Tenlacoius defense

A column in the Post today highlights an apparently failed attempt to combine a new library in the Tenleytown section of D.C. with new shops and apartments. Marc Fisher says:

The suburbs have had it with sprawl. The city wants to lure 100,000 new residents over the next 10 years. Sounds like the start of a beautiful friendship, right?

Ah, but do not underestimate the power of the oddest of cults, urban dwellers who believe that they inhabit some sylvan glade where nothing more shall be built -- ever. Purportedly liberal, these creatures reveal themselves to be fiercely conservative whenever it appears that other human beings might move into their neighborhood.
Exactly. The District's "city living, dc style!" marketing campaign is going to run into some serious difficulties if the current residents kill every proposed housing development that comes down the pike.

The city is not going to even try to come up with a mixed-use plan, because the neighborhood has continually struck down new residential developments. This tactic of "nothing new in my backyard", employed by seemingly every neighborhood in the Washington area, keeps property values prohibitively high for a lot of people (e.g. me).

How can a neighborhood smack in the middle of a city populated with 4.3 million people expect to retain a "suburban" feel? There was a Washington City Paper article this week about the same subject:

In all the battles, there's a common thread: When the city pushes, Tenleytown pushes back. Tenley residents want to live in Dupont Circle—except without the nightlife, the noise, the crowds, the traffic, or the homeless people. But there's more to urban living than professional neighbors, boutique shopping, art-house theaters, Thai food, and a convenient subway stop to shorten the commute. Cities are full of students and poor people. Cities are noisy, messy, and dense. Any quest to perfect the urban experience has just one flaw: The perfect city is not a city.
Maybe they can have their own slogan: "Stepford living, Tenleytown style!" It's captialized normally, because using all lower-case would just be too subversive to their way of life.

[Bruce] Lowrey, for one, spread the word in a letter dated Feb. 24, 2003, addressed to residents of the Tenley Hill condominiums. "The proposed apartment building at the Martens Volvo site across the street from Tenley Hill...will contain 193 [since amended to 191] apartments, a prime housing location for American University students," he warned. "So brace yourselves for the loud, all-night parties, fast cars and garbage."

His coalition's meetings are now held in Tenley Hill's community room; the condo dwellers add a new perspective to the typical anti-development screed. Cheryl Stovall, a Tenley Hill resident, says she has a particularly pressing interest in opposing any development across the street. "It's going to be bad for me," she says. "It's going to block my view."
OK, would somebody kindly tell these people that they live in a fucking city? Dear God... does this happen in any other cities? What if people in Manhattan had said, "Sorry, we're not letting you put any new buildings in! It would add to my commute and block my view!" These people are seriously under the delusion that they're living in a suburb, and that nobody else should be allowed to move in, ever.

Bleh. Disgusting. The next time you're cursing high property values, the shortage of housing, and out-of-control sprawl, throw in a little "fuck you" to all the Tenleytowns of the area who fence themselves in and don't tolerate newcomers.

(See my previous rant about failed "smart" growth and its effects on Washington.)

1 comment:

  1. James - If you are going to be so bold, make sure you get your story straight first above you say "OK, would somebody kindly tell these people that they live in a fucking city?" I was never opposed to the development and never stated "It's going to be bad for me. It's going to block my view." I never said anything of the sort. I am a developer and I actually said just the opposite. So, stop mis quoting me and watch your mouth unless you know what you are talking about. Thanks so much. Cheryl Stovall