I know at least one person who's expressed "Tower fatigue," but in the absence of other blog-worthy material, I'll draw once more from this dependable well.
In light of the pending proposals to limit height limits in Town Center, which would retroactively apply to the already-approved Tower project, the Sun today describes the ongoing legal debate about such legislation.
The presumption against retroactive laws, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul E. Pfeifer observed, "embodies a legal doctrine centuries older than our Republic."
Even children, he wrote in 2002, "understand this concept - they know, as we all instinctively did, that it isn't fair to change the rules in the middle of a game."
That doctrine, though, is being challenged in Howard County by proposals aimed at the plan for a multimillion-dollar residential and retail tower in Columbia.
The proposals have created a debate on numerous levels, ranging from claims that they are so egregious they would render the county's rules and regulations unpredictable to damaging its business climate to diminishing economic growth to crippling efforts to provide housing to low- and moderate-income families.
One question, though, supersedes all: Would the revisions, if enacted and imposed retroactively, be legal?
What follows is a chorus of yes's and no's from various players involved in this debate. Having not attended law school -- Maryland, Georgetown or otherwise -- I can't speak to the legality of such legislation, though I can say that it strikes me as patently unfair.
But I've said as much before. What I find interesting (and why I'm bringing it up now) is how the second paragraph quoted above complements this, from Cindy V:
1) If the best argument the developers can make “for” the size of the tower is “but you already said we could!” (picture a 12 year old who managed to get you to agree to something which you immediately regretted but are hesitant to renege on because you value your credibility) - which seems to me to be the only valid argument — then the answer needs to be “no”. However, it is important to behave like adults and negotiate a compromise that acknowledges the original error and “gives” a little something extra for the “inconvenience”.I don't think anyone is using that argument "for" the Tower. They are, however, using it rightly to oppose the legislation.
The arguments for (and for that matter, against) the Tower specifically and tall buildings generally encompass a range of issues -- aesthetics, infrastructure, economics, etc.
The retroactive height limits and the debate surrounding them, however, center on essentially one issue: fairness, one of the most basic and intuitively understood principles of our society.