At three and a half hours long, this is a longer council meeting that I thought it would be since there was not a lot of controversial stuff on the agenda. However, the Sylvan Park overlay pubic hearing takes almost two hours of the meeting.
To link to the agenda, the staff analysis and my agenda analysis, follow this link. The video is much more interesting if you follow along with an agenda. I do not summarize or even watch all of the public hearings. They normally are of interest only to nearby neighbors of the proposed rezoning, so if you are interested in a particular rezoning issue, you are on your on.
BILL NO. BL2014-772 on public hearing established new restrictions on a construction/demolition landfills and recycling facilities. While we need these facilities and they keep stuff out of the sanitary landfill that do not need to be in the landfill, they can create a nuisance and probably need these additional restrictions. There is no one speaking in opposition and this passes.
BILL NO. BL2014-807 on public hearing would expand the Sylvan Park Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District by about 40 acres and 700 homes. This is part two of a battle that was fought about seven years ago. If you remember all of the pink flamingos in the yards in Sylvan Park, that was the symbol adopted by opponents of the overlay to show their opposition. I myself live in a neighborhood with an overlay which among other things prevents someone from putting aluminum siding on their home and I am pleased that our neighborhood has it, but I can understand the opposition. With this proposed overlay, people would have to go to the Historical Commission for approval to make certain changes to their home. Also, small home could not be torn down to build much larger more expensive home. Most of those speaking in favor are wearing green arm bands and those in opposition are wearing the pink flamingo tee shires. There are a lot articulate rational argument and a lot of overblown passionate rhetoric on both sides on this issue. This is a lengthy public hearing. See time stamp 37.25- 2:49:00. Former Councilman John Summers is one of those speaking in favor. The bill is deferred indefinitely. That does not kill it, but it would have to come back for another public hearing if it is put back on the agenda.
BILL NO. BL2014-771 on Second reading creates a new code provision for a “contextual overlay district” which could be applied to a neighborhood to ensure that infill development is compatible with surrounding properties. It does such things as restrict the height to no more than 125% of nearby homes. Already the same thing can be accomplished with an Urban Design Overlay, but this would make it easier. I have mixed views of this, but tend to oppose it. There are some neighborhoods that have been transformed from neighborhoods with homes in the $75,000 to $100,000 range to neighborhood were the homes are worth up to $650,000. If this had been in place those transformation would not have occurred. These transformations do destroy “affordable” housing but they also respond to market demand which results in a higher tax base. Do we want upper middle class people to all move to Williamson County or do we want to let market forces make room for them to live in Davidson County? This passes on a voice vote.
BILL NO. BL2014-770 on third reading is the bill that would change the definition of duplex so one could have two units on a piece of property and they would not have to be artificially joined the way they are now, where two protruding utility rooms are the only thing joining the homes. It would also impose heights restrictions. It passes on a voice vote.
BILL NO. BL2014-776 on third reading would create the Music City Cultural Heritage Overlay District to protect our honky tonks. It would require all businesses on lower Broadway, 2nd Ave and Printers Alley to have live music or sale merchandise reflective of Nashville culture- think boots, cowboy hats, tee shirts, and tacky souvenirs. It would also ban chain establishments. This was spurred by the threat of Walgreens to open a store on Lower Broad. The buildings are already protected this would apply to use. I love lower Broad and the honky tonks, but this is just too restrictive. People may want a nice meal without live music after visiting the honky tonks all day and night. If this was already in place we would not have the Hard Rock Café. If this was in place, we would not have the ice cream store on lower Broad. We would not have the Merchants Hotel restaurant. We once had a Planet Hollywood on Lower Broad and while I did not particularly like it, it was better than an empty building. Do we want to stop House of Blues from opening in Nashville, if they wanted to do so? While I would not want to see it on Lower Broad, a sports memorabilia store, an art gallery, or a good antique store, or a candy store on Second Ave, may provide a better experience for tourist. This is just too restrictive. This has been disapproved by the Planning Commission. It is differed two meetings.