"And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
[Author's Note: The Grove is up for final approval at today's council meeting (Item 73). According to sources at City Hall, they're expecting about 8 hours of testimony. We don't feel like sitting through the hearing, so this blog post can serve as written testimony.]
Let's suppose you live in a city with a severe housing shortage. Let's suppose, further, that there was a gigantic empty lot one block away from a major highway. Would it make sense to build housing?!?
Of course it would.
But old guard Austin begs to differ.
We discovered this issue a couple months ago when we started examining Natalie Gauldin's candidacy in district 7. Natalie cut her teeth fighting for it. But our thoughts today are only tangentially related to that race.
Mostly, we're incredulous that people oppose building housing on a gigantic empty lot in a city with a housing shortage.
How is this even controversial?!?
The short answer is that it's 'controversial' because of a phenomenon called "neighborhood association" politics; as Forbes explained this past summer:
[E]xisting residents buy homes in destination cities, and then utilize land-use regulations and anti-growth public officials to prevent new construction.In this case, the anti-growth public official is Leslie Pool.
At this point, it's worth pointing out that we're not crazy about every aspect of this project. As part of the political sausage making process, a whole bunch of unnecessary 'affordable housing' subsidies have been tacked on. That being said, it's probably the best deal we can get within political reality.
On net, it moves the ball forward.
But this was never about 'affordable housing,' and now the NIMBY's are yammering on about "traffic."
It's the subject of 'traffic' where the disingenuousness of the opposition becomes obvious. Remember, in the first section, when we said the site was one block away from a major highway?!? That highway would be MoPAC.
In other words, it's pretty much impossible to site a project of this nature in a location where it would have less of an impact on 'traffic' in the surrounding neighborhood.
Personal note: we frequently travel through this intersection for work. By standards of Austin's traffic, the 45th/MoPAC intersection isn't that bad. But, of course, this isn't about 'traffic'....
At this point, let's circle back to district 7. This issue highlights the single biggest difference between Natalie Gauldin and Leslie Pool. Donate to Natalie's campaign here.
Bottom Line: How is this even controversial?!?