first step to greater penalties for owners who fail to clean up after their mutts.

Technically, they are conforming uses in that profits for both businesses are based on how many people are lying down.

In June a town in Australia has passed a law prohibiting brothels from being closer than 660 feet from cemeteries. Paul Pisasale, the mayor of the town, said "There's a lot of families and services that are going on and the last thing you want is someone conducting a spiritual service and a cemetery reflection time for family and a brothel going on next store. "

Take a right on Hell Avenue, turn left at Satan Street and you'll be there.

In May, members of the Campbell County Commission in Wyoming were considering granting the name "Sinnerville" to a 42-acre subdivision. The subdivision would be named after its planner, Jason Sinner. In November, the public works director indicated that commissioners were not in favor of the name, but recognized that the county does not regulate the naming of subdivisions unless there is a conflict with similar names.

Rick Bishop, AICP, is the Executive Director of the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG). The opinions expressed in this article are solely the author's.

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