Friday, September 12, 2014

UPDATE: The Metro Council meeting of 09/09/2014: The end of the tall skinny Nashville duplex meeting.

Council meeting are more interesting if you can follow along with an agenda and and analysis. You can get your own copy of the agenda and analysis by following the links. This is a boring meeting and not much of interest occurs.

There are twelve appointments to boards and commissions on the agenda for Council approval. They are all recommended by committee 8-0 and they pass the Council unanimously. None of the appointments were to the troubled or controversial commissions or agencies.

There are eight rezoning  bills on pubic hearing and they would interest no one except nearby neighbors and there are no long drawn out public hearings.

All resolution on the agenda pass. None of them are very noteworthy. Three of the resolutions were not on the Consent agenda and I am unsure why. On two of them, Charlie Tygard had questions. These are normally question that Tygard would have asked in Budget and Finance Committee if he was on that committee, but Vice Mayor Neighbors did not reappoint Tygard to the Committee and Tygard said he would ask his questions from the council floor and that looks like what is going on. 

There are 23 bills on First Reading and they all pass. First reading is just a formality that allows a bills to be on the agenda. Instead of considering the bills individually, they are all lumped together and pass by a single vote. Bills are not analyzed or discussed until they pass first reading and then go to committee.

There are eleven bills on Second Reading and none of them are of much interest and they all pass.

There are eleven bills on Third and Final Reading. Here are the ones of interest. 
A tall skinny Nashville Duplex
BILL NO. BL2014-770, the bill to change the definition of "duplex" and end the tall skinny barely-joined Nashville Duplex is back on the agenda and this time it passes. It had been deferred several times.  It changes 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 also impose heights restrictions. If the units are built to be joined, then a greater portion of the building would have to share a common wall. There is only one amendment offered. The bill is amended to provide a grandfather provision so that those who have already filed an application for a building permit could build under the current standards if they wanted to do so instead of this new standard. There was a talked about proposed amendment that would have required attached garages to be entered from an alley, if there is an alley and to require attached garages not face the street and a restriction on how much of the front yard could be driveway or paved parking and would do some other things which in my view would have make this a better bill but that proposed amendment did get introduced. I don't know what happened to it. While I would have liked this bill better had those talked about changes been added to the bill, nevertheless, I think this is a good bill. (See time stamp 36:36 - 41:44 for the discussion.) 
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2014-841 establishes a formula for how big an outdoor residential dog pen must be based on the number of dogs and how much they weigh and what would happen if a dog has pups and how much headroom a dog must have it the pen is enclosed and how high an open pen must be. This passes unanimously.
BILL NO. BL2014-847 requires contracts for the companies that lobby the State on behalf of Metro government  and it requires that reports be submitted to the Metropolitan Council detailing what the Metro lobbyist is lobbying for and what the goals of the lobbying effort is and what the impact would be of the outcome the lobbyist is seeking. This is a good bill but I wish it was even stronger. It passes with no discussion or dissension.
 Below is the Tennessean's report on the Council meeting:
 Metro Council reins in duplex heights with new rules
by Michael Cass, The Tennessean, September 9, 2014 - The thin duplexes on small lots that some Nashville residents have come to call “tall skinnies” won’t be allowed anymore after the Metro Council voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for new regulations on two-family residential buildings.
The council voted 33-1..(link)

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