Thursday, August 26, 2010

A tale of two cities

There's been quite a public debate of late regarding the fate of a certain parcel of land in a certain highly-prized district that also carries with it a significant emotional attachment for certain groups of people.

Now I'm not one to casually dismiss the emotional attachment people have for places, buildings, cars, or whatever. Especially when the place and buildings in questions are now so intricately woven into our collective identity.

But in cases that involve private property rights (which, really, are just an extension of personal freedom), it's helpful to take an objective look at the facts, lest we inadvertently set a precedent that we might live to regret later.

So the facts are these:
  • The property is privately owned.
  • The city has zoning codes and usage ordinances in place to ensure that any construction is appropriate for the site in question.
  • Our laws and constitution guarantee protection equally to everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, etc.
I understand that to those with a strong emotional interest in the preserving the purity of this historical site, the proposed building project seems insensitive and inappropriate. Those people certainly should voice their opinions, as they have a constitutional right to.

But let us not use the heavy hand of government to deny those with whom we disagree the very property rights we hold dear for ourselves.

Change can be scary, but it can also be positive and is often accompanied by opportunity. Highwoods Properties and Polsinelli Shughart should be allowed to build the building they proposed*.

Let us not stand in the way of economic progress and cultural understanding. It's fine to remember the past, but not at the price of sacrificing our future.

*Perhaps they could gain public support by including an "Islamic Community Center" on one or two floors of the building.

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  1. It's not the building I oppose, it's the Mosque they're putting in the building.

  2. All that said, Three, the original proposal really was butt-ugly AND architecturally inappropriate. Just by some of us speaking up, they agreed and changed their minds, so now they're saving the Balcony Building, with no government involvement at all, to date. The system, if there is one, the marketplace, worked.

    Now let's see if the city steps in and makes the Plaza a historic district. I doubt they will but I'm sure people will be pushing for it.

    Mo Rage
    the blog


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