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Opinion/Letter: City neighborhoods are at risk of damage

Opinion/Letter: City neighborhoods are at risk of damage

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When the terrible decision was made to raze Vinegar Hill, the residents of the area were never consulted. The “needs” and “interests” of the city at large were deemed more important than the needs and desires of the Vinegar Hill residents.

Are we going to make the same mistake with the new city planning proposals?

Yes, I know there have been meetings, and the Charlottesville Planning Commission members and consultants appeared at the City Market and other locations to talk with a few interested constituents.

But how many of these commission members and consultants have actually walked through the affected neighborhoods chatting with the residents — home owners and tenant? How many have visited during rush hour, watching the traffic patterns; looked at the height of the existing buildings and the green areas and the tree cover; made the effort to see what exists in various neighborhoods to make them vibrant and desirable communities?

Lack of affordable housing is very a significant problem. But increasing density and height and destroying R-1 zoning in no way guarantees affordability.

Destroying Vinegar Hill failed to create a new, thriving, mixed residential and commercial community and created many new and unanticipated problems.

Are we not repeating the same mistake half a century later? Destroying currently thriving, viable and desirable communities in the effort to achieve affordable housing will create many new problems with no assurance that it will solve any of the existing problems.

Ruth L. Barolsky


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