Thursday, April 11, 2013

Where I stand now on the question of the Salemtown overlay

I sent CM Erica Gilmore the following email today:
CM Gilmore:

As you know for the past year I took what was an usual step for me by opposing the proposed Salemtown overlay (I generally support overlays), and I asked for deferral of BL2013-370 in order to facilitate a more deliberate and fair process than Salemtown Neighbors Neighborhood Association had in 2012.

After listening to the open and honest discussions in the two public meetings on the overlay held in 2013 and after considering all sides of the debate, I am pleased to withdraw my opposition to the overlay. The changes made to the original bill seem to address many of the misgivings expressed in the neighborhood but ignored in SNNA's 2012 survey process. I hope you will feel encouraged to carry BL2013-370 through to third reading and council approval.

I am unpersuaded by opponents' arguments against this overlay. I am struck by the fact that they can give no specific cases where property values and market demand for homes has been damaged by any overlay, even as the supporters insist that study after study show that values and demand actually increase with overlays. Salemtown itself has benefited from being next door to Germantown, which has one of the most demanding overlays I have ever seen. In the final analysis, I am persuaded that the Salemtown overlay will enhance our quality of life while balancing the interests of all our homeowners and potential developers.

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you, CM Gilmore, for your willingness to defer this bill. Your extra community meetings made a difference for me, and any reservations I had about this bill are now gone.

Mike Byrd

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