Phoning it in

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Phoning it in

The June 24th city Planning Commission discussion of placement of Verizon’s cell phone towers on school property was misdirected [“City can’t consider cell tower health risks,” Government News, July 1, 2008]. The discussion focused entirely on the aesthetics of the towers, rather than the primary issue of why to overturn the city’s existing ban on placing the towers on school property in the first place. Citizens shouldn’t have to fight with the city Planning Commission and Verizon on each and every location Verizon selects, such as Greenbrier elementary school. The Planning Commission is likely to enact the spoon-fed text changes to zoning law supplied by Verizon, potentially letting them put up a tower anywhere they want. How about the Planning Commission step up to the plate and discuss 1) why it’s a good idea to overturn the ban and 2) what general limitations should be made on where Verizon could build them. The problem is that would involve some real deliberations and thought that I don’t think the Planning Commission is willing to give the issue. So in the end, Verizon gets everything they want, and our children and our city loses.

Paul Yates
Charlottesville

The cultural police

I consider it extremely unfair that Read It Again Sam’s used bookstore on the Downtown Mall is being forced to discontinue its few small carts of used books displayed outside the store, because of complaints that the Mall is becoming “an obstacle course” [“City, stores clash over carts,” Development News, July 1, 2008].

Why single out Sam’s when most of the Mall is taken up with outdoor eating areas, and huge vendor tables? Sam’s books at least offers a little cultural browsing and diversity at reasonable prices amongst the growing number of upscale, useless shops that cater to the few who can afford them. Slowly, the Mall is losing much of its character and appeal that made it so enjoyable in the past.

Can it be that, once again, money is the deciding factor in this decision? Surely a reasonable compromise can be made—designer-carts?

Alma Cunningham
Charlottesville

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