To the editor:
The original intent of zoning regulation was to protect abutting landowners from detrimental development as well as to preserve property values and residents’ quality of life. The first zoning ordinance in New York City was created to keep buildings from reaching further skyward and depriving the streets below of light and air.
Zoning was created as health, safety and welfare legislation to protect abutters and the general public. Our city’s administration has lost sight of this and is using zoning solely as an economic development tool — to the detriment of the health, safety and welfare of all as well as adjacent property values.
What residents need to realize is this text amendment change applies to all of Alexandria, not just the waterfront. If you have followed any of the ongoing development plans, you know all of them pose serious issues for abutting residents. To remove residents’ right to protest adverse effects — especially those closest and most affected by proposed changes — by petitioning for a supermajority city council vote diminishes the protection of property rights.
No matter how the city tries to portray the waterfront issue, abutters and concerned residents have simply asked officials to first deal with the infrastructure problems: flood mitigation, environmental concerns, and capacity, density and balance issues, such as street traffic and parking. City planners were simply asked to do the job city planners are supposed to do.
They knew true analysis would tell them they couldn’t do all they intended to do. Fact-checking revealed preferred assumptions were held in higher regard than analysis. All this to give preferential deference for property sellers and developers who will build, sell and walk away.
Zoning was not created to enhance the financial gains of sellers and developers. It was created to safeguard the rights of property owners from development that would adversely affect their land and the well-being of the community.
- Margaret Wood