The city council’s land use committee just voted to raise maximum building heights on three blocks adjacent to Roosevelt High School to 65 feet, rejecting an amendment by council member Nick Licata to limit heights on the so-called “high school blocks” to 40 feet.
The committee’s vote to upzone the blocks, part of a larger vote to change the zoning around the planned Roosevelt light rail station, came after a lengthy round of testimony from supporters and opponents of the upzone.
Andrew Miller, a Roosevelt resident, said allowing six stories (instead of four) across from the recently renovated Roosevelt High School would tear “the heart and soul” out of the neighborhood, which he argued would be “like a body without a heart—you can’t live that way. …. You told us we were being emotional. How would you defend your own heart and soul?”
OK, let’s unpack this a little bit. First, will it affect the neighborhood? Yes, of course it will. As mentioned, there are going to be many more people that can live there and take their children to school before taking light rail to work. Isn’t this the benefit of mass transit? Mass transit allows greater population density.
But, looking at it from the point of view of long-term residents, its not hard to see why the debate would be heated. In addition to the characteristics of the Roosevelt neighborhood changing, you can expect that there is going to be frustration as views may be lost.
Most certainly though, generated will be noise and pollution attendant to residential and commercial development – as well as that of the actual Roosevelt light rail station. So then, will all this make the neighborhood more livable? If so, when?