Other than things like the Observation deck, why do you need such a view distance? I find that I am generally safer using 'normal' distance most of the time, rather than 'far'. I can see approaching mobs before I am within firing range. Anything else just needs exploring.
There is a server setting that limits the view distance. By default it is set to 10, which is what we use. When it was first introduced, there were reported server issues if you overstressed it. Since we are soon going to MC 1.0, any new mods would quickly need to be updated so I wouldn't want to introduce anything new right now. Furthermore, once the Sanctuary border is increased and Frontier is started, people's gameplay will change.
This is what the wiki says about view-distance:
Type: number (3-15)
The amount of world data the server sends the client, measured in chunks in each direction of the player. The server-side viewing distance. The "Far" viewing distance is 9 chunks. 10 is the default/recommended. Tip: if you have major lag, reduce this value.
Introduced in Beta 1.6