City should limit height of buildings

Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 27, 2003 at 10:59 p.m.

The Sun's lead editorial (Jan. 15) endorses the Midtown project, saying "it's time for Gainesville to grow up" and be developed into an "urban center."

Well, to me growing up means being aware of yourself as a distinct personality and taking responsibility for your own life.

Gainesville is unique, the most liveable and attractive city in Florida, blessed with natural beauty, great diversity and a vibrant cultural life. I love this place.

The last thing Gainesville needs is to lose its uniqueness, its distinct personality and follow the failed urban-canyons model of cities all over America, with interchangeably similar downtowns full of half-vacant, oversized towers that shut out the sun.

Yes, we need some higher-density development downtown, but it should be appropriate. Why not limit building heights to 150 feet? That's consistent with the existing skyline and keeps our city open, sunny and in proportion.

Setting reasonable limits on the height of new buildings will also spread positive development over a larger area and give more of our downtown a boost, instead of concentrating things in one hyper-developed patch.

What The Sun seems to be saying is not "grow up," but "give up and be like every other Florida city." I think we have too much creativity, self-esteem and independence- real adult qualities-to do that.

I ask the City Commission to use a city ordinance to put a charter amendment limiting building height on the April 8 ballot. Let the people decide whether they want our city to be like every other city, or to be Gainesville.

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