“a certain standard poodle whose name should be withheld.”
August 28, 2019 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Almost a year ago, residents of Chevy Chase, MD spent $137,000 to turn an unused muddy piece of property into a dog-run. Today, what should have been a nice place for mutts to go and sniff butts has become a flashpoint for neighborly tensions among some of the most powerful people in the world. From the Washington Post's Jessica Contrera.
posted by Navelgazer (79 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Get off Stop shitting on my lawn.
posted by Fizz at 9:16 AM on August 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Some good comments.
posted by Melismata at 9:18 AM on August 28, 2019


Nextdoor has invaded the Washington Post.
posted by GuyZero at 9:21 AM on August 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


“But there are people,” chimed in Bourke’s wife, Dale, “and I don’t mean to characterize the District, but I just notice that they have District plates on their cars, and they have very little regard for us or our property . . . there are dogs barking and they’re just not doing anything.”

oh WOW
posted by everybody had matching towels at 9:29 AM on August 28, 2019 [41 favorites]


Everything about this is so insanely Chevy Chase (town, not person).
posted by codacorolla at 9:40 AM on August 28, 2019 [18 favorites]


Man, to live a life of such ease that hearing dogs bark while you paint in your beautiful house during your comfortable retirement is a problem.

Meanwhile there is a giant construction project (probably a strip mall) directly across from my apartment that starts up at 6am every damn day. I'm so used to it I usually sleep through it by now.
posted by emjaybee at 9:41 AM on August 28, 2019 [31 favorites]


*makes a CD of dogs barking for car stereo - windows down, volume UP*
posted by pyramid termite at 9:43 AM on August 28, 2019 [21 favorites]


Oh man. As someone super sensitive to noise, I have definitely been driven from apartments and rental houses when neighbors let their dogs bark endlessly, inside or outside. I really sympathize with how grating that noise is — and I am a dog person! I foster/volunteer with dogs and love my own dogs so much, but I would never want to live that close to a dog park.

But the painter lady really comes across like Cruella de Vil, and the assumption quoted in the article that it's low class dogs that are the problem? Fuck 'em. Let the dogs bark at the park.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 9:46 AM on August 28, 2019 [35 favorites]


Everything about this is so insanely Chevy Chase (town, not person).

Chevy Chase the person is an asshole too.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:47 AM on August 28, 2019 [46 favorites]


It’s classic Chevy Chase Village to be suspicious that people are driving from all over DC to come to their minuscule dog park (and even worse, “stealing” street parking from landscapers, how dare they!!). The Doug Gansler quote had me laughing hardest.
posted by sallybrown at 9:56 AM on August 28, 2019 [39 favorites]


This whole dog park thing sure could use some good-old fashioned Manhattan pre-school management. I wonder if anyone's recently become available.
posted by jquinby at 9:59 AM on August 28, 2019 [26 favorites]


This happened a few years ago in NYC as well, when the dog run next to the Natural History Museum opened, across the street from some seriously pricey buildings. They ended up moving the run closer to the museum building. No idea if they still complain (we moved), but it was a pretty expensive solution. And the dogs there still bark. Dogs gotta dog.

They mentioned moving the opening time to 8 am rather than 7. My (occasionally barky) dog and I are regulars at the 6am squad at our dog run in Riverside Park. So glad that it's far enough from anyone's homes that we haven't gotten hit with any noise complaints. It's the only chance I have to go if we want to stay long enough to count on her getting a good run in.
posted by Mchelly at 10:01 AM on August 28, 2019


Yeah, the tone is a bit sniffy and they can fuck off with the class stuff, but I really do sympathize with wanting quiet enjoyment of one's home. I live for days when I can be home alone, have the patio door open on a nice day and enjoy some beautiful quiet. It is heart-breakingly rare that this actually plays out the way I hoped.

