Council meeting are more meaningful if you know what they are voting on. For a copy of the agenda, the council staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.
Here are the meeting highlights.
The prayer is offered by a Muslim cleric, guest of Mina Johnson.
Most of the meeting is taken up by public hearings on zoning matters. I fast forward through most of the public hearing and do attempt to understand the pros and cons of each boring zoning bill. Here are the ones of interest:
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2016-414, is a zoning bill in Councilman Scott Davis district. It is a disapproved bill by the Planning Commission and it takes 28 votes in favor to pass. This bill was on public hearing at the October 6th Council meeting in a different form. At that meeting it was deferred and rereffered to the Planning Commission and required to have a another public hearing on the bill in its new form. Before, it was a straight rezoning from a lesser density to a higher density. The substitute proposes an SP zoning but there is no site plan presented with the bill for the Planning Commissions consideration. I do not have an opinion on the merits of this bill, but anytime the Council is considering a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission, it is worth noting. Some members feel that the Planning Commission should never be overridden and others feel a district council member knows his district better than anyone else and his recommendation should be respected. Most members are probably somewhere between these two positions.
There are a lot people in the attendance supportive and more people opposed to the rezoning. The proposed units would be units for sale that would be affordably priced. It is much easier to turn people out in opposition than people in favor of something, so effort must have gone into turning out the proponents, but I don't know who was behind it. Maybe it was not an organized effort but it is hard to believe that many people would turn out in favor without an organized effort. The proponents are for the bill because they support affordable housing and would like to be able to buy a home in east Nashville. These are real people and not the normal affordable housing advocates. Opponents make the normal arguments about density, traffic, stress on infrastructure, and character of the neighborhood.
The Planning Committee of the council had recommended a deferral of the bill one meeting, so deferral is automatically deferred "by rule." The sponsor can bring the bill back and will not have to have another public hearing. To see the discussion on this bill see timestamp 14:00 - 1:19:30.
BILL NO. BL2016-477 and BILL NO. BL2016-478 are zoning bills related the Envision Casey plan. One cancels a Planned Unit Development in order to apply a Specific Plan (SP) zoning, the other changes some existing zoning for SP zoning. Envision Casey has been in the works for several years. It tears down an existing ugly public housing project and redevelops the property with a development that will be mixed income and mixed use. I like the concept of mixed income. I think it is better social policy to have poor people living amongst other people than all grouped by themselves. I think it is good for the children of welfare parents to see people who get up and go to work every day. None of the current residents will lose their home but even if they pay the minimal rent they will be moved into a brand new unit that is of the same quality as the units that will be for rent at market rates. While I think this is a better use of the land and will remove the eyesore of public housing and do not oppose this project, it does not quite seem right that someone who pays $40 a month will have a house nicer than what working people who pay $1000 can get. Both these bills pass without controversy. 1:28:21