The Herald editorial of 30 August entitled “Housing options show little to fear from in-city growth” is a terribly flawed assessment of the problems surrounding infill. (Click here to read the Herald’s piece) Several samples from that missive follow. I have italicized certain portions.
“If architectural standards of the neighborhood are enforced, and if the landlord closely monitors the activities of his or her tenant, then there is simply no threat from such a development to the existing neighborhood.”
“Among the housing types described in the city's new plan are those that exist on smaller lots or that go higher into the air. And, smartly, each of the housing types comes with restrictions and descriptions to guarantee that what is built won't destroy what already exists.”
“Imagine, if you will, a retired person who wants to keep their (sic) home but needs help keeping up with property taxes and other bills. Allowing them (sic) to create and rent-out a small unit on the lot helps them (sic) financially and guarantees they (sic) will watch over the unit to guarantee quality tenants.”
The only reason that the Herald can attempt to make these statements with a straight face is that the Herald readers cannot see the faces of the editorial board who penned these words. I would agree with the Herald IF I saw a city that would expend as much effort in enforcing its codes AFTER construction of these infill “tool box” gadgets as it does prior to their construction. One only needs to look at the non-enforcement of codes to date which has resulted in illegal rooming houses all over town.
The reason the Sunnyland residents are up-in-arms about the development of 4 acres on Sunset is that they did not just fall off the turnip truck and are acutely aware of that which happens several years down the line when the glow of new construction has worn off and the reality of uncontrolled “rental creep” and concomitant overcrowding work to gnaw at neighborhood character. The homeowners on
The Herald ends its editorial with this admonishment, bordering on the ludicrous, "change can be positive if citizens work hard to make it so." I find this statement aberrant in that it is not the residents who should be charged solely with making it work, as if the city and the council were innocent bystanders in the process. Imagine a call from the Herald to the city to do its job.