The dog parks I am familiar with around here are mostly on the outskirts of towns, well away from residential areas. That makes a good deal of sense. Trying to restrict a public park to the well-to-dos is admittedly a dick move, but since this is clearly not the ideal space for that kind of park they should rezone it and look into putting up a dog park elsewhere.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:03 AM on August 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


“Why is the 1 percent deciding for the 99 percent?”

That's a choice quote here.
posted by adamrice at 10:11 AM on August 28, 2019 [31 favorites]


Trying to restrict a public park to the well-to-dos is admittedly a dick move, but since this is clearly not the ideal space for that kind of park they should rezone it and look into putting up a dog park elsewhere.

One of the issues here is that Chevy Chase Village is right over the DC line and one of its main attractions (for the sliver of people who can afford it) is it combines the walkability/convenience of a city with the lawn space / home size of a suburb. So there’s constant tension between city noise and city people (the dastardly cars with DC plates) and the Village livers. This has been exacerbated in the last few years because of a long-running dispute about a new line of the Metro they’re going to put in nearby (right next to one of country club golf courses, sob!), which is ratcheting up the “city” part of the equation. This particular story is funny because some of the complainers seem to think all the bad influences are coming from “outsiders” aka the city people (that’s my read on why they hired someone to monitor comings and goings at the dog park and count how many people drove there)...but it’s really just another dispute between Villagers.
posted by sallybrown at 10:13 AM on August 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


In her defense, which I would prefer not to do, she was living there before they created a dog park directly behind her house (and every one else's). That sniffy "DC license plate" shit, however, is not even dogwhistling, just plain as day.

The neighbors behind me have 3 dogs who bark constantly. One is (judging by the bark, since I can't see) a toy poodle who yaps and crows. A baying hound has arrived in the area - I can't tell if it's them or their neighbors next door. *That* guy has a pool, and likes to hang out poolside and listen to the radio loud enough for me to hear it in my driveway, a good 100 feet away. It's just life. You want to open your door and hear the birdies? Man, me too, but I'm not going to call the cops if people are just going about their business.
posted by corvikate at 10:21 AM on August 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


sallybrown: Not just that! They hired someone with a masters degree in epidemiology to do weeks of studying the comings and goings of people from the district to this dog-park and the behavior of those filthy, common dogs, and valued that work at $1,300 because these motherfuckers have no idea what money or anything else is actually worth.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:22 AM on August 28, 2019 [22 favorites]


Yeah, the tone is a bit sniffy and they can fuck off with the class stuff, but I really do sympathize with wanting quiet enjoyment of one's home. I live for days when I can be home alone, have the patio door open on a nice day and enjoy some beautiful quiet. It is heart-breakingly rare that this actually plays out the way I hoped.
posted by Serene Empress Dork

Without getting all "we live in a society," if you live somewhere that's not rural and on your own acreage, you're going to hear people and life, and babies crying and dogs barking is part of that. Babies crying makes me want to rip off my own ears, but it's unavoidable.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:24 AM on August 28, 2019 [17 favorites]


Notice: there is no digital, static-y hum coming from the Dog Park, Mayor Pamela Winchell announced today. The mayor stressed repeatedly in her 90 second impromptu press conference that there is no unbearable, soul-tearing sound that rips at the sinews of your very being coming from the Dog Park. Mayor Winchell continued with a plea for all Night Vale residents to understand that there could not possibly be a deeply coded message emanating from a small, fenced-in patch of municipal grass and dirt. Citizens are not even supposed to be consciously aware of the Dog Park, so they could not possibly be receiving a menacing and unearthly voice instructing listeners to bring precious metals and toddlers to the Dog Park. “Dog Park,” she repeated. “That could never, ever be real,” the mayor shouted, pounding the podium with her bleeding fists.
posted by doctornemo at 10:25 AM on August 28, 2019 [49 favorites]


Without getting all "we live in a society," if you live somewhere that's not rural and on your own acreage, you're going to hear people and life, and babies crying and dogs barking is part of that. Babies crying makes me want to rip off my own ears, but it's unavoidable.

