Thursday, July 21, 2016

(udate) What happend at the July 19th Council meeting: Bill to take property rights and stop affordable housing development in Antioch deferred, Fontanel zoning vote delayed, ...

BILL NO. L2016-219 that would strip property rights from a property owner in Antioch in

proposed The Ridge at Antioch
order to stop the development of an affordable housing development which was back on the agenda July 19th, was deferred until the meeting of  November 1st. To see my previous commentary on this issue follow this link

Today I spoke to Council member Karen Johnson about this issue. She explained to me that the Planned Unit Development on the property was approved in 1985.  Inactive PUDs can go away if after a certain period of time no action is taken to develop the property. The lifting of the PUD is not automatic however and is subject to a review process. The PUD on this property was undergoing such a review and most likely would have been lifted.  Without anyone informing the Council member, the developer had an action placed on the Consent agenda of the Planning Commission which further vested the property owner in the property rights associated with the PUD.  

Council member Johnson says she does not oppose development of affordable housing but does not want several affordable housing developments clustered in close proximity.  While the mere act of having a pending bill to downzone the property and lift the PUD may not stop the owner from exercising his current property rights, legal action has been taken to challenge the process of the Planning Commission. Until that legal challenge is resolved the project is on hold, Council member Johnson told me.   Johnson also said that discussions with THDA had resulted in the tax credits remaining available. She says Bill 219 would not have been necessary if the developer would have worked with her.

While I understand the frustration of Council member Johnson, I remain steadfast in my condemnation of this proposed lifting of the PUD and down zoning.  Bill 219 would lift the PUD which permits the development of the proposed 96-unit apartment complex but would also downzone the property from R-10 to RS-10. R-10 permits duplexes and RS-10 is single family only. In my view, property rights are as important as any rights we have and an owner's property should never be downzoned without their consent. A downzoning is a taking of property rights. Property should only be taken for a public purpose and the owner should be compensated.

If something inappropriate happened at the Planning Commission then the legal challenge is the appropriate way to deal with that.  This is complex and I myself do not understand all of the nuances of the issues surrounding the vesting of  PUD development rights and do not have a clear understanding of what happened at the Planning Commission that may have vested the owners PUD development rights which apparently were set to expire.  It does seem logical that at some point an inactive PUD should expire.  For those wanting more knowledge about the vesting of property rights, I suggest reading this article in the Tennessee Bar Journal Stick to the Plan, about the Vested Property Rights ACT of 2014.  If Council member Johnson, the property owner, or any other person knowledgeable with this issue would like to offer insight, I would welcome posted an essay. 

BILL NO. BL2016-266  which would amend the Mansion at Fontanel Specific Plan District to let Fontanel Properties add 136 rooms to the six-room Inn at Fontanel bed and breakfast-style luxury boutique hotel.  This proposal has has created considerable community opposition. At the July 19th meeting the bill was on third reading and deferred one meeting.  Here is The Tennessean's report: Fontanel zoning vote delayed.

To access a copy of the agenda and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link. As of the last time I looked on the day prior to the meeting the agenda analysis was not available, but it now is and you can get it at this link.

Here is the video of the meeting:
With the Republican National Convention going on this week and some work obligations and other interference,  I have not yet watched the video.  There is not much else of interest on the agenda and I simply may skip watching this meeting.  If I do update however, it will be "update 2."

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