Discussion on Increasing D.C. Height Limits Becomes One-Sided Debate

A public presentation by the D.C. Office of Planning on the potential for amending the city's controversial height limits revealed residents' many concerns, and little support, for the Congressionally mandated review.

"So far, reviewing the Height of Buildings Act to provide recommendations to Congress on how to amend it has been pretty fun for Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning," writes Aaron Wiener. "'From a totally geeky planning perspective, I have to say it’s kind of thrilling to be asked to look at this issue,' Tregoning said last night at a meeting at the Petworth Library."

"Unfortunately for her and the Office of Planning's partner in the Height Act review, the National Capital Planning Commission, they don't get to work from a totally geeky planning perspective anymore. Now the process goes public—and it can get contentious."

"The short presentations from NCPC and the Office of Planning [at the first of four public meeting] didn't quell residents' fears," reports Wiener. "One attendee worried aloud that D.C. would end up with a slew of uninhabited high-rises like in China. Others said tall buildings would block sunlight and be susceptible to earthquakes. A man said the city's purpose in allowing taller development would just be to raise property tax revenue, and he questioned 'whether the Office of Planning is an honest broker in this process because it is so pro-development.'  

"During the question-and-answer period, there were no comments in favor of higher development," Wiener notes.  

Full Story: How to Rile Up a Crowd (in D.C.): Talk Building Heights

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