Palmisano: Purposeful action

Cam Winton’s recent letter to the Southwest Journal only focuses on the costs of a moratorium to certain groups. The reality is that maintaining the status quo costs all residents of our Ward. 

As we seek to promote and foster new development across our city it’s important to look at the direct and indirect impacts to residents. Five Ward 13 neighborhoods are absorbing exponential rates of single-family home construction in an already-built urban environment.  This is several times that of the other 78 neighborhoods combined.  And that’s a problem.  It is cause for concern, because today it places an unfair burden on residents who live around this concentrated and intense activity. 

This cost includes side yards caving in, neighbors’ basements flooding, promises of remediation unfulfilled, and lasting impacts to our environment from loss of trees to compromised groundwater.  Issues go well beyond the temporary nuisance complaints and while they are happening in abundance, it is the larger and more permanent issues that make me stand up and take this tough stance. It isn’t easy to stand up to special interest groups who profit from tear downs and infill housing.

A concern I have heard is about a lack of transparency.  An open government process is very important to me, and this type of action is not unprecedented, nor is it an “abuse of power” as Mr. Winton suggests.  Legally, moratoria do not give prior notice.  This is so that everyone is treated fairly, no one organization or group of informed folks gets an unfair advantage, and most importantly—it does not trigger a rush on the permits that allow the very activities we are working to improve.  This is important to us so that rapid and effective reform can take place.

I am committed to doing this effectively, and that will require a higher standard for contractor behavior—it’s about building like you live next door. Everyone in this process recognizes there are problems to address.  City Council did not undertake this lightly.  Thank you to all of those that are part of this ongoing conversation.  I am confident that the solutions we arrive at, in the end, will foster broader investment across our city.

Linea Palmisano
Council Member, 13th Ward