Thursday, November 29, 2007

Front and Center Pike and Snapp

For those of you who did not hear Mayor Dan Pike’s inaugural address, urbi et orbi, you can read it by clicking here. During his talk he made several proposals among which was: “Establish Neighborhood Code and Character Task force to develop recommendations for resolving inconsistencies between zoning code and neighborhood character.” This follows, I assume, from his 11 point action plan (see my blog entry of 12 November by clicking here.) . I encourage you to write to him at to remind him that under the rubrics of zoning code and neighborhood character lies the illegal rooming house issue. There is no real growth planning until the city government takes into account illegal rooming houses and their effect on densities. Regrettably, ridding the city of the blight of illegal rooming houses is not a subject appearing on the mayor’s list of immediate goals for 2007 (click here to read the goals). There are several goals regarding waterfront development, which, although an important issue, do not rise to such immediacy when the quality of life in our neighborhoods deteriorates. Would the mayor and the council be as attentive to an existing problem as to a project which will have little effect on the “character of our neighborhoods.”

Unless there are plans to build massive amounts of affordable housing at the waterfront, we need to take care of growth issues first. It is also time to remind our newest council member, Stan Snapp, that, although he did not show much appreciation for the subject of illegal rooming houses during the campaign (see my blog entries here and here) it is time for him to step up to the bar and confront the issue. He says he is for responsible growth, however, much is to be done to reverse the irresponsible infill which has produced the rooming-housification of our neighborhoods. At his council web site (click here to read his statements), he avers that he is prepared to meet challenges, to wit: “revision of current codes to support the Comprehensive Plan and protect the character of each neighborhood.” You can write Stan at

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