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Wittenberg said the complaints give the city a reason to pursue the moratorium, but acknowledged it could be seen as sending the wrong message.
“It could be seen to send the message that we don’t want investment” in that part of the city, he said.
Two weeks to sort it out
Wittenberg said in the next two weeks officials with the city planning, public works and regulatory services departments will work as a “cross-department team,” discussing gaps in city ordinances and in enforcement of construction regulations.
“Ideally we’d also work cooperatively with the [building] industry to see if they’ll agree to some things,” he added.
Palmisano said constituents she encountered in her run for office last year expressed grave concerns about construction disruption and zoning laws and enforcement, as well as larger issues such as housing affordability and what many see as the changing character of neighborhoods.
Many in the housing business have said they felt blindsided by the moratorium, which they said was imposed without discussion or advance notice. Palmisano has said that advance notice would have caused a rush on teardowns — the very thing she is trying to temper. Officials at the hearing said there is no legal requirement for public notice of a moratorium.
At least two of the five neighborhood associations in Palmisano’s ward — in Fulton and Lynnhurst — have taken positions opposed to the moratorium while supporting her aims in addressing construction issues. The Linden Hills Neighborhood Council is expected to take a position in a special meeting Monday. The other two neighborhoods are Kenny and Armatage.
Since 1998, the city has authorized 16 moratoriums, but only two have targeted single- and two-family housing.
Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646