I am writing as a citizen of the city of Richmond and a property owner in downtown Richmond. I vehemently take exception to some of the recent statements regarding Bob Mills ("Planning Chair Seeks Self-Preservation?" Street Talk, Jan. 23).
Mills is arguably the most qualified person in the city to make reasonable and well-thought-out decisions regarding older buildings. He has worked on countless historic renovations and reuses, possibly more than anybody else in Richmond. Richmond's largest reuse project ever is the $100 million Miller & Rhodes/Hilton project; guess whose firm drew the literally hundreds of pages of plans. Mills is a man of integrity, and I have absolutely no qualms whatsoever about a conflict of interest.
Flynn knows better than anybody that there is absolutely no truth to her accusations of a so-called conflict of interest because she knows better than anybody that VCU does not answer to the Planning Commission. Yet she continues to publicly propagate this "problem of perception." Some might say she's just playing the typical behind-the-scenes games expected of local government bureaucrat; others might be less diplomatic and say she is being dishonest. Whatever the case, Flynn's publicly speaking out against the volunteer Planning Commission chairman exemplifies poor leadership and gives the perception of an out-of-control city government.
The real problem is that some individuals think they know what's best for somebody else's property. One example is that some preservationists think that the one and only consideration for the MCV building should be its "historic significance" -- rather than what is best for MCV. (Ask a patient which is more important: keeping an old building or having a better hospital.)
With the stroke of a pen, Ms. Flynn has officially designated private property as a public park and arbitrarily reduced potential development on other private property without compensating the owner. This so-called planning is nothing less than a taking of property rights, known as "regulatory taking." Regulatory taking is wrong on so many fronts, not the least of which is its illegality; unfortunately, it is all too common in today's government. Terrell Bowers, Manager
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