Violent by Any Measure
I usually sail right by the headlines, but your "Violent Crime in County Fell in First Half of 2005: But Rapes, Robberies Were Up From 2004" [Extra, Sept. 29] horrified me. I can't imagine any crime much more violent than a rape. A keener proofing and a bit more editorial sensitivity would be much appreciated.
Less Is More for Neighbors
Larry Cafritz, a partner in the Bethesda-based Laurence Cafritz Builders, is distorting reality when he says that a bill that would reduce the 35-foot height limit that is in effect in most residential zones will stymie homeowners "who dream of one day renovating or expanding their homes." The 35-foot height limit has been in effect since 1958. Homeowners were never the ones to avail themselves of it. The option to go to 35 feet has been used only very recently by developers who tear down old homes and build new ones that max out to the legal limit on both height and lot coverage. No resident who wants to build an addition, even doubling the size of his existing home, will be adversely affected by a somewhat lower height restriction.
On the contrary, homeowners only stand to gain from this effort to control "mansionization" in older neighborhoods where houses stand only five to seven feet from each other and lots are small. The fact is the Department of Permitting Services allows pre-war setbacks to be used for homes built today. These new structures are 31/2 times the size of the homes for which those setbacks were designed.