Another take on Echo Harbor

05/01/2009 6:31 AM by

Writing for Style Weekly, Thad Williamson describes the conflict and politics at the core of the Echo Harbor proposal:

Should the public allow high-rise condos in a flood plain that blocks public view of the river, the very view that led William Byrd II to name the city Richmond? The developers, Falls Church-based USP Rocketts LLC, argue in effect that we should simply ignore the downtown plan, and its attractive vision for making the river the centerpiece of a revitalized downtown, in answering that question.

In the developer’s view, what’s important is not how use of that property fits into the overall plan to revitalize downtown, but whether it can be used in a way that maximizes revenue to the property owners. That single-mindedness led USP Rocketts’ lawyer, James Theobald, to tell the Planning Commission on April 20 that the downtown plan failed to respect private property and even amounts to a regulatory taking.



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