Agreed, but if adding the dog park to the neighborhood has made it worse, and subtracting it could make it better, then it isn't really unavoidable in this case.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:27 AM on August 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


“They should be put in jail,” said Doug Gansler, a former Maryland attorney general and an unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate, while his King Charles spaniel, Jack, searched for a new dog to hump.

I intensely dislike Gansler and I can't find it in me to laugh at this at all. I'll concede that he did some good for Maryland as its Attorney General, including his early support of marriage equality, but he was appropriately censured by the Maryland Court of Appeals for his prejudicial comments about defendants during his time as State's Attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland. The zeal so many prosecutors seem to have for disparaging defendants is an odious feature of the American justice system. Gansler is another in the long line of well-connected political opportunists who have used stints in presuctorial roles to advance their own careers. With his background, this is hardly the innocuous comment it could be if it were uttered by someone else.
posted by cheapskatebay at 10:28 AM on August 28, 2019 [11 favorites]


This reminds me of the still-ongoing NextDoor thread on my neighborhood's page, about the excessive noise from a parade and street festival. Held a week and a half ago. On a Saturday. At 11 AM.

All the WaPo story needs is an accusation of the neighborhood being gentrified in the wrong way by a Mr. xX_bong_RIPZ_69_Xx, and we'll have reached Peak White People.
posted by Mayor West at 10:29 AM on August 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


I used to go to dog parks pretty often, and there wasn't that much barking, so I wonder what's really going on. I love that the reporter put in the bit about the people who can't bear someone parking in front of their hugeass house, because that's where they like the lawn care people to park. My worries about a dog park next to my house would be: smell, noise, not getting anything done because of watching puppers play. Dog parks are great entertainment.

Has anybody thought to use a decibel meter? Sound can be problematic, but it's measurable, and most towns have an ordinance. Measuring a problem helps move it from subjective to objective, and removes some of the opinion. Landscaping - shrubs and evergreens - between the park and homes would likely help.
posted by theora55 at 10:32 AM on August 28, 2019 [15 favorites]


I live across the street from a dog park in Washington, DC. There's a sign that says NO EXCESSIVE BARKING, and I have no idea how that would be enforced. I don't have a dog, and I love dogs, and I like the dog park. Chevy Chase seems like Peak Snoburbia to me.
posted by wicked_sassy at 10:35 AM on August 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


My neighbors whose houses face the park near us are constantly complaining about people using the park as ... a park.
posted by octothorpe at 10:53 AM on August 28, 2019 [12 favorites]


Agreed, but if adding the dog park to the neighborhood has made it worse, and subtracting it could make it better, then it isn't really unavoidable in this case.

Sure, but you then have to ask worse for who, and better for who.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:55 AM on August 28, 2019 [11 favorites]


“But there are people,” chimed in Bourke’s wife, Dale, “and I don’t mean to characterize the District, but I just notice that they have District plates on their cars, and they have very little regard for us or our property . . . there are dogs barking and they’re just not doing anything.”

Jesus Christ, this adds a whole new layer to the idea of racist dog whistles.
posted by ActionPopulated at 11:03 AM on August 28, 2019 [16 favorites]


Chevy Chase residents.... The arch nemesis of MoCo YIMBYs!
posted by YIMBYMoCo at 11:05 AM on August 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Having resided in a Manhattan apartment building for some 30 years, a certain amount of noise from the street and my neighbors is just part of the background sound of the City to me. That said, I do acknowledge that that these sounds can seem a lot more intrusive to those who are not habituated to them. I have been visited by friends from more suburban areas who it seemed were continually making remarks along the lines of, "Wow, you can really hear those people down on the street, can't you?" to sounds that I wouldn't even have noticed had they not been called to my attention. I also acknowledge that some sounds, and I would probably put dog barking in this category, are inherently more intrusive than others. For example, I can sleep through one of those car alarms that cycles through four patterns but a car alarm that repeatedly honks the horn is almost impossible for me to tune out. If someone had put in a "car fun park" across the street from my apartment and this gave rise to a lot of horn honking, yeah, I would really not like it. So, sure, these are entitled 1%ers. But that doesn't mean the people whose homes are within earshot of the park are bad people because they won't want to listen to dogs barking all day long.
posted by slkinsey at 11:11 AM on August 28, 2019


