To the editor:
At Thursday’s Historical Resources Commission meeting, the news broke that the Treanor/Compton group is withdrawing yet another of its proposals for the 900 N.H. lot. The proposal had been denied by the HRC; an appeal was to be considered by the City Commission tonight. The 900 N.H. proposal is controversial because of its enormous size at the border between downtown and East Lawrence.
Treanor/Compton appear willing to adjust the proposal detail by detail, until it is approved. The tactic is to wear opponents down — the time invested in this debate has been enormous, including paid lawyers. The wealthy developers can exhaust the limited resources of the community to pay for continuing the debate, as well as the energy to appear at meeting after meeting to see the “next” proposal.
This is a moment of truth for the city government. Treanor/Compton have wasted thousands of person-hours for city government in considering and reconsidering their proposals. I urge the commission to insist: (1) any proposal for development of this site should involve East Lawrence residents from the outset in its design; (2) building size should not exceed that of the Lawrence Arts Center; and (3) districtwide planning is critical. That is, City Commission should insist on a district study — covering the New Hampshire Street corridor from 11th Street to the river — before considering yet another slightly modified proposal. In other words, City Commission should avoid opportunity-driven, suboptimal, incremental planning and instead insist on intelligent, analyzed and strategic development for our city.