Friday, November 23, 2018

Monroe Harding forced "compromise" passes the Council, clearing the way to sale the property.

The bill (Bill BL2018-1370) to down-zone the Monroe Harding property from its current zoning which would allow up to 53 units to be build on the property to a zoning that allows 31 units and the saving of big tree on the property passed. This bill had the support of Monroe Harding who negotiated this compromise with a gun to their head.  The offer made to Monroe Harding was to accept this or get a much worse "compromise."

Preservationist, planners and many neighbors did not want to let Monroe Harding do anything with their property that did not preserve the 20-acre campus and the 1935-era home on the property. This "compromise" forced upon Monroe-Harding was as about as good as Monroe Harding could get. Monroe Harding plans to relocate and needs the proceeds from the sale to support their mission. The current site no longer suites their needs. Monroe Harding's initial desire was to sale the property as currently zoned which they had the right to do. The right one has to build on ones own property can be stripped away at the wimp of the city Council without compensation to the owner.  In Metro our property rights are very tenuous. 

If Monroe would have not accepted this "compromise" then likely a much worse bill would have passed.  Monroe could have fought it in the courts and likely prevailed.  However, legal fees would have been enormous and it may have taken a long time to reach conclusion. Rather than fight this illegal down-zoning, Monroe-Harding gave into bullying. I don't blame them for doing so.The city forcing this "compromise" on Monroe Harding is a shameful abuse of power. However, Monroe may not be much worse off financially. I don't know the numbers but I would assume Monroe will generate almost as much income from the sale as rezoned as they could have without the rezoning. The developer will simply build larger and more expensive homes.

The bill passed by a vote 27 to 0, which was the bare minimum it needed to pass since it was a disproved bill. The bill was disapproved by the Planning Commission because it did not preserve the mansion on the property.

To read The Tennessean's account of this story, see Nashville council clears way for sale of 20-acre Monroe Harding campus in Green Hills.

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