Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Council Meeting of Aug. 6 with video and commentary

This council meeting is only 45 minutes long. When everyone thinks just alike and almost nothing gets discussed, you can have some short meetings. The Council meeting could even be shorter if everything was put on a consent agenda. The whole agenda could be passes by a single vote. To see what was on the agenda and to see the analysis follow this link.

Proposed rule change: Councilman Duvall had proposed a Council rule change. The Rule Committee recommended against it and Duvall withdrew it. I do not know what the rule change was. The rules by which the Council operates can sometimes be important.

Confirmation of Appointment: There was only three, two pass and one is deferred one meeting. The Council never takes its responsibility of confirming appointments seriously and never questions the Mayors appointments.

Bills on Public hearings: The public hearings were without controversy. No one wanted to speak on any of the zoning bills.

Resolutions on the Consent Agenda: 
Only one resolution is pulled. from the consent agenda and  bills that pass on the consent agenda  includes the three bills to finalize the $14 million hockey ring at the old Hickory Hollow mall. I am very disappointing that no one thought this was a luxury we could not afford. (For more on this see here.)

Other Resolutions not on the Consent Agenda do not appear controversial. One is deferred indefinitely without explanation and Councilman Tennpenny defers a bill for one meeting because it concerns a project in his district and he was not notified of the bill prior to it being introduced. Councilman Tennpenny was right to have this bill deferred. Even is something is non-controversial, if it effects development in a particular council district, the district councilman should be informed and should be invited to sponsor he bill. The administration should not take council members for granted and ignore them. 

Bills on First Reading:
It is customary for bills on first reading to all pass as a group and not be discussed but a Councilman can vote against a bill or take other legislative action if they wish.

Councilman Scott Davis moves for a one meeting deferral of  BILL NO. BL2013-513 and BILL NO. BL2013-514. He along with Councilman Karen Bennett is a sponsor of the bills. These bills would establish the Gallatin Pike Urban Design Overlay on properties from the river to Briley Parkway. The desire of planners is to have fewer pawn shops and pay day lenders along this stretch of road, to have new building built to the sidewalk ,and to have parking in the rear of buildings.  These bills are being rushed to replace the Gallatin Road Specific Plan which did almost the same but which the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled was invalid because it did not comply with the provision of the law that allows Specific Plans. (To read about that decision, follow this link.)

While I share the desire of planners and many residents of east Nashville for fewer pawn shops and check cashing places and while if I lived in east Nashville, I too would want it to look like Hillsboro Village, you can't mandate that. Hoping to spur a different kind of development the city has spend million on new sidewalks and streetscape, but it is still an ugly street with pawn shops and payday lenders. You just can't ignore economics.  All the good plans in the world do not come to fruition if no one wants to build the way the planners dream. The result of the overlay has been that east Nashville does not have a grocery store.  A developer of a grocery store does not want to build up to the sidewalk on Gallatin Road. While they will build a Harris Teeter up to the sidewalk on Belmont Boulevard, they will not do so on Gallatin Rd. Planning can guide development if it doesn't get too far ahead of what investors are willing  to do. (For more, read: Randy Parham:  Gallatin Pike design overlay has stifled development)

There was a machine vote on the motion to defer one meeting. I am disappointing that some of the "good" council members did not support the motion to defer.  To see how they voted go to 33.57 in the video. 

BILL NO. BL2013-517 passed first reading. This is very bad bill that would establish a a permanent contractor minority set aside program for any project involving metro "participation."  For more on this bills follow this link.

Bills on Second Reading: They all pass without discussion.

Bills on Third Reading: There is no discussion or controversy.

The bill  that had previously generated some opposition that would rezone some property in Antioch to allow an asphalt plant (ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-103.) was deferred one meeting by the sponsor.

The rezoning of property in Woodbine that would allow a tire recapper to expand his business and use what is now a residential zoned property for parking (ORDINANCE NO. BL2013-353) was deferred two meetings by the sponsor.

Below is The Tennessean's report on the council meeting:

Metro finalizes plans for Antioch ice rink

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