Well you just threaten to put away the chuckit if your pooch won't stop barking
posted by gottabefunky at 11:12 AM on August 28, 2019


This story could have been written about our neighborhood, only with significantly smaller property values. There were threats of lawsuits, for a variety of reasons, fights at community development meetings, neighbors sitting outside with clipboards taking notes of who came and went, security camera footage, anonymous letters, splinter FB groups after group banning from NextDoor, it was (and to a certain extent IS) insanity.

Our general opinion is that when you buy a house across from a city park, you have to expect some noise. It's a luxury to have no neighbors across the street from us. That's counter balanced by the sounds of the softball teams, or the barking dogs. Frankly, I'm happier listening to a few of the dogs barking, than I am listening to the adult softball teams talking about who's cheating on whom, and who has the best remedy for jock itch. (Which is why we do not sleep with the windows open often.)
posted by librarianamy at 11:28 AM on August 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


Everything about this story makes me feel guillotiney.
posted by JohnFromGR at 11:33 AM on August 28, 2019 [14 favorites]


Everything about this story makes me feel guillotiney.

I know I'm not the only DC resident that views the Venn diagram of "Upper Caucasia" (I include CC, MD in that) residents, affluent dog owners, and the place where those populations intersect with something veering from bare tolerance to spittle-flecked contempt.

“a certain standard poodle whose name should be withheld."

You know you're squarely in the Ofay Corral when an article makes a point of identifying dogs by their breed.

It's almost enough to make you nostalgic for the bad old days when your "dog park" was generally a vacant lot with a pitbull shitting in it. At least the kind of folks quoted here would then only rarely venture east of the park, and you could still get a cheap beer with the genuine weirdos that frequented the old Chevy Chase Lounge when you ventured onto their territory.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:00 PM on August 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


Agreed, but if adding the dog park to the neighborhood has made it worse, and subtracting it could make it better, then it isn't really unavoidable in this case.

That's not a safe assumption at all. A few people might think that the neighborhood would be improved by removing the dog park, but probably not the people who use the dog park.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:09 PM on August 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


“a certain standard poodle whose name should be withheld."
I don't get why the dogs name was withheld. Surely it was old enough in dog years to no longer be a dog minor.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:16 PM on August 28, 2019 [12 favorites]


Why on earth would you build a dog park bordering on people's homes? I've never heard of such a crazy thing.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:32 PM on August 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


The people in the neighbourhood, at least those who could be bothered to vote, approved the park unanimously. Cynically probably because they thought it would increase property values.

Is District Plates code for POC? Or just "poor" people?

Like theora55 I take my dog to a dog park twice a week and I'm trying to recall much barking at all in vain. I'm sure their is occasional barking but nothing even close to excessive.

My neighbors whose houses face the park near us are constantly complaining about people using the park as ... a park.

Remember the explosion of "OMG new park users" when Pokemon Go came out? No sympathy. If public funds were being distributed equitably this wouldn't be a "problem".
posted by Mitheral at 12:36 PM on August 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


"To stop outsiders from driving to Chevy Chase Village and parking on the Bourkes’ street — taking the spots where the family liked their lawn maintenance service to park — the dog park was wiped from the village website" is the point where I fell off my chair. Between that and "Why is the 1 percent deciding for the 99 percent?" and the exclusive interview with the reporter's dog, this is an incredible piece of writing.

