There's a building at the corner of 13th Street and U Street in DC that's certainly not a historic structure. It's a strip mall-style building that houses a Rite Aide and, IIRC, a Pizza Hut. And it's going to be replaced by a newer bigger building. But a structure in that location needs to run the gauntlet of the Historic Preservation Review Board which, as you can read here, has decided the building should be shorter than the developer wants even though the developer's proposal is in line with the zoning.
What's maddening to me about these discussions is that the HPRB conducts its business in a totally free-floating way detached from any economic considerations whatsoever. Shrinking the building means shrinking the developers' profit margins. It also means shrinking the city's tax base. It means fewer customers for neighborhood businesses. Is that a price worth paying for the alleged aesthetic benefits of making the structure slightly shorter? Maybe the HPRB thinks that it is. But they haven't done any account of what they think the costs are. So if they don't have any theory of the costs, how can they have a theory of whether the benefits outweigh the costs?
TODAY IN SLATE
More Than Scottish Pride
IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
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Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows
The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything
It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.
Happy Constitution Day!
Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.