Monday, December 15, 2014

The NashvilleNext "Preferred Future" is now available.

The "Preferred Future," a potential long-term direction for Nashville and Davidson County based on over 15,000 community inputs over more than two years of planning and public input, is currently online for public review along with videos and more. Read or download the entire Pick Your Nashville Results report  at the indicated link and go to this site to watch a video presentation.

I participated in this process from the very first, and found much of it of interest but I am not sure it is of much value. I attended several meeting and put little dots on charts on the wall and put sticky notes on boards and sit in my study groups and discussed things and added comments to online discussions, but I am not sure it all adds up to much. There is almost too much information. By the time the process was over, I was burned out with it and sort of felt like I was being led to a conclusion.

Sure 15,000 people participated but that does not mean they were representative of the community or made informed decisions. The conclusions of this plan should not be used as an excuse to raise taxes or curtail property rights.  The conclusions are very general. As an example, I agree with the conclusion that we want to "protect sensitive environmental features" but what does that mean?  How do you apply that generality to a specific situation. Does "sensitive environmental features" mean a wet lands with endangered plants or a waterfall or what?  And how do we "protect" it?  The "how" is very important.  If we determine that picturesque pastoral rural lands are "sensitive environmental features" and if we protect them from development, do we do it by taken development rights away from owners or by purchasing development rights?

I hope the Council does not adopt something based on this study without carefully understanding what they are adopting. I hope property rights advocates are paying attention. This process should not replace the democratic process of elected officials adopting a plan. The NashvilleNext should not replace professional planners developing a plan, presenting it to the council and the Council having a public hearing and then adopting it. I am not against planning, in fact I think planning can be important, but even a good plan can be stood on its head if circumstances change.  Music Valley drive and the Opryland Hotel Convention center were never part of any plan until Opryland was proposed. I don't know what the cost of developing the NashvilleNext plan was but I doubt we got our money's worth. I don't think NashvilleNext is very instructive and should not be given a whole lot of weight in decision making.

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