Thursday, January 7, 2016

What happened at the Council Meeting of 1/5/16: Mayor Barry addresses the Council, promises lots of new sidewalks. ...

...Council advances an overlay for Waverly-Belmont, a disapproved zoning bill in North Nashville deferred. 

Following the opening prayer and pledge, Mayor Barry addresses the council and reports on her first 100 days in office. She announces that she is launching a major sidewalk expansion program and will be following established sidewalk priority guidelines but will also be meeting with each district council member for their input on where sidewalks are needed. She also said the sidewalk and bike master plan would be undated. She promises her administration will be building a lot of sidewalks. She announces she will be building a new police headquarter proposing it for Murfreesboro Pike near where the new family criminal justice center is being build and will soon be holding neighborhood meeting to answer questions and engage the community. Her comments end at time stamp 5.57.

I am pleased to see her emphasis on new sidewalks. I think everyone sees the need. I have observed that we waste a lot of money building sidewalks and have little to show for it.  We tear up sidewalks that are still serviceable and replace them with new sidewalks instead of building sidewalks were there are none.  I think building new sidewalks should have priority over replacing merely cracked sidewalks.  I hope she builds sidewalks much smarter than the Dean administration. I am also pleased that Mayor Barry is attempting to engage the community rather than just dictating policy. While Mayor Barry was not my preferred candidate for mayor, I think she is off to a good start.

To see my commentary on the meeting and to get the link to your own copy of the council staff analysis of the agenda and a copy of the agenda, follow this link. Below is summary of the balance of the meeting. I do not cover every bill, only those that seem important and I do not make much of an effort to learn the issues behind each zoning bill, so there may be a zoning bill that some think is very important but I miss.

Appointees to Boards and Commissions are confirmed.

Bills on Public Hearing:

  • BILL NO. BL2015-81 is a bill which is disapproved by the Planning Commission and rezones 9.2 acres off on Clarksville pike which would allow the construction of between 72 to 120 apartment units of what is considered "workforce housing" which is another term for affordable housing. Here is a link to a Tennessean story about the The planning Commission's unanimous vote to disapprove the bill. Several people speak in favor and in opposition to  the bill. The leader of the group North by Northwest speaks in favor. Opponents include Carl Meyer a leader of a neighborhood organization.  People opposed to develop always list increase traffic as a concern and so do the opponents of this bill. Another thing opponents of this rezoning mention is that an apartment complex of affordable housing will increase crime in the area.  Some of the comments on this bill are reflective of the problem of building affordable housing - not Section 8 housing or public housing, but housing that is priced to be affordable for persons who make less than the average income. People in principle say they want affordable housing for Nashville but no one seems to want it in their neighborhood.  The bill is deferred one meeting. It appears to be the councilman's intent to change the bill from a bill that just changes the base zoning to allow the greater density to a bill that changes it to SP.   Under SP zoning, design standards established for that specific development are written into the zone change ordinance. Some of the concern was access to the site from neighboring side streets and traffic patterns. With SP the layout of the site and access points can be specified.  I think a proper motion would be to defer and re-refer to the Planning Commission but the councilman doesn't do that. To win final council approval, with the Planning Commissions disapproval, will require 27 votes. To see action on the bill see time stamp 17:45 - 53:55.
  • BILL NO. BL2015-84  which would establish the Waverly Belmont Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District passes second reading. This would restrict the tearing down of existing housing and building a very large home or two large homes on the lot.  On some streets in this part of town, there are more big new houses than original smaller houses.  I understand the desire to preserve the character of the neighborhood but a consequence of not allowing the character to change and more expensive homes to be build is that our tax base does not keep pace with the demand for more spending.  Also by restricting this type of tear-down and replacement with larger homes in one area puts more pressure for this to occur on those areas adjacent to the area with the overlay.  It shifts the problem and intensifies it for neighboring neighborhoods. For more information see the Tennessean reporting on the issue. For the discussion, see time stamp 56:35-1:15:16.
All resolutions pass on the consent agenda and all bills on first reading pass without discussion.

BILL NO. BL2015-94 which amends the code pertaining to Short Term Rental Property passes second reading.

Bills on Third reading pass except a couple which are deferred. Nothing interesting happens.

Below is The Tennessean's reports:
Megan Barry proposes new police HQ on Murfreesboro Pike

 Seven months after the Metro Council rejected plans to relocate the city's police headquarters to historic Jefferson Street, new Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has now proposed a new site for the administrative facility: Murfreesboro Pike.

Barry, making her second appearance before the Metro Council in just four months in office, announced plans Tuesday for a community input process on moving the police headquarters from the downtown Criminal Justice Center to an 8-acre property that Metro owns at 600 Murfreesboro Pike near Foster Avenue.
The new headquarters would be located adjacent to a new $20 million Family Justice Center set to open on the corridor at the former site of Carl Black Chevrolet. (read more)

Waverly-Belmont overlay advances in Metro Council

Restrictions intended to protect the historic character of the rapidly changing Waverly-Belmont and 12South neighborhoods advanced in the Metro Council on Tuesday, putting the set of proposals on track for final approval later this month.

After an hourlong public hearing — one dominated by supporters who wore bright neon-green T-shirts — the council voted unanimously on a second of three readings to approve a conservation overlay that would limit new home construction and demolition on 152 acres in a part of town that has become a real estate hotbed. (read more)

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