Thursday, October 27, 2011

What to look for in the Metro Council Nov. 1

Neighborhood Zoning Issues, Billboards and maybe Chickens 

Tuesday night's council meeting is for bills on public hearing. Other than that, the only thing on the agenda are bills on first reading and resolutions, so unless you have a hot zoning issue in your neighborhood, public hearing nights can be real boring. With the current economy, there is less building and so there is not a lot of request for major zone changes for large tracks, so public hearings are not as lengthy as when we are experiencing a lot of growth and development. There are three bills dealing with billboard that may be of of general interest however.

BILL NO. BL2011-25.  This bill will change from RS15 to SP zoning a portion of property located at 3810 Kings Lane, to permit a digital reader board sign. This property is Temple Church.  SP refers to a new type of base zoning district in which design standards are established for that specific development and are written into the zone change ordinance. The purpose of this bill is to allow an LED sign where one would not otherwise be permitted. There has been a lot of controversy about LED signs and where they can be placed. Frankly, I have not kept up with all the nuances of this issue and don't care that much about it but I suspect some serious opposition to the bill. Neighborhood activist will fear this bill sets a president. A lot of neighborhood groups have become concerned about these bright signs on school or church properties in residential neighborhoods.  I understand that the Planning Commission today voted unanimously to disapprove the bill which means on third reading it will have to have a 2/3 majority to pass.

BILL NO. BL2011-29. This bill also deals with digital billboard or LED signs and essentially says that an existing non-conforming static billboard cannot be converted into a digital bill board. Since most billboards in Nashville are now non-conforming this bill would basically have the effect of prohibiting any new digital billboards in the city. I expect a lot of leaders of neighborhood groups will speak in favor of it and some sign companies will speak against it. 

BILL NO. BL2011-30. This is also a billboard bill prohibiting the conversion of nonconforming billboards to tri-face billboards Tri-face billboards consist of triangular louvers that automatically rotate to allow three different sign messages to be shown on the same sign. Expect the same groups as speak on the above bill to speak on this one.

BILL NO. BL2011-47. This bill sponsored by Karen Bennett is on first reading and almost always bills pass unanimously on first reading unless someone objects. This bill may prove controversial however when it reaches second reading.  This bill would allow one to raise a limited number chickens in ones backyard in the city.  Now chickens are prohibited in the city. To keep chickens one would have to pay a fee and no roosters allowed. I am in favor. Let people raise chickens. I don't see the harm. There are some people however who are adamantly opposed. On second reading, expect some jokes about hens and roosters and you may hear some "cluck, cluck, cluck" in the background as Council Lady Bennett argues her bill.

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