The recent letter from Ron Goldman (“The power lies with you,” Letters to the Editor, Nov. 22) asks the question, what is it that the city personnel, who are controlling the design of our city, have in mind as they set about increasing density and height, and increasing demand on all aspects of the infrastructure and services? As he points out, it is in contrast to the tenets of the Land Use & Circulation Element (LUCE), which were already pushed beyond the desires of the residents at numerous public meetings and workshops.
The notion that additional height, for example, is necessary for creative architectural solutions flies in the face of this architect’s 50-plus years of involvement in studying and working within the architecture and planning profession, and is contrary to the stated goal of LUCE to reduce overall heights. Yet proposals for towers to 330 feet are being considered. What you should believe is that additional height and massing, along with the increased density of higher FARs (floor area ratio), will create more shadow and less blue sky and sun, will result in darker Downtown streets, will increase both pedestrian and traffic congestion, and will increase demand on all infrastructure components and services.
The proposed 35-plus development agreements, if approved, will certainly change the face of the city and the quality of life for its residents. As Mr. Goldman asks, why? What are you thinking? Is it economics? If 10 million square feet already added to the city in the last 30 years has not produced a sustainable economic base, why believe that adding another 3 million is going to “solve” a supposed economic problem, and such development would not seem to help maintain the community’s beach culture, another LUCE tenet.
One thing is for certain; the notion that increasing density and population is sustainable in the water-deprived region we live in is in fact a path to a future nightmare. If not for us in the immediate future, for sure it will be for our children or grandchildren. Those of us that oppose this massive rush to development have been called xenophobes, or selfish because “we have ours,” or are unable to face change and can’t see the future, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Our only motivation in opposing this massive development push is based on our professional experience, and the best interest of the residents and our environment. Protestations and recommendations continue to fall on deaf ears or are simply ignored, and it is likely that going forward in this direction is creating new problems, not solving existing ones. The question remains, why?