Imagine what could be done with the wealth and resources in this community if they were dedicated to, say, public service of some kind.
posted by zachlipton at 12:45 PM on August 28, 2019 [18 favorites]


There is no better argument for inheritance taxes and high marginal tax rates than what rich people do with their free time.
posted by mhoye at 12:54 PM on August 28, 2019 [19 favorites]


The clever folk in my neck of the woods just put someone on point to verify all dogs were properly licensed and vaccinated before being allowed to use the park. Brilliant in that if there is a licensing law with less compliance than bicycle licensing, it is pet licensing.
posted by Johnny Waterbed at 1:06 PM on August 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


Sometimes I think the rich are TRYING to be eaten.
posted by nestor_makhno at 1:12 PM on August 28, 2019 [12 favorites]


Why on earth would you build a dog park bordering on people's homes? I've never heard of such a crazy thing.

All of the dog parks that I can think of in my town are in neighborhoods and are either next door to or directly across the street from homes.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:14 PM on August 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


My family and I were laughing about this earlier today. Chevy Chase Village is THE WORST. I worked in the area for years, and as customers they were THE WORST. I mean, based on this article, it can't be hard to imagine how they treat retail employees, right? This is such a satisfying read after years of putting up with these people. They must be so embarrassed.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:28 PM on August 28, 2019 [18 favorites]


You want to open your door and hear the birdies?

I am actually contemplating becoming a licensed master falconer in order to shut those damn things up for good.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:30 PM on August 28, 2019 [18 favorites]


Why on earth would you build a dog park bordering on people's homes? I've never heard of such a crazy thing.

This is such a mystifying statement/question. I guess you live in a fairly outlying suburban/exurban area? Chevy Chase is an inner-ring suburb - despite its suburban culture, it's pretty dense and there probably is not a lot of space that isn't near homes. Most of the dog parks I frequent have homes near them because ... that's just normal in urban areas.

Also, the other reason to have a dog park near homes is ... well, that's where the people and the dogs are. It's nice to have amenities like parks within walking distance of your house.
posted by lunasol at 1:50 PM on August 28, 2019 [19 favorites]


It's nice to have amenities like parks within walking distance of your house.

Agreed. I mean, I assume in a rich neighborhood like this it isn't so much of an issue, but as a person who doesn't own a car I really do need a dog park that's within walking distance. I lived in an area without one for awhile and it was a real pain to get my dog enough exercise on the regular.
posted by thebots at 1:58 PM on August 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


Yes, here in "suburban" Seattle, in the summer, with the windows open, I am constantly awakened and kept awake by certain Corvids that travel to my neighborhood, they clearly don't live here...
posted by Windopaene at 2:47 PM on August 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


Why on earth would you build a dog park bordering on people's homes? I've never heard of such a crazy thing.

In an actual city, everything borders on someone's home.
posted by GuyZero at 2:48 PM on August 28, 2019 [19 favorites]


if you live somewhere that's not rural and on your own acreage...

... then you should do your best to minimize the disturbances you cause for your neighbors.
This extends to the animals you choose to own.
posted by madajb at 3:14 PM on August 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


then you should do your best to minimize the disturbances you cause for your neighbors.
This extends to the animals you choose to own.


There’s a difference between dogs barking annoyingly, and the sound of someone’s dog intruding on the fantasy these people have of being landed gentry on their own estates.
posted by corb at 3:18 PM on August 28, 2019 [31 favorites]


Fucking Chubbs.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:22 PM on August 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


I think there is a more general lesson playing out here, which is the community at large versus the NIMBYs. Whenever the community decides to do anything for public benefit, there's always going to be someone whose lot isn't improved by it. Literally always.

The mere existence of opposition, even entrenched opposition or monied opposition, doesn't mean the public improvement is illegitimate. We have systems of government that require majority, plurality, or sometimes supermajority, but very rarely unanimity, for exactly this reason. You can't have civilization depend on a the approval of a handful of rich assholes who hate change and are obsessed with property values. (Well, I mean, you shouldn't; picking out examples of communities that do operate that way is an exercise for the reader.)

My feeling is that NIMBYs can either go to court to show actual material damages—it's not like there's a shortage of precedent around takings to keep the lawyers busy—or they can go pound sand. In almost every case that I've seen, including ones where people claimed vast damage to property values and ability to enjoy their property, they are suspiciously unable to actually show these supposed damages to any reasonable standard. In short: it's bullshit, and they're full of it.

