Sunday, August 16, 2015

BL 2015-1120, Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit overlay tool bill to be withdarwn.

Council member Burkley Allen had announced she plans to withdraw BL 2015-1120, the bill that would establish a tool to permit neighborhoods that are zoned "RS" to have Detached Accessory Dwelling Units. As she explains, this bill would not permit DADU's for any neighborhood, but would simply provide that tool if a neighborhood wanted the DADU overlay, permitting DADU's in their neighborhood.

I am disappointed this bill is being withdrawn.  Fortunately however, Ms Allen has been reelected and can reintroduce the bill in the next council.  That would be starting over and the bill would have to again be on public hearing.  I hope she does not give up on getting this passed and will reintroduce it in the next Council.CM Allen has worked hard on this bill and has addressed many of he concerns people have with it.

I know many people do not want this tool to be available.  They want to preserve Nashville the way it is.  Nashville is not going to remain the way it is.  We are growing. We need greater density if we are to avoid greater future urban sprawl, if we are to avoid more crowded roadways, if we are to expand the tax base so it is possible to pay for all of the city's debt without raising taxes, it we are to have good mass transit, and if we are to have affordable housing without resorting to mandates and counter productive price controls to achieve it.

DADU's are now permitted in districts zoned "R" but not in districts zoned "RS."  RS is a residential zoning that prohibits duplexes.  This is the email from CM Burkely that was posted to the Nashville Neighbors Google Group.

From: "Allen, Burkley (Council Member)" <>
Date: August 15, 2015 at 7:24:07 AM CDT
To: "Allen, Burkley (Council Member)" <>

Subject: BL 2015-1120 Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit overlay tool

 Dear Neighbors,
       I understand that there are concerns that this bill would change zoning in neighborhoods to allow  Detached Accessory Dwelling Units.   However, that is not what the bill does.  This is not a zoning change, and it does not apply anywhere.  This ordinance simply creates a tool similar to a historic overlay that a neighborhood could choose to implement if they determined that it was appropriate for them.  The passage of this ordinance would not change the zoning for any property in the county.
       I introduced this bill through the established process back in May.  It had all the required notices and public hearings.  I did not realize the need to go to neighborhoods because I was using an established tool, the overlay, with established DADU guidelines that had been put in place over a year ago with public input.  When I became aware that there were concerns among neighbors,  I held public meetings, scheduling them as soon as I could while still allowing time for adequate notice.
    I have continued to listen to concerns and to offer and accept amendments that would address those concerns.  In response to the concern that this would be a tool for investors rather than neighbors, I have written an amendment to require that  a minimum of 30 contiguous lots be included.  In response to concerns that this would lead to demolition of existing homes, I have accepted an amendment to prohibit demolition of the principal structure within 3 years of building a DADU.  In response to concerns about the widespread use of DADU’s for short term rental, I have agreed to revisit the STRP regulations and include the DADU category in the 3% limit  that would greatly restrict the use.
          Because there is still so much mistrust about this bill, however, I plan to withdraw it on third reading. I have had some good discussion and have ideas for a more targeted tool that I will discuss with neighborhoods before anything is reintroduced.   My intention has never been to harm neighborhoods, and it is important to me to have their support.

Kind regards,
Burkley Allen
Metro Council 18th District

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1 comment:

  1. Rod, I appreciate and enjoy your blog. Please keep up sharing information.

    BL2015-1120, however, is not a good proposal for several reasons. It was placed on the Planning Commission's consent calendar and received less than one minute of discussion, all of it from the sponsor Ms. Allen. Grassroots meetings were never conducted in advance of the proposal, only after some astute residents realized its sweeping nature. 1120 would enable, not enact, unwanted DADU overlays in RS-zoned neighborhoods. The amendments are discomforting to say the least, in particular the 30-lot contiguous amendment that is the camel's nose under the tent; basically, advocates would get it on the books and then get the number down to 20, 10 ... you see the point). Residents will be forced to fight proposal after proposal before the 10-person Planning Commission, whose members are appointed, not elected.

    Many neighborhoods like mine went to RS zoning to preserve character and livability. We cherish our property values and family values, both important investments. Duplexes became a problem before we went to RS zoning 10 years ago. You should see one duplex on our street that has seven cars in the yard. 1120, as drafted, will lead to a city-wide proliferation of AirBnBs, which will lead to increased noise, traffic and crime, and enforcement challenges by Metro that are occurring in Belmont-Hillsboro Village (see Channel 4's story last month). My neighbors and I do not want transients coming in and out every day, people we don't know, around small children. People who already rent in our neighborhood are often discourteous and have loud, late-night parties into the early morning. 1120 would increase that problem, even as amended.

    This issue isn't about "affordable housing" options and helping seniors earn more income. It's about growing the tax base, as you note, and currying favor with big developers. In doing so, neighborhoods' character will be forever transformed, sending more taxpaying homeowners to other counties, in effect contributing to urban sprawl. There are smart density solutions that are occurring in neighborhoods that want DADU overlay, but that is their choice. One-size-fits-all proposals like this are anti-family, anti-individual, and crony capitalist (anti-smart growth).

    I hope we can at least agree that the process for 1120 was less than democratic.

    Thanks again for what you're doing. Jim Brown