All those who like to call me an anti-government crank, get ready. The city's new Southeast Area Development Strategy involves lots of planning and incentives, encouraging certain types of businesses and discouraging others:
It targets several areas for commercial and residential development, and even suburban development, Holocher said, because some southeast residents said they would like suburban housing, but no new suburban developments exist on the southeast side.
Beyond pointing developers toward targeted areas, the plan would strive to stimulate private investment through public incentives such as grants and tax abatements.
It also would discourage some types of development. Holocher said the creation of designated low-income housing ought to bypass the southeast side until such housing is more “balanced” throughout the city's quadrants. Similarly, the city ought to discourage such commercial operations as pawnshops and payday lenders in the area, she said.
It's nice that other areas of town are going to be allowed to catch up on their number of pawnshops and payday lenders. I'll bet you can driver for miles in Aboite without finding either.
Certainly we should attack blight and improve conditions as much as we can for the southeast quadrant, and it makes sense to give that part of town the most attention first. But I get the feeling sometimes that planners are the last people left who think we can create some type of utopia in which all parts of town are equally beautiful, its citizens equally fed and in comparable houses. But there will always be poverty, realatively speaking, at the bottom end of the scale, and the poor have to live somewhere. If we make the southeast side absolutely perfect, those people will just go somewhere else, where there is housing they can still afford and there are those nasty pawnshops and payday loan places that they need, whether we approve of them or not.