I wasn't present last night when CM Erica Gilmore addressed the Salemtown neighborhood association, but I got word from others who did that CM Gilmore announced her re-election for office and then expressed her willingness to support a zoning variance requested by a local developer for a 5th Avenue project. As I understand it she also expressed the concern that she might end up the target of criticism on this blog by risking support for the development in question.
I supported this developer's project from the beginning, because he consistently engaged our community and because he incorporated feedback into the project. He never stopped talking to us and he never forced the concept in ways that didn't complement our urban neighborhood. He has even branded it "Development with a Respectful Approach."
I often get a bum rap as someone who "opposes any growth or development" from those who do not consistently read this blog, from those who rush to judgment in the same way that CM Gilmore seemed to jump to conclusions about this blog last night. But those of you who have followed me over the years, talked to me face-to-face, and watched me in the neighborhood can attest that I am not predisposed to oppose any development.
Instead, I support balanced growth, wise development, and engaged developers who take the idea of community character seriously. And for these reasons I supported developer Jim Creason and his project, Brownstones at 5th&G, and I wrote up an enthusiastic endorsement months ago after Jim sent the association a concerned appeal for ideas on weathering a rough local housing market.
I did that because I believe in "development with a respectful approach" rather than the easy advocacy of growth at all costs in the name of trickle down increases in property values. Boosters of development by any means necessary will accuse me of opposing all growth because I won't absolutely genuflect to big money without daring a question or two. But my own council member should have a little more faith in me. I've already expressed support for this project, and since it is not changing drastically, why would I ever blog my opposition to her backing of it?