Thursday, November 3, 2016

What happened at the 11-1-2016 Council meeting: Annexation advances, Standards of Conduct for Barnes Fund Housing residents deferred. Most other controversial bills withdrawn or deferred.




If you are going to watch this council meeting you will get more out of it if you have the agenda, the Council staff analysis and my commentary; follow this link for access to all.

No surprises in confirmation of appointees to boards and commissions; all are approved. As is customary, all bills on First Reading pass.

Bills on Public Hearing: Public hearing are really boring so I skimmed that part of the meeting in double speed. I only pay attention to those that have general application or for some other reason I think are important. Most zoning bills impact and concern only a few nearby neighbors. Here are the ones I find of interest.

BILL NO. BL2016-265 which would make changes to  the determination of inactivity of a planned unit development was withdrawn. This was on the agenda of July 5th and deferred to this meeting.  If no action has been taken on developing a PUD in six years, then the Planning Commission can declare it inactive and the PUD is voided. One thing currently the Planning Commission can consider in making that determination is "aggregate of actions." This bill would have removed that consideration. I am pleased to see this bill withdrawn.

BILL NO. BL2016-411 which would change from R20 to RS20 about 23 acres of property in the Bowling Avenue-Lynnwood Drive neighborhood is deferred to the first meeting in December. Decreasing density in large swaths of the county is bad policy in my view, but I expect this will pass at a future meeting.

BILL NO. BL2016-415 is a bill that would create a mechanism for the zoning and permitting of small cell telecommunications uses and to update existing zoning provisions for other kinds of telecommunications uses. Several people including an ATT representative and a Verizon  representative speak in opposition. It is approved.

BILL NO. BL2016-455  which would annex into the urban serviced district various properties located in Council Districts 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, and 31 passes second reading.  Member of the public speak in favor and in opposition to the proposed annexation. While Nashville has a single government instead of a city and a county as do most places, we still have two tax districts.  The rural parts of the county are in the General Services District and the more developed parts of the county are in the Urban Services District. The only thing the people in the USD get that those in the GSD do not, is garbage collection and street lights. They have the same street cleaning, fire, police, schools, libraries, parks, etc. The 2016 tax rate for Urban Services District is $4.516, and the rate for General Services District is $3.924 per hundred dollars of assessment. If these areas are annexed then the city would be responsible for garbage collection and would provide street lights. For those who think this would get them sidewalks, they should be aware that many, many neighborhoods already in the GSD do not now have sidewalks. Sidewalks is not factor in this annexation proposal. Several people who speak in favor of the annexation seem to think they will get sidewalks if annexed.

One impact of increasing these taxes is that this will likely increase rents in multifamily apartments in these areas to be annexed. While renters do not directly pay property taxes, they pay indirectly it in the rent they are charged. Residential property is assessed at 25% of appraised value, yet commercial and multi-family property is assessed at 40% of value. At a time when there is much concern about affordable housing, affordable housing advocates should advocate against this tax which will hit renters harder than property owners. They do not.

Currently, for most people the increase in taxes, if annexed, would not be much more than they currently pay for private trash collection. However, if taxes are increased next year, which I anticipate to occur, then the new tax payment would most likely be considerably more than what residents in the GSD pay currently for private trash collection.

To see The Tennessean report on this see, Madison residents debate joining Nashville's higher property tax district.   For a background report see The Tennessean's, Nashville neighborhoods pass on offer for more services, higher taxes.    To see if you live in an area proposed to be annexed into the Urban Services District see this link. To view the pubic hearing see time stamp 51:21- 1:32:01. The bill passes second reading on a voice vote. 

Resolutions: There are 23 resolutions. These are the one's of interest.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-382  which urges Live Nation to take action to combat scalping of tickets to events at Ascent Amphitheater is deferred two meetings.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-406  which would expand from one year old to three years old the vehicles that are exempt from being required to be tested for auto emissions is deferred again. 
Bills on Second Reading. There are only 7 bills on Second reading and these are the one's of interest.
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2016-381 which is another anti Short Term Rental Property bill is deferred one meeting.  It would make it more cumbersome to get a STRP permit and further restrict the number of permits allowed in any census track.

BILL NO. BL2016-454   which amends  the Metropolitan Code to remove the requirement that only restaurants that possess a license liquor license can obtain an exemption to the minimum distance requirements for beer sales passes. Currently if an establishment wants a beer license, they have to be 100 feet from away from a home, or a school, or church or park. Liquor license are issued by the State and beer license by Metro, so some establishments have liquor license but not beer license. For those establishments, the city can now make an exception to the distance requirement.  The city can not, however, grant an exception for any other establishments. This would allow others establishments to also apply for an exception from that distance requirement. This bill would require a pubic hearing on the proposed exemption. I am pleased to see this pass.
Bills on Third Reading.  There are 13  bills on Third Reading.  These are the bills of interest.

BILL NO. BL2016-219  is a bill that would trample an owners property rights and kill an affordable housing development. It is deferred to the second meeting in April 2017. Please see this link for background on this very bad bill.

BILL NO. BL2016-308  which  requires tenants of housing funded by the Barnes Trust Fund to comply with certain maintenance and standards of conduct and to refrain from any illegal activity on the premises of the dwelling being rented is deferred to March 17th 2017. Something so simply has proven very controversial. Opponents of this simple bill think that requiring minimum standards of conduct on the part of those who will live in Barnes Fund housing is somehow stigmatizing and racist. To see the discussion see time stamp 1:58:19 - 2:02:47. The way Councilman Hastings has handled this issue has caused me to develop a great deal of respect for the councilman. To learn more about this issue, see this link.
BILL NO. BL2016-417 which would prohibit one from putting a "for sale" sign on their vehicle parked on residential property passes on a roll call machine vote of 22-11-1. For the discussion see time stamp 2:04:25- 2:11:26 in the video.

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