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Airing the facts on development

March 23, 2007

Re "Plenty of room," editorial, March 19

The Times finds a lot to fault in my view that we need to establish a larger plan to guide development in downtown. The event that prompted this view was the recent adoption of an ordinance that would allow the city to sell "air rights" from the Convention Center area to downtown developers. By paying a fee to the city, developers could increase the density of their downtown projects and build higher.

While the transfer of development rights is a useful planning tool, it would be good for the city to first do some research and planning to address these nagging questions:

* Where in downtown is it best to direct higher densities, and what will be their effect on downtown's infrastructure?

* How will we use the anticipated revenue, and who will decide on priorities?

* Is the established sale price adequate?

By failing to build an overall vision for downtown, the city is perpetuating a "project-by-project" mode of development and failing to take the best advantage of a useful planning tool.




Department of

Urban Planning


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