|South Burlingame activist Robin Harmon reminds the|
stakeholder committee of the project's original mission.
It will take as many eyes and ears as possible on this group to ensure it achieves the intended outcome. At the January meeting a city-hired consultant from San Francisco piled on a list of "draft principles" meant to guide the discussion, but in the ensuing disagreements about the usefulness of the principles and the way they seemed to derail the proceedings it was clear that considering a developer's return on investment (as one draft principle encouraged) pointed participants in a different direction from the original mission of the project (see above). Maybe the Home Builders Association got that one inserted.
That means improving guidelines for new construction that typically goes up after demolitions of well-built quality homes—so, looking at setbacks, size, and height to keep the monsters at bay. Nailing these parameters frees developers to get with their architects and make better buildings. It's hard, but Portland is worth it.
If the project can manage the task of improving such technical standards for new construction and there's time left over, by all means delve into the creative housing ideas. That's gravy for the committee after some grindingly long evenings, and it's a gift for the developers to have such an august group brainstorming on their behalf.
Now for something Comp-letely different
|Portlanders wait to give their 2 minutes|
of testimony on the Comp Plan on Jan. 7
at Self Enhancement, Inc.
Before the microphone opened to the masses, Commissioner Steve Novick tried to head off a barrage of negativity (video clip here, with transcript), suggesting that Portlanders will have to tolerate the march of low-quality new development in their neighborhood just as people have had to deal with rationing and sending people off to the front lines during wartime.
|Commissioner Steve Novick (left) preps to talk about life|
during wartime while Commissioner Amanda Fritz and
Mayor Charlie Hales chat before a long night of listening.
But to put up with poorly constructed, and sometimes not even code-compliant, buildings to help mostly out-of-town developers line their pockets? Commissioner Novick: Whose side are you on?