Tuesday, August 2, 2016

What's on the Council Agenda for Aug. 2? Housing price-fixing and free parking for old people,

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, August 2nd at 6:30 PM. To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person, if you are so inclined, but unless you are trying to influence a Council member and think your presence in the audience will exert an influence, I don't know why you would want to.

Meetings are broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and are streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site. You can catch them the next day on the Metro YouTube channel. If you will wait, I will watch it for you and post the video and point out the good parts so you can go to that point in the video and watch just that segment. Also, I will tell you what I think about what happened.  Council meetings are really boring and I watch them so you don't have to.

If you are going to watch a council meeting, you really need the agenda and  the Council staff analysis or you won't even have a clue about what is going on. 

Here is my commentary and analysis of the agenda.

Confirmation of appointments to Boards and Commissions: There are four positions on the agenda and none are to the controversial or troubled boards or agencies, not that it would matter; the council rubber stamps all of these appointments.

Bills on Public Hearing. These are sixteen bills on public hearing. These ones I am watching.

SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2016-133 is the new inclusionary zoning ordinance which will incentivize Inclusionary Housing with any residential development that seeks additional development entitlements beyond that permitted by the current base zoning district.  This is not as bad as an earlier version but is still price-fixing and still a bad bill and may violate state law. A better affordable housing bill is on First Reading. It is bill BILL NO. BL2016-342. I do not think the council should try to force developers to build affordable housing and any effort to encourage it should be a grant program.  To learn more, read the bill, the staff analysis and read the Tennessean's Competing affordable housing plans to face off before Metro Council. I oppose this bill.
BILL NO. BL2016-265  makes modest changes to the process for canceling a Planned Unit Development, making it easier to do so. I do think that there should be a means to council an inactive PUD but also protect the property rights of property owners, so I am not necessarily opposed to this bill but would withhold final judgment until after the public hearing. 

BILL NO. BL2016-293 in Scott Davis's district would rezone 54 acres, comprised of many parcels, from various current zonings to R6-A which is a medium density residential district.  I oppose taking away a persons property rights and would not support this unless it had the approval of those whose properties are being rezoned. This is disapproved by the planning commission. This was on public hearing last month also and was deferred to this meeting.
 Resolutions. There are 19 resolutions on the agenda, all on the Consent Agenda at this time. Most of them are routine things such as approving acceptance of grants. If a resolution has any negative votes in committee it is taken off of consent.  Also any council member may ask to have an item taken off of consent or to have his abstention or dissenting vote recorded. All items on consent are passed by a single vote instead of being voted on individually. I don't find any of the resolutions to be of much interest.
Bills on First Reading. There are 31 bills on First Reading but I usually don't review bills on First Reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda. They are not evaluated by committee until they are on Second Reading. All bills on First Reading are lumped together and pass by a single vote.

Bills on Second Reading. There are sixteen bills on 2nd reading and these are the only ones of much interest.
 BILL NO. BL2016-239 is back on the agenda after being deferred from the June 7th meeting. it would provide for free parking for elderly individuals in parking meter zones and public parking facilities after they purchased a $50 sticker. I hate to say it, but I am now "elderly." I don't need charity. I have more disposable income than I have ever had in my life. This is insulting and condescending. If this passes however, I will probably purchase the sticker and enjoy it, but why would one assume "elderly" people need free parking worse than struggling young married people or single mothers?  Why not give active duty military free parking? Why not give veterans free parking? Why not give college students and pregnant women and members of the clergy and teachers policemen and firemen and songwriters free parking? Being elderly does not make you poor and it does not make you more deserving of free parking than a lot of other people. As George Jones said, I don't need your rocking chair, your Geritol or medicare.  This needs to fail. 
BILL NO. BL2016-257 would allow Codes to issue stop-work orders against illegal, non-permitted short-term rentals and increase the ban on an STR permit at such a property to three years. Now if one is caught operating a short-term rental without a permit, the ban on getting a permit is one year. The Tennessean explains this at this link: Nashville may ramp up penalty for Airbnb permit violators

Bills on Third Reading. There are 13 bills on Third Reading and most of them are zoning bills and of little interest.

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