The conflicts that arose around the establishment and enforcement of building lines foreshadowed the events that followed the release of the report, demonstrating the doctrinal and governmental limits facing both professional planners like Gilbert and Olmsted and their local patrons and supporters in prominent civic organizations.
For planning proponents, the establishment of building lines enabled cities to widen streets without having to take improved land and, therefore, to pay less compensation under the power of eminent domain.
Building lines were among the oldest forms of municipal land use controls in New Haven.
His suggested solution to the shortcomings of municipal politics was the establishment of a permanent building lines commission, "constituted somewhat after the manner of a Park Commission and acting through a Building Line Bureau in the City Engineer's Department.
The reading of Olmsted's report at a February 1910 meeting of the Aldermanic Committee on Building Lines caused some controversy among property owners.
The Building Lines Commission, therefore, was a governmental entity intended to perform one regulatory task that the city charter had initially authorized almost ninety years before.
Gilbert and Olmsted's report, intended to describe the current state of New Haven in its entirety and to propose a plan for its future, was published less than a year before the establishment of the Building Lines Commission.
103) As was the case with Olmsted's earlier report on building lines,(104) however, the Gilbert-Olmsted report supported a piecemeal approach.