December 3, 2013

Regarding Jonetta Rose Barras’s Dec. 1 Local Opinions column “Praise for a towerless D.C.”:

Finally, a prominent commentary in The Post countering the view that higher is better in the District. The District is lovely and graceful because of the 1910 building height act. Keeping it that way is important for the entire country as well as for residents. Washington is, after all, the nation’s capital and not just another city.

As Ms. Barras noted, higher buildings do not necessarily mean affordable housing; just look at New York City. Certainly it’s not good to stuff the poor and the elderly into high-rise apartments. Recall the tall, crime-ridden public housing buildings that have been demolished in many large cities. And it isn’t fair to make neighborhoods outside downtown suffer even taller buildings than current zoning allows. The only real beneficiaries of such a change would be land speculators and real estate developers. Meanwhile, the rest of us would lose.

Loretta Neumann, Washington

I take great pleasure in the fact that D.C. leaders have so far rejected requests to increase building heights in the city.

As a longtime resident of the planned community of Reston, I have become increasingly unhappy with what can only be called the “canyonization” of the Town Center area and beyond. Reston is looking more and more like Manhattan, with long rows of sky-high buildings creating long canyons way out of scale to the surrounding areas. Lovely, low-scale condo buildings were knocked down earlier in the year. In their place, two tall condo buildings are rising, blocking the line of sight for the remaining condos in that area and hovering over the traffic at the intersection of Reston Parkway and Temporary Road.

It’s sad to see these and other “improvements.” We should create high beauty, not high density.

Gail Greenberg, Reston