Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Grandview building heights

The uproar in Mt. Washington has been about the height of buildings. A zoning law has wiggled to city council that aims to cap the height of buildings along Grandview Ave, the senic roadway that sits atop of Mt. Washington and provides a splendid view of the rivers and downtown.

First of all, the folks in Mt. Washington have been energized on a number of different matters in the recent years. They had fights to save the school (Whittier), incline, library, ball-fields, rec center, swim pool, rehab of the long vacant South Hills High and still manage to program the DHCC -- a community center in the shell of a former grocery store. South Siders have some of that same spit, but, perhaps, Mt. Washington residents have been more on the cutting edge since the WE-HAV toils were nipping at their heels.

So, its been time to keep in the sadle and go again from Mt. Washington to city hall. Keep up the good work.

The clash comes with:
1) zoning laws,
2) the bulk of the people (desire a hight limit on buildings)and the grassroots want limits and are fighting "developers / speculators."
3) Meanwhile, elected leaders need to lead. And, if they can't sway the masses with their points of view, then it is time to "represent" the people's wishes.
When one is silent on the issue for 15 months, as was the city council member from that district, then it is hard to lead. And, pushing for a new amendment might soil the process.

However, Sala, "going all the way back to zero" is okay. That is a call to "think again." When a new law gets to the council, the law makers, it is fine to take it out at the knees if there are better possible outcomes. Sala is all to often quick to embrace lockstep decisions.

Bigger solutions

Pittsburgh is blessed with places all around the central ring where we should be building tall housing. The edge of the west end, near station square's west entry, at the north side of the west end bridge, near the east end of station square, at the bottom of the bluff east of the jail over from the 10th Street Bridge.

We can't turn Pittsburgh into Hong Kong -- but we could try for the higher residentail buildings at wasted corners that are now vacant or without much community merit. Point being: we need to fix the broken areas. We don't need to trample the thriving areas.

Furthermore, we need to use our political capital into allowing the marketplace to strive. I'd be quicker to think again on zoning and put all zoning laws into the trash and allow property rights to reside with the property owners.

Standards that are not standards is favortism. Our government needs heavy measures of justice and fairness -- not favorites and exceptions.

Doug: You don't need stability to move forward. To move forward you have to leave where you sit.
Your town, your neighborhood, your city. WRONG. What about your property?

However, the real bottom line comes with this awareness: The city's planning department is a complete failure. One of the first actions for the new mayor -- eliminate the planning department. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. However, when you follow poor plans, the results are sure to be poor.

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