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Letter to the Editor: Zoning Is More Than an Economic Development Tool

Alexandrian Margaret Wood says the city is using zoning solely as an economic development tool to the detriment of the health, safety and welfare of all and to the detriment of adjacent property value.

To the Editor:

The original intent of zoning regulation was to protect abutting landowners from detrimental land development, and to preserve property value and 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 administration has lost sight of this and is using the zoning solely as an economic development tool to the detriment of the health, safety and welfare of all and to the detriment of adjacent property value.

What citizens need to realize is this text amendment change applies to all of Alexandria not just the waterfront.   

If you have been following any of the development plans ongoing you know all of them have serious controversial issues for abutting residents. To remove the citizens’ rights to protest on adverse affects especially those closest and most affected by the proposed change through petitioned super majority diminishes the protection for citizen property rights. 

No matter how the city tries to portray the waterfront issue, abutters and concerned citizens simply asked over the course of these past years to first deal with the infrastructure demands that need to be met:  flood mitigation, environmental concerns, capacity, density and balance issues such as street traffic and parking.

City planners were simply asked to do the job city planners are suppose to do.

They knew that true analysis would tell them they can’t do all they intend to do.  That is why when the fact checking started we learned the traffic study used for analysis on the waterfront was of Washington St. not Union St.  Fact checking revealed assumptions preferred over analysis.  All this to give preferential deference for  property sellers and developers who will build, sell and walk away.

The profit gain the city “envisions” will not be realized until 30 years down the road.  Zoning was not created to enhance the financial gains of sellers and developers.  It was created to safeguard the rights of all property owners from development that would adversely affect, the property owners land and the well being of the community.

Margaret Wood, Old Town

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