If people don't like living next to a dog park, a dog park that was approved according to the system of representative government that is duly empowered to do things like create dog parks (and which even took a specific vote, apparently, on the dog park issue), then they should move. I suspect strongly that they won't find that their property values have declined much at all. Who knows, they may have increased! Lots of people love dog parks, which is probably why one was built. Same if they don't like bus stops, light rail, mixed-use development, bicycle lanes, ADA-compliant curb cuts, or any of the thousand other trappings of civilization I've heard people moan about when they were installed.

Compare the dog park issue to a similar, if somewhat larger-scale example of NIMBYism defeated, in Phoenix earlier today, where voters turned down "Proposition 105", an attempt to de-fund a light rail line that some business-owners along the route didn't like (and then got the usual troupe of conservative ghouls to fund attack ads on). It was the same sort of arguments the anti-dog-park people are making: thinly veiled racial and classist anxiety, general hatred of change, all wrapped in supposedly-rational arguments about their businesses' futures.

These sort of people are literally the enemies of civilization. If we listened to them, we'd never be able to do anything. Sometimes you just have to decide what's best for the bulk of the people in a community, and tell the people who don't like it sorry-not-sorry. Our ability to make any sort of progress is defined, in one dimension at least, by our ability to overcome the opposition of entrenched minorities in the face of public good.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:47 PM on August 28, 2019 [28 favorites]


There was a park converted to mostly a dog park a few years back, in a local neighborhood of an acquaintance. Completely surrounded by residences, mostly single family homes, some adjoining properties, some across the street. Lots of trees, kids and dogs playing. Didn't sound any noisier than any park. Seemed nice. As dusk came, the heat and humidity, followed with a very gentle breeze, made me change my mind. Noise was no big deal. But the dog piss smell just drove me nuts. It was pretty vile. You can pick up the dogshit. But the piss was in the ground/dirt/wood chips. Apparently, it caused some bad feelings among the closest residents. I don't know how or if it ever got resolved. But that really made me a believer. Not that there's any chance of a dog park popping up next door. But if there was, I'd fight it pretty hard.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:15 PM on August 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


if you live somewhere that's not rural and on your own acreage...

Trust me, you move to somewhere rural and your neighbors will just get more dogs and make louder noises. I have lived next to people who kept packs of hunting hounds, regularly shot off guns and fireworks, rode dirt bikes 24 hours a day on the weekend, kept ostriches that constantly escaped, blew things up at parties and have threw small music festivals. My friends neighbor bought a helicopter that he lands in the driveway between their houses. One of my friends neighbors bought a camel causing an amazing cattle stampede that took us three days to round back up.

There is never enough acreage to get away from your neighbors.

Having said that some of those poodles have ear piercing barks. I am 100% dog person and I can still see that being an issue.
posted by fshgrl at 10:47 PM on August 28, 2019 [15 favorites]


Our dog park is adjacent to our city park, which is bordered by businesses and municipal institutions. But, nobody ever accused us of not being weirdos.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:59 PM on August 28, 2019


Yeah yeah, rich people, NIMBY and all that. I'd be ready to mock these people, but somebody installed a great dane or husky in one of the apartment compkex's small two-bedroom apartment, and the thing has been HOWLING. Loud enough to echo off the walls. FOR A WEEK. And I'm ready to just burn everything down, everything down to the ground, and start over again from scratch. With a better, quieter, more cat-oriented world.
posted by happyroach at 11:28 PM on August 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


I had a look around the area on Google Maps, and there was something *off*, at least to my European eyes. A couple of minutes after closing the tab it dawned on me: no sidewalks! WTF?
posted by Harald74 at 11:31 PM on August 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


I suppose I would get tired of it sooner than I think but I would like to at least try living next to ostriches that constantly escape, blow things up at parties, and throw small music festivals.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:22 AM on August 29, 2019 [8 favorites]


A dog barking constantly in a neighboring apartment means that your neighbor is an irresponsible dog owner and an inconsiderate jerk. Dogs barking in a dog park is just dogs being dogs.
posted by rdr at 1:06 AM on August 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


I had a look around the area on Google Maps, and there was something *off*, at least to my European eyes. A couple of minutes after closing the tab it dawned on me: no sidewalks! WTF?

