As basic chemistry tells us, gas seeks an equilibrium. You cannot long have a single space filled half with high-density gas and half with low-density gas. The high density gas would rush to the other side and even out the pressure in the room. Thus it is with the ANC. You might write up a tight two hour agenda, but that high-density schedule is bound to spread out and take up the full three hours the space will allow.
And the theme of air, density and equilibrium is a pretty good place to start the discussion today. The agenda last night had seven projects that included rear additions to the buildings in question. Whenever a project like that comes before the commission, it’s just a matter of time before the words “open space” and “light” are evoked to reject the proposal. However, last night it was Commissioner Birch who boiled all these concerns down to a single word: air.
What the word air really means is the right to look out through other people’s properties. Actually, in England they have an appropriately fussy name for it: Ancient Lights. It’s a quasi-right over other people’s “air” that in some circumstances enables you to block construction that will block the sunlight.
And GM is fine with that. Continue reading