Patrick Dwyer, in his misguided diatribe against historic districts {Close to Home, June 21}, bemoans the closing of neighborhood businesses, yet protests his own store's inclusion in a historic district. Apparently he fails to comprehend the integral relationship between the preservation of small commercial buildings and the fostering of small businesses, as well as the importance of inhibiting large-scale projects, which, by their nature, exclude small, viable neighborhood stores and services. (Compare, for example, the vitality of the 900 block of F Street NW, part of the Downtown historic district, with the stultifying new development that occupies one entire side of the 1200 block.)

Mr. Dwyer suggests that historic district designation stifles racial and ethnic diversity, yet recoils at the prospect of his store's becoming an "Ethiopian, Latin or Caribbean restaurant."

Mr. Dwyer complains about a recent 46.2 percent rise in his property assessment. Yet the fact that this assessment had already risen 225 percent over the previous six years would seem to indicate that property values in his neighborhood were already increasing rapidly, regardless of historic district designation. Although I can sympathize with Mr. Dwyer's concerns about excessive taxation, he should keep in mind that it is not the Kalorama Citizens Association that assesses properties and levies taxes, but rather the D.C. government, to which he has recourse through elected officials.

In short, it seems to me that Mr. Dwyer is barking up the wrong tree. MARK SCHARA Washington