After reading the Oct. article concerning possible mandatory inclusionary zoning, Iím left questioning the legitimacy of our development standards.
It was stated in the article that ďas an off-set for providing deed-restricted housing as part of a market-rate development, the program would offer a list of incentives aimed at reducing certain development standards.Ē Those standards include, among others, reduced building setback, reduced parking requirements, increased building height, and increased impervious area before an engineered stormwater plan would be required. Restricting building height has always been a preference of the City Council, presumably at the bidding of the councilís constituents. Thereís no real reason it canít be changed, unless the cityís residents donít want it. But when the council changes parking requirements, setbacks, and lot coverage, simply because it considers a project to be a good cause, the council is politicizing its standards. Making a housing development affordable doesnít mean that there is any less of a need for parking than for any other project, and relaxed stormwater standards wonít achieve the results that the city has always said are necessary for good development. I also have to wonder if increased density will make the developments less livable. Affordability is a great goal, but developments should still be livable.
So I ask, are the development standards that developers have had to adhere to up to this point no longer needed, or is there a double standard based on whether the Council feels the cause is worth it? I suggest that the standards be applied equally and that the City Council decide if the current development standards have validity.
Doug Adams, Whitefish