Though there may be unsavory types hanging around on occasion, state Capitols aren't hideouts; they're meant to be seen. Arkansas has erred in the past by allowing private development that partially blocks the view of its Capitol. Let us learn from our mistake.
The Capitol Zoning District Commission is considering an application to erect a five-story office building on Sixth Street opposite the Capitol. The project would require the Commission to amend its current regulations, which permit a building no taller than three stories on the chosen site. The Commission has received about 130 communications in support of the proposed construction, including letters from contractors and others with a vested interest in such matters. Many of the letters are form letters, and in many cases, multiple letters were received from one address – 17 in one instance, 11 in another, 3 or 4 in a great many.
More than 90 communications opposing the plan have been received, some from neighborhood improvement groups and community activists. A couple of legislators, Reps. Kathy Webb and Darrin Williams, both Democrats from Little Rock, are among the opponents. The application is on the agenda for the Zoning Commission's Aug. 25 meeting.
The Capitol is the seat of government, and a handsome building in its own right. It should be flaunted, not hidden.