Monday, August 21, 2006

Dog Days of Summer

The Growler has been enjoying a little hiatus from the hard work of blogging, but it's time to get back into the groove.

Lightning Strikes Twice

What's happening with the 1100 block of Queen Street? In less than a month, businesses there have been burglarized twice. One of the victims was Sarge's Restaurant, a neighborhood institution for many years.

In recent years property crimes have been fairly uncommon in this neighborhood, even though there are crack heads with habits to feed. And there seems to be an unspoken rule about not touching the black-owned businesses on Queen Street. So it's startling and discouraging to see this new trend.

Could it have anything to do with the strangers that have started hanging out at Princess and Fayette in recent months. With fewer ties to the neighborhood, they may feel less constrained about cherished spots like Sarge's. What are the police and code enforcement doing about the unofficial drug rehab houses at Fayette and Princess, which seem to be drawing the hangers-on like a magnet? Residents are definitely concerned.

At the BAR

Last month the Growler tuned in to Comcast Channel 70 (the local government channel) to watch the Parker-Gray BAR hearing, and was pleasantly surprised to hear a lengthy discussion about ethics initiated by former ICCA officer and BAR member Philip Moffet.

Most of the debate was about what to do when the BAR hears a case that has a direct impact on one of the members. Mr. Moffet set the pace earlier in the hearing by recusing himself in the 804 Pendleton Street case, where the proposed house abuts his own property. The group decided not to set standards that differ from the Old & Historic BAR and to take counsel from the City Attorney as needed when individual issues arise.

The Growler congratulates the BAR for acknowledging that ethics do count.

Manifest Destiny

The Growler has heard talk about expanding the boundaries of the Parker-Gray District, but are some people taking it too far?

Realtor Martine Irmer recently sent out another of her postcards, entitled "2006 2nd Quarter Parker Gray Activity." It includes sales of houses in the 100 and 300 blocks of Prince Street in the heart of the "southeast quadrant" as well as 816 Cameron, all of which are officially part of the Old & Historict District? (Re Cameron Street, funny how the boundaries of O&H expand whenever a neighborhood becomes majority white. But more about that another time ...)

Could these houses have been included because they all sold for nearly $1 million or more, while the houses that were indisputably part of Parker-Gray went for less than $750,000?