Letter: City ignored zoning standards

Ethan Rodriguez-Torrent’s article about the plan to build a chilled water plant and an 1,186-space parking garage on Winchester Avenue (“Residents mixed on project’s impact,” Feb. 16) mentions a number of concerns raised in the neighborhood about the development.

Another concern was the city’s willingness to disregard the standards in its zoning ordinance for a Planned Development. The development is located in a tract that was previously designated as a Planned Development District. Section 65 of the ordinance allows Planned Developments “in instances where tracts of land of considerable size are developed, redeveloped or renewed as integrated and harmonious units, and where the overall design of such units is so outstanding as to warrant modification of the standards contained elsewhere in this ordinance.” Among other things, a PDD must be “so designed … as to produce an environment of stable and desirable character, complementing the design and values of the surrounding neighborhood, and showing such unusual merit as to reflect credit upon the developer and upon the city.”

Whatever else can be said about the chilled water plant and parking garage, they don’t meet the standards specified in Section 65.

David R. Cameron

Feb. 16

The writer is a professor of political science and a co-founder of the Citywide Planned Development Collaborative.

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