The right move

Published 12:15 am Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Washington City Council’s decision last week not to support a proposal to convert the former Hotel Louise and Belk buildings downtown into low-income housing for senior citizens on fixed incomes is a good decision.

Not that there’s anything wrong with providing affordable housing to senior citizens on fixed incomes, but there are higher and better uses for those buildings, uses that would be more beneficial to the city and its taxpayers. As Councilman Doug Mercer noted, the proposal presented by Landex Companies is not compatible with the development plans for the downtown/waterfront area, plans endorsed by the city in 2009.

A waterfront hotel, situated about where the old Hotel Louise and Belk building are located, is a prominent component of that plan. A waterfront hotel and commercial uses associated with it likely would bring more revenue to the city and county than apartments.

With its decision last week, the council is looking out for the best interests of the city and its taxpayers.