Saturday, September 30, 2017

What's on the Council Agenda for Oct. 3rd, 2017: Banning Short-term rentals for all but owner-occupied

The big item on this agenda is the bill to ban short-term rentals for all but owner-occupied homes. The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. If you are going to watch the Council meeting, you need a copy of the Council agenda and the Council staff analysis or you really will not know what is going on. You can get the agenda and analysis at the highlighted links. I am providing this agenda summary and commentary a little early this time as I may not be available to do it later so I am dong this without benefit of the staff analysis. I will try to update prior to the meeting, but if I do not then be aware that this was done without benefit of the staff analysis so I may have missed something important or not fully understood some issue. If you are one who has more than a casual interest in what is on the Council agenda and I do not update, you may want to look at the staff analysis yourself.

Boards and Commission and elections to fill positions. 
There are two mayoral appointees to Boards and Commission on the agenda for confirmation and as always they will be affirmed.  There are four positions on Boards the council must fill. One is  the election of committee chair of the Planning Commission for a two-year term expiring August 31, 2019 and another is chairman of the Parking and Traffic Commission for a two year term. The council will also fill two seats on the Audit Committee.  Without the staff analysis, I am unsure of the qualifications or requirements of these positions. I think the Planning Commission and the Traffic and Parking commission seats usually are selected from members of the Council but am unsure. There is often a lot of lobbing to fill these positions, especially the Planning Commission and the Traffic and Parking Commission.

Public Hearings
There are 21 bills on public hearing. The bills on public hearings are all rezoning bills or related to planning and zoning policy.  While some cities, mostly smaller cities, have a kind of an open mic public hearing policy, where anyone may address their council on any topic, Nashville does not have such a policy.  Only zoning and zoning related bills are on public hearing and once a year the operating budget and the capital improvements budgets.

Rezoning hearings bore me and I don't even try to form an opinion on the merits each rezoning bill before the Council.  Rezoning bills usually are of interest only to people who live near the proposed rezoning. People who don't care one way or the other do not show up and with rare exceptions the only people who speak in favor of rezoning bills are those who will benefit from the rezoning such as the property owner or the developer.  Opponents always make the same argument which boils down to one of these: 1) the change will result in stressing the infrastructure such as too much traffic on the roadway or overcrowd the schools, 2) will cause flooding, and 3) will change for the worse the character of the community. If you are interested in knowing what is permitted in different zoning districts, follow this link.

There is only one bill that I find of much interest on this public hearing:

BILL BL2017-852 in Councilman Mary Carolyn Roberts district would expand an Urban Zoning Overlay District by 1591 acres.  This is a huge expansion. This was previously on the agenda but deferred to this meeting. 
There are 30 resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes  unanimously the committees to which it was assigned. Since the committees have not met yet, some resolutions which are listed as on the consent agenda may not be on the consent agenda when the council meets. Resolutions on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, entering into inter agency agreements over mundane things, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging the sidewalk. Resolutions on the consent agenda are lumped together and passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. Any member of the body may have a resolution pulled off of the consent agenda or have their "no" vote or abstention recorded. Unlike a bill which requires three votes of the Council to pass, a resolution only requires one vote of the Council. Below is the resolutions of and significant interest. 
RESOLUTION RS2017-902  authorizes the sale of up to $300 million of water and sewer revenue bonds. This is most likely routine, but $300,000,000 is a lot of money. In reading the resolution one thing that caught my attention was that the city is authorized to take all steps necessary to make the bonds marketable as "Green Bonds." If I were serving on the Council, I would want to know that this is a benefit to the city and not a cost. I also would like to know who, if anyone in the city, gets a free trip to New York City to be wined and dined as a result of the sale. It may be no one, but I would want to determine if that is the case.
 Bills on First reading: There are 27 bills on first reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda and they are not considered by committee until after they pass first reading. I do not read them until they get to second reading. Bills on First Reading are all lumped together and pass by a single vote.

Bills on Second Reading. There are 10 bills on Second Reading. None are very important and likely to generate controversy. These are the ones of a little interest:
BILL BL2017-905 and BILL BL2017-906 would establish a a merit-based grant program for non-profits. Currently Metro gives lots of money to worthy non-profits but it seems there is no logic to who gets the money and who does not. Some agencies that get metro funds have had council members as their board members. This would establish a criteria for which organizations get grants. I tend to support this but frankly, I think Metro should not give any money to non-profit organizations. United Way has a bureaucratic mechanism for determining community need and deciding which non-profits gets United Way dollars. I think support for non-profits should be left to the charitable impulse of the people. There are circumstances however, where I think Metro should contract with non-profits to provide specific services that the non-profit can provide better than the city.

BILL BL2017-907  would exempt from the minimum distance requirements for off-sale beer permits those establishments that had on on-sale beer permit following approval of a council resolution. This seems reasonable.
Bills on Third Reading:
BILL NO. BL2017-608 is the bill that would phase out Short Term Rental for all but  owner-occupied properties. This bill also does a lot else. Please see the staff analysis.  The city has been meeting on this issue for months and this bill was first introduced in February of this year. I am surprised to see this on the agenda. I thought the city would propose something different. I would not be surprised to see this substituted with whatever the ad hoc committee that has been studying the issue came up with although I expect it to will phase out non-occupied short-term rental. I oppose this bill. Property owners should have the same right to rent their property short term as they do month to month or long term.

SUBSTITUTE BILL BL2017-801 would require a report from the Department of Public Works regarding obstructions or excavations which close or occupy any portion of the public right of way for a period in excess of six (6) months. This substitute makes the bill less strong or imposes less red tape than did the version before substituted. Not a bad bill as it now stands.

BILL BL2017-867 would strengthen the hand of the government in punishing those with overgrown lots  and BILL BL2017-868  would strengthen the hand of government in punishing those who repeatedly violate property standards laws.
To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person, or you can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site and you can watch it live on Roku. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel. If can stand the suspense and just wait, I will post the video on this blog the day after or the day after that and provide commentary.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment