Sunday, April 14, 2013

What is on the Council Agenda for Tuesday April 16th?

You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro Council Agenda. You can find the analysis at this link: Metro Council Agenda Analysis. Council meetings can be really, really boring if you don't know what the Council is voting on. With an agenda and analysis, they are just boring.

There is only one resolution on public hearing. It concerns the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit for a particular piece of property and should interest no one but immediate neighbors.

There are fifteen resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda. A resolution is put on the consent agenda if it is likely to be non-controversial and it stays on the consent agenda if it passes the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. Bills on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government or authorizing the Department of Law to settle claims against the city or appropriating money from the 4% fund. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. However, any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda. I do not expect any to be pulled off of the consent agenda. I don't see any controversial resolution and would not expect any opposition. However, there are a couple resolutions to watch.

Last council meeting, RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-640 which allows Metro to accept certain incomplete infrastructure located within the River Landing subdivision left incomplete by the developer was initially on the consent agenda but taken off by the night of the council meeting and was considered separately and was deferred one meeting. It is back on the consent agenda this meeting. The cost to complete this infrastructure is estimated to be $489,560. Metro has sued the developer and collected $54,000, yet Metro will be stuck with the balance. Council has been reassured that changes have been put in place so that Metro will not be left holding the bag in future developments.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2013 approves the new four year plan for reappraisal and equalization of assessment for Davidson County. The property reevaluation will be completed in the year 2017, which will be the next reevaluation year. There is no reason to oppose this. If anyone does they are grandstanding, but reappraisals are never popular and grandstanding might be tempting. 

Bills on First reading almost always pass. There are ten bills on first reading. They are considered as a group and are seldom discussed. First reading is a formality that allows the bill to be considered. Bills are not assigned to committee or analyzed by council staff until after they have passed first reading. I have not carefully reviewed the bills on first reading, but will before second reading.

Bills on Second Reading: It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. There are only six bills on second reading. None of them seem terribly important but below is one worth noting:

ORDINANCE NO. BL2013-405 approves a sublease agreement between the Metropolitan Government and STEM Preparatory Academy for the use of a portion of the Tennessee Preparatory School campus located at 1250 Foster Avenue.

Bills on Third Reading: Third Reading is the final reading. If a bill passes third reading it becomes law unless it is vetoed by the Mayor, which has only rarely happened.

BILL NO. BL2012-292 would liberalize the policy on home recording studios. It adds a new land use specific to home recording studios and would permit studios to have up to ten clients, customers, musicians, or other visitors come to the property per day. Sufficient off street parking would have to be provided and home recording studios would be subject to the residential noise restrictions in the Metro code. The ordinance would retain the existing prohibition on signage. This issue was before the council on public hearing on December 4th, 2012 when it generated a lot of comment. I support this bill. I think we should support the music industry and our songwriter and musician neighbors. This bill passed on a voice vote on second reading but some council member have concerns about it and it could be close on third reading.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2013-394 amends the Metro zoning code to add community education as a permitted use in additional commercial zoning districts. Allowing schools in the districts will encourage infill development and the adaptive reuse of existing vacant buildings.This ordinance has been approved by the planning commission. I see no reason why anyone would oppose this.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2013-395 was on public hearing last meeting and passed by voice vote which means no one asked to be recorded as voting "no." It approved a settlement agreement with Comcast and approves a new cable franchise agreement with Comcast. Bill 396 is closely related and is also on third reading. This new agreement covers a lot of ground. If you want to know more see the council analysis. Last meeting, Councilman Charlie Tygard raised some issues about the bill and proposed amendments. This is one to watch. Below is how the Tennessean reported the issue after second reading:

Metro Council advances deal with Comcast that includes 5-cent fee increase 
After three years of negotiations, Metro and Comcast are nearing approval of a new franchise agreement that would let the cable giant run lines all over the city for the next 10 years. The agreement allows Comcast to increase its fee to subscribers from 5 cents to 10 cents a month for running public access television channels. The Metro Council voted unanimously Tuesday to advance a deal on a second of three votes ahead of a May 5 expiration date on the parties’ existing contract. (read more)

This should be a relatively short meeting. 

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