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How High Is Too High on Marietta Square?

Marietta City Council approves new height restrictions on the Square, but Councilman Philip Goldstein takes steps to challenge. Should Square aesthetics outweigh property rights?

The contentious battle between the Marietta City Council and its member Philip Goldstein over the development of Goldstein-owned property around Marietta Square has happened so long, it's a firm part of Marietta lore.

If talk about a favorite politician or sports team or cultural issue doesn't stir the soul of a true Marietta resident, just ask him or her what he or she thinks about Goldstein's downtown development plans or, most recently, his razing of the former two-story Cuthbertson Building that has left a gaping 10-foot hole on the north border of the Square.

In some ways, the debate is similar to conversations about the weather. Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it.

That began to change with a of the Marietta City Council in which it lowered height restrictions of new construction around Marietta Square from 85 feet to 54 feet. That directly hindered plans of Goldstein who wished to erect a 22,000-square-foot office building on the site that would presumably reach 66 feet in height.

Goldstein responded to the new ordinance by serving his fellow council members and Mayor Steve Tumlin with a 10-page challenge about the matter, contending that his family has constitutional objections. The challenge is a likely precursor to an actual lawsuit.

About a month ago, Marietta Patch challenged readers to , and we got some good ones along with some suggestions as to what to do it. (Feel free to add more suggestions below or at our Facebook page.)

That was a light-hearted "Marietta Shout Out." This week, we ask you to truly consider the implications of a height restriction or a lack thereof.

Our nation was founded partly on the principal of the right to own and use property free of most government interference, and yet the ability of government to impose certain restrictions on property use in the name of the public good has been upheld in court again and again and again.

Thus, a balancing act between the public good and the right of a property owner.

And the questions turn to you: What are your thoughts about the new Marietta Square building restrictions?

an80sreaganite March 29, 2011 at 03:39 PM
I tend to agree with Goldstein. It seems like EVERYTHING has to be regulated. Everything. I attended a county commissioners meeting earlier this year where there were about 100 changes, additions or clarifications added to the Cobb County Code. Some where absolutely ridiculous including clarifications of what a weed and what is not a weed. Really? Is this what we have a government for? To outlaw certain weeds? If Goldstein wants to and can afford to erect a skyscraper on his property, he should be allowed to do so....

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