Your View: What are master plans for, anyway?

Your View: What are master plans for, anyway?

By Dino Drudi, Alexandria (File photo)

To the editor:
What are zoning and master plans all about if they are changed willy-nilly to suit some project that comes along? Why bother doing them when master plans merely mean, “Heads: I win, Tails: you lose?” If some proposed project agrees with the master plan, the developer can go ahead, and if not, then City Hall will just change the master plan.

Zoning is supposed to be a protection for nearby properties, which is why, when neighbors petition, a super-majority override is required. The spot-zoning change the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority sought for the Ramsey Homes (“Council fails to approve Ramsey Homes rezoning,” February 25) benefits the developer, but comes at the expense of neighbors, whose enjoyment of their property is impaired and effectively subsidizes the new development.

If our legal system forced City Hall or the developer to properly compensate these neighbors — “fully internalize the costs” as economists phrase it — neighbors impacted by a rezoning decision would have no cause for complaint.

Instead, if the zoning override obtains the requisite super majority, the neighbors are, in effect, expected to subsidize some development benefitting someone else or the community as an aggregate, adding insult to injury.

What could be more grossly abusive?