Noting neighborhood concerns about blight on the blocks, which are largely owned by controversial landlord Hugh Sisley, and the widespread belief that the city council has failed to listen to residents' concerns about increasing heights near the high school, Burgess writes that nonetheless, he supports increasing heights to 65 feet
because, by allowing the higher height, the Council can mandate many of the types of amenities the neighborhood wants. If passed, the legislation we will consider tomorrow, mandates landscaped setbacks at the ground level to achieve wider sidewalks and wider view corridors to the high school, further setbacks between 35 and 45 feet to create building modulation and an even wider view corridor, incentives for workforce housing, a requirement that any off-street parking that may be offered go underground, residential units only on Northeast 66th Street facing the high school except at the corners of the buildings, and preservation of appropriate scaling to the east across 15th Avenue Northeast which has an existing 40 foot height limit. I understand many in the neighborhood may not be satisfied with this option, but I support it as the best way to honor the core values of the neighborhood and achieve the kind of concentrated density we have established as city policy.
Read the whole thing here, and watch the council's meeting live here.