Welcome to American suburbia.
posted by octothorpe at 4:14 AM on August 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


A couple of minutes after closing the tab it dawned on me: no sidewalks! WTF?
DC has very nice sidewalks, so this is a common but very noticeable difference in many surrounding suburbs. What they have in common is that they were founded with strong racial restrictions and things like sidewalks or transit were seen as inviting Those People into the neighborhood. This is less pronounced now but still comes up in their opposition to the light rail Purple Line or bike infrastructure – the latter involving hilarious imagery of home robbing gangs on bikes rather than, as actually happens, lawyers and orthodontists in spandex on $10k road bikes.
posted by adamsc at 4:18 AM on August 29, 2019 [11 favorites]


If you have sidewalks, who knows who could walk into your neighborhood.
posted by octothorpe at 4:31 AM on August 29, 2019 [5 favorites]


Is District Plates code for POC? Or just "poor" people?

Sort of, though it also reflects the fact that they don't interact w/the rapidly gentrifying city much.
posted by ryanshepard at 4:56 AM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


The racist history of Chevy Chase, long home to Washington’s power players
Although most buyers were lured to Chevy Chase by the appeal of an exurban house with a yard, real estate agents also pushed the idea that Chevy Chase was an exclusive enclave that easily priced out nonwhites, the newly immigrated and the working class.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:15 AM on August 29, 2019


then you should do your best to minimize the disturbances you cause for your neighbors.
This extends to the animals you choose to own.


Right. Rural areas are legit loud. Animals are loud. I mean, the cicadas in the movie Footloose are too quiet.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:47 AM on August 29, 2019


"Why on earth would you build a dog park bordering on people's homes? I've never heard of such a crazy thing."

"All of the dog parks that I can think of in my town are in neighborhoods and are either next door to or directly across the street from homes."

Our single dog park is built on land adjacent to the water treatment facility and it smells like it. No complaints, though!
posted by corvikate at 8:08 AM on August 29, 2019


From my memories of growing up there, the most common annoying noise in Chevy Chase is professional lawn maintenance.
posted by swerve at 9:26 AM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


Our single dog park is built on land adjacent to the water treatment facility and it smells like it. No complaints, though!

I work at a university that's located in a downtown. We have bought plenty of unwanted properties, over the years, and subsequently returned many of them to private hands after a time. With that framing, allow me to mention that the local Animal Rescue League is located across the street from one of our dorms, which is located in an old knife factory. The students can't really escape the constant barking.

I am sure it's just a coincidence that the dorm isn't included on the usual campus tours. It must be that, or the fact that it's like two whole blocks away.

(If it was me, I would be waaaay more spooked by living in "the old abandoned knife factory" than by having the lovely sound of doggos down the street, but I love dogs and hate horror movies.)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:26 AM on August 29, 2019 [5 favorites]


I suppose I would get tired of it sooner than I think but I would like to at least try living next to ostriches that constantly escape

Ostriches are like stupid velociraptors. They're mean, vicious, murder birds that will disembowel your dogs and terrify your livestock.

