Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What happened at the Council meeting of 9-5-17: More corporate welfare passes, more time to drink beer passed, the Council advocates for DACA, condemns bigotry and not much else.

Not anything happens at this council meeting that makes it worth your time to view the video. I have not notated any timestamps. To access the council agenda, the council staff analysis of the meeting and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.

This is the first council meeting of this year with new committee chairmen and new committee members having taken on their new responsibilities. This will likely have no policy implications but for lobbyist and community activist, and members of the press and council members themselves and those who regularly interact with the council they will have to learn who the new power players are all over. If you actually watch the Council meetings you will notice that different people are delivering the committee reports. Below I have highlighted the most important legislative actions of the night and have summarized the meeting.

There are 14 appointment to Boards and Commission on the agenda and all are approved without any dissension.

Public hearing. 
I zip though the public hearing at double speed because most item on public hearing are very local and are of concern to no one but the neighbors who live in the vicinity of proposed rezoning so I may miss something that is important to you but is not important to me, so if you are looking for the result of a zoning proposal in your neighborhood, you may want to watch the video for yourself. I point out those that are particularly controversial or are disapproved by the Planning Commission or for some other reason I find to be important.  Below are the zoning items that I think are were worth noting.

BILL BL2017-770 is a bill that was approved by the Planning Commission and the sponsor moves to defer indefinitely. Why? When that happens I think the sponsor should explain why the bill is being killed.  Was it at the request of the applicant or because of neighborhood opposition or some other reason?

BILL BL2017-784   by Robert Swope would establish a maximum permitted height of ten feet for electric fences within any zoning district where electric fences are permitted. This is withdrawn and that was the recommendation of the Planning Commission.

BILL BL2017-824 is another bill in which the Planning Commission recommendation is for the bill to be withdrawn. It is.

BILL BL2017-849  is a bill in Councilman Scott Davis' district that was  disapproved as submitted but approved with a substitute proposed by the Planning Commission/ The sponsor did not substitute. The request is to rezone from R-5 to R-6. The Planning Commission wanted a zoning of R-6A which would provide for certain design standards. The sponsor moves approval of the bill and says he will be bringing a rezoning request to rezone the property to R-6A to the Council. I assume that means the bill will be substituted at third reading. If not substituted to a bill calling for R-6A zoning then the bill would quire 27 votes on third reading rather than a simply majority of those voting. It passes on second reading.

BILL BL2017-852 in Councilman Mary Carolyn Roberts district would expand an Urban Zoning Overlay District by 1591 acres.  This is a huge expansion. It is deferred two meetings.

BILL BL2017-853 in Councilman Kindall's district is a proposal  changing from R6 to SP zoning for various properties located along 33rd Avenue North, 35th Avenue North, Trevor Street, and Delaware Avenue, south of Interstate 40 (4.75 acres), to permit a maximum of 123 multi-family units. Several people speak against this rezoning and some are passionate. Their arguments are the standard argument of opposing greater density, concern about water run off and increased traffic. Councilman Kindall is absent and Councilman Murphy who is Chair of the Council's Planning and Zoning Committee is handling the bill for Councilman Kindall. She moves to defer the bill a meeting and it is deferred.

They are all approved on "consent" except for one honoring Bluegrass legend Roland White. The sponsor says it was filed too soon and what is on the agenda is a draft. He withdraws it but says he will be bringing it back once it is final.

Among the bills on "consent" which could have proven controversial if the sponsor would have attempted to grandstand on them are RESOLUTION RS2017-860  which supports the continuation of DACA and RESOLUTION RS2017-861  which says "that Nashville is opposed to and stands against racism and bigotry in all its forms and urging all to seek unified solutions to encourage the inclusive society our founders envisioned." A memorializing resolution of this type is really meaningless. If the sponsors would have used these bills as an opportunity to bash President Trump and I were serving in the Council, I would have taken exception, however I do not oppose these resolutions and think it was best for the Council to let them pass without discussion.

Second Reading
BILL NO. BL2017-800 which would make a modest change to the juvenile curfew laws making them slightly more restrictive is deferred indefinitely. 
BILL BL2017-835  is a bill which  would increase the size of, number of, and required information on a building permit for any building permit for a project of over $2500. It is amended increasing the dollar limit to $5000 and to make it not apply to permits pulled by the property owner himself as opposed to those pulled by a contractor. If I served in the Council I would have still opposed this but it is not as bad as what was originally proposed. It passes on a voice vote.
Bills on Third Reading:

BILL BL2017-834 which would amend the time restriction of when beer could be sold or served for on-premises consumption for a certain few establishments passes.  Under this bill a small number of restaurants could sell beer anytime except from 3AM to 4AM. For a more detailed explanation given when the bills was on Second Reading  follow this link and go to timestamp 23:54 in the video.
BILL BL2017-836 is a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) deal for the Keystone Automotive Industries to build an administrative office. It passes. This is the kind of corporate welfare that almost all cities engage in.  We will in effect be subsidizing this company about $1.23 million and they promise to create 120 new jobs. That is a little over $10K per job. I oppose this and am disappointed that no one in the Council took a position against it.  For more on this, read the bill and see the staff analysis.

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