Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Building Up, Tearing Down

This morning's DUQ local news report reported Councilman Bill Peduto proposed a bill limiting construction near residential areas to between 10 PM and 6 AM. Peduto, whose principled leadership dampened the panties of hundreds of youthful activists, thinks his constituents are unduly impacted by "...all the construction going on in the East End!" Standard sort of take from a City Council myopically focused on residents and skeptical of businesses: "You can make money here, just play by our rules."

I agree with Peduto that we should make demands of those looking to build in Pittsburgh, but councilmen like Peduto have had hundreds of equally great ideas over the past 250 years of our city's existence. The city has hundreds of small (often onerous) rules governing design review, use of funds, labor costs, minority participation, sewer/water line taps, lead paint remediation, historic district designations, material uses, placement of dumpsters, placement of air conditioners, types of landscaping material, etc. Rules are enforced by unresponsive, jaded bureaucrats who often dont know the rules, but are willing to fine for what they perceive as a violation. The "you need to play by our rules," isnt a bad theory unless you have too many god damned rules to play by, you enforce them haphazardly and disporportionately, and you dont help businesses follow them. Time is money, and rules are time. Do the math, and you see why construction is going to Wexford.

Peduto took a strong stand against suburban sprawl in the election, playing rock-star to his lefty supporters. If he really wants to tackle the issue of suburban sprawl, he should be trying to figure out how to make the city business friendly. But then again, how sexy is remedying a charged problem like sprawl with pro-business functionality. Something tells me our political rock-star won't dampen too many panties in the movement with a pro-business bent.

Construction Ruins a Good Nite's Sleep

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