Hexed by NIMBY? Adopt this 11 word code and you will be able protect your real estate projects each and every time from the curse of status quo defeat!

WARNING! Once you learn this code and what it can do, you will be obligated to govern yourself by it. If you choose to ignore it, then you will suffer the consequences of status quo forces adept at destroying your chances of acquiring the license to operate at the municipal levels.

If you’re still reading, then congratulations: You’re the one percent who will have a knowledge that will forever improve your odds of passing more real estate projects, in less time, at less cost, with less uncertainty.

The 11 words that defeats NIMBY every time, every place and every stage of development are:

It’s Not What I Say, But Who Says It for Me.

It’s your word against angry voters when a NIMBY conflict arises. Tens of thousands of elected officials have forsaken sustainable real estate projects because of visible and vocal constituents voicing opposition to site and rezoning requests.

I’ve seen this happen first hand as a former Florida mayor as well as a consultant. Every day newspaper articles portray developers as the mighty Goliath being slain by the NIMBY David. This genre is a broken record replaying itself thousands of times in communities around the globe – going as far back as the early 1980s.


Corporate developers are outsiders seeking approvals in local communities. In nine out of 10 cases, corporate developers “ignore, overlook and underestimate” (IOU) community leaders who influence public officials. For those savvy enough to be in that 10 percent, stakeholder engagement is usually inadequate, because many defer to the archaic notice and hearing process, which only antagonizes potential third-party allies.

Thus, when a few citizens or professional activists attack your project with petitions, negative publicity, social media, and Jerry Springer type public hearings, elected officials begin to count votes toward their next election, which is a countdown to voting against your real estate project.

That no longer has to be the case. With my 11 word code, corporate developers can defeat NIMBYism in the press, defeat NIMBYism at city hall and defeat NIMBYism at the ballot box.


Developers need a select chorus of community thought leaders singing the praises of their sustainable real estate projects. These local influencers are former elected officials, current/past presidents of local chambers, civic groups (Rotary/Kiwanis), HOAs, merchant associations, homebuilders, realtors etc. They are active in their communities and they influence voters, customers and most importantly, elected officials.

What most corporate developers and real estate professionals do not understand is thought leaders not only influence decision makers at city hall, but they control the grapevines that spread gossip that mischaracterizes sustainable real estate projects. I can write an entire column on gossip and grapevines, because they are very powerful and disruptive.

Winning the support of community thought leaders is vital and should be part of your game plan months before you formally file your application or notify municipal officials. By taking this proactive practice you gain several bonuses. You gain partners who often provide focus group type input that also includes insights on what the elected officials want and don’t want regarding concessions and negotiations.

Most importantly, gaining the early support of community thought leaders establishes backchannels to city hall that even the best land use lawyers and developers rarely obtain. This channel is priceless in the context of high-stakes, high-profile controversies fueled by NIMBY conflicts.

The elected officials know these influencers and trust them more than the applicant and more than the opponents who are often unknown, unreasonable and untrustworthy.

The “It’s not what I say, but who says it for me” code secures the approval, endorsement and public support of community thought leaders who will pre-empt and defeat NIMBYism, each and every time. When that happens, then the benefits of a sustainable real estate project will be truly enjoyed by the community that just granted you the license to operate.

So what are you going to do with this knowledge and code? The next step is up to you.

P.S. Forward this column to your partner, colleague or friend who has a great real estate project vulnerable to the attacks of anti-development contingents.

Patrick Slevin is one of few national speakers, trainers and consultants considered a “NIMBY Expert”.  Mr. Slevin is a former Florida mayor, who for three decades has spoken, consulted, and written about mitigating the risks associated with status quo opposition. Mr. Slevin provides “top/down solutions for bottom/up success” for corporate clients who want to secure community goodwill for sustainable and controversial real estate projects. Go to www.PatrickSlevin.com for more information