Their emus were pretty cute though. And much smarter and more evasive. I believe there may still be some free range emus somewhere in deep rural Pennsylvania.
posted by fshgrl at 4:50 PM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


what I loved about this story, aside from chortling over the insufferable people, were subtle little scapel-blades like this one, noted above:
taking the spots where the family liked their lawn maintenance service to park
posted by martin q blank at 6:29 PM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


RE: the serenity of rural areas. There is a great one man play series called Wingfield that revolves around the protagonist Walt repeatedly cresting the Dunning-Kruger peak. The second cycle comes to a head with a demonstration of just how messy rural areas can be. I find the whole series hilarious.
posted by Mitheral at 7:01 PM on August 29, 2019


I’m going to push back on the insistence that rural life is all that loud. I grew up in a rural area surrounded by farms — even the farm equipment wasn’t that loud. The cows and horses and chickens etc aren’t that loud. The neighbor’s farm dogs weren’t that loud. And no one is really close by so when they’re using a chainsaw or whatever it’s easy to go inside and have peace and quiet, whereas barking dogs coming from across the street tends to penetrate.

Sometimes it’s frustrating to read about how folks in big cities just get used to the noise. I’ve lived in cities and it turns out it’s not something I could get used to.

Being able to tolerate loud cities isn’t something you do because you’re stronger or cooler than someone else. We all have different tolerance levels. Mine is very low, as I mentioned. It’s not from lack of trying. There’s lots of “VSP”s (very sensitive people) like me. I’m sure no one here means it that way, and this is outside the context of this article (again fuck that painter lady), but can you consider how you talk about your noise tolerance and recognize that folks have varying tolerance for noise?

Again, not in the context of this article — those rich people can move — but I’m just asking for recognition that my inability to tolerate noise isn’t because I’m weak or uncultured. Sometimes the way folks phrase their noise tolerance comes across as judgmental of those who can’t. And not everyone can afford to move to a quiet area.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 8:11 PM on August 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


Rural is a pretty loose term. Both 10 acre hobby farms and ranches sitting on a couple sections of land are rural.
posted by Mitheral at 10:11 PM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Eh, I don’t think it’s really that hard to say what rural is and I don’t think rural life is consistently or normally that loud regardless of whether you have a “real” farm or not. I guess it’s not at all relevant to this conversation anyway — Chevy Chase is not rural. But my point is that there are quiet places and that I don’t think every single place you live is going to be noisy and that’s just life so buck up, which is kind of what I feel like folks have implied.

I choose where I live based on expected noise level as much as I can based on my own personal needs. That’s a thing you can do. There are quiet places in this world and assuming that noise is just a part of life, or that people who live in cities just know how to deal with it and we can all be like that, isn’t true or aware of differing sensitivities of individuals.

The Chevy Chase residents in the story aren’t sympathetic because they’re being classist assholes. I used to go to dog parks almost everyday and they’re really not that noisy compared to, like, a dog next door who is neglected and barks outside for hours on end. So I’m in no way defending the people complaining about the dog park noise in their fancy neighborhood. But I am baffled by what I’m reading into comments as saying that life is all about tolerating this kind of noise and there’s nothing you can do about it and even rural areas are plenty noisy. That’s not my lived experience. I do think quiet can be a luxury for sure but I think it’s valid for people to seek it out and to have frustrations about noise and not be delusional about what it means to live in a world with other people.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 11:20 PM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've mentioned it before, but I live very near (across the top of the District from) the affluent Montgomery County suburbs of DC, and it is the NIMBY-est place I've been since Berkeley, with Chevy Chase and its immediate neighbors (the DC neighborhood of Chevy Chase, e.g.) being the most egregious offenders.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:07 AM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


the most common annoying noise in Chevy Chase is professional lawn maintenance

Certainly true of Sunnyvale. Couldn't we designate one day out of the week when using leaf blowers would be legal? But instead, everyday is somebody's yard day, which means we must endure the leaf blowers' banshee wail every day. Even Sunday. Even in the pouring rain -- why do they insist on trying to blow aound wet leaves with those things?
posted by Rash at 8:51 PM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


Some blowers are also vacuums/shredders.
posted by Mitheral at 10:19 PM on August 30, 2019


I would fully endorse just outlawing leaf blowers. My allergies are bad enough without people actively filling the air with yard debris.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:31 AM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


The anti-dog-park faction has won, and the park is being dismantled.
posted by Copronymus at 7:43 PM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]


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