As I have previously pointed out, the city planning office is a crucial step in the search for a rural property. It is through the planning office that you learn about pending quarries, rights of way on the land, and overall zoning.
Over the last two years, I have had the pleasure of meeting many city planners. Typically, they are tucked away in a basement or a back corner of the city hall building. Buried under mounds of maps.
Some welcome you with a smile, and are delighted that they have a visitor. When my enthusiasm for maps creeps out, they become inspired to dig up outdated maps or historical maps to share with me.
Some do not welcome the intrusion. I find in the larger city offices they see my smiling face as an unwelcome interruption to their planning activities. In those cases, I find that an evident respect and interest in what they do goes a long way in rolling out the welcome mat.
Today I had the pleasure of dealing with a city planning assistant, who clearly loves what she does and takes pride in her town. Her reply to my email was welcoming and informative. So different from some of the colder email replies I have received from larger city centres.
It is for that reason that we look forward to moving to a rural area. The warm smile that shows within the body of an email and the offer to lend a hand to a complete stranger.