Thursday, August 13, 2015

More Debates and Cadidates Forums

Wednesday, August 19, 6 pm
Live on and WSMV-TV Channel 4

NashForward/Tennessean/ Belmont Mcafee Auditorium

Monday, August 24, 7 pm
League of Women Voters/Vanderbilt/Channel 5 Televised Debate Blair School of Music 2400 Blakemore Avenue

Wednesday, September 2, 6pm 
FOX 17 Trevecca Nazarene University

At-Large Candidates Forum -- 
Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors, Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood, Belmont University and Vanderbilt University are partnering together to host an at-large candidates forum on Thursday, August 20. Blake Farmer, WPLN Host/Assistant News Director, will be the forum moderator.

The forum will be from 6:30 to 8:00pm in the Community Room at Belmont United Methodist Church, located at 2007 Acklen Avenue. For more information, contact Mary Pat Teague at 615-322-8337.
Regards, David G. Thompson, President Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors, Inc.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 18th Council Agenda is now available. Be aware of Vampire Bills. This is the last meeting of this Council.

 Be aware of Vampire Bills
The August 18th Metro Council agenda is now available and will be a long agenda. This will be the last meeting of this term of the Metro Council.  Some bills that were deferred indefinitely on third meeting from months or years ago may reappear on this agenda.  Many people think a bill is defeated if it is deferred indefinitely, but that is not so. So, if you have a zoning issue (or other issue but mostly zoning issues) that you were once concerned about, review this agenda to see if it has reappeared. Any bills not passed on August 18th really will be dead and would have to start over with the next council.

I will be reviewing the agenda and offering my usual analysis but I don't know the significance of all the zoning bills and really don't even attempt to know their significance, but I do know how the Council works and I know this is the meeting where a lot of people get blindsided by a bill passing that they thought was long dead. Also some Council members who are termed-out or defeated may not be as responsive to constituents as they otherwise would be.

Here is the link to the agenda

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

An explanation of the Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit Overlay zoning bill (BL2015-1120) on the Aug. 18th Agenda.

There is a lot of confusion and concern over what is happening with regards to detached accessory dwelling units in Nashville. BL2015-1120 will be on the agenda August 18th.  I support BL2015-1120 and other bills that advance DADU's. I think that allowing accessory dwelling units on lots will create affordable housing without the heavy hand of government mandating it or imposing price controls. It will also expand the tax base so we can afford to pay off all of the debt the city had accumulated without raising taxes. It will make mass transit more likely to develop and succeed and it will reduce future urban sprawl.  Below is an analysis for BL2015-1120 from the Green Hills Neighborhood Association. 

Dear GHNA Members,

BL2015-1120, creation of Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit Overlay for RS zoned areas, is scheduled for the 3rd and final vote on August 18. Neighborhoods zoned R (allowing duplexes) currently allows DADUs. This bill has been deferred twice due to concerns and opposition from numerous neighborhoods across Nashville. This bill creates the process for a DADU overlay only for RS zoned neighborhoods; it does not create an overlay for any one area. A Council Member would make application to request an overlay for a specific RS zoned area; the request would go through Metro Planning Commission and three votes at Metro Council. The Metro Code reference in this bill (Section 17.16.030 F) provides for some restrictions; 7 and 8 below will be included for DADUs:
  1. One principal dwelling and only one detached accessory dwelling permitted on a single lot. 
  2. The same person who owns the principal dwelling shall own DADU. 
  3. One of the two dwellings must be owner-occupied. 
  4. Living space and dwelling footprint have size restrictions. 
  5. Height restrictions. 
  6. DADU shall be of similar style, design and material color as principal dwelling. 
  7. There must be 30 contiguous lots in an area to request a DADU overlay. 
  8. Any house deemed to have historic eligibility couldn’t be torn down to be replaced with a principal dwelling and a DADU. 
 At the community meeting held on August 3, neighborhoods from across Nashville were represented. CM Burkley Allen conducted the meeting; after explaining the bill and the above restrictions, she stated there are a few RS zoned neighborhoods that would like to keep their RS zoning (as opposed to R zoning which would allow full blown duplexes), but would like to have the option of building a detached accessory dwelling unit behind their existing house. CM Allen stated she was surprised there was so much opposition to this bill creating an overlay.

Below are some of the concerns expressed regarding creating a DADU Overlay in RS zoned neighborhoods: 
  • Neighborhoods have worked too hard to downzone to RS to see the RS zoning weakened by this overlay. We can see a lawyer, like Tom White, coming in and arguing that half the houses in the neighborhood have a second dwelling, so why can’t his client build a duplex? Most thought weakening the definition of RS zoning is opening the door for unintended consequences. Former CM John Summers explained he was on the council when the SP zoning was created; they tried to cover all the future consequences, but over the years things have changed and now SP is just “junk” zoning.  
  • The few RS zoned neighborhoods that want this overlay “want their cake and eat it too,” but they need to decide if they want to be RS or R. They should not be allowed to have it both ways · It was suggested the Planning Department create a new zoning code that describes a principal dwelling with the option of having a second smaller detached accessory dwelling unit. Keep all the restrictions that are in the overlay bill, but create a separate zoning code. That way the RS zoning definition is not weakened. The Planning Dept is reluctant to do this because they would need to make many changes to the Metro Code, but these would be one-time changes. Why should the majority of RS zoned neighborhoods deal with a weakened definition of RS zoning, just so a few neighborhoods can have “their cake and eat it too?” 
  • There is lack of enforcement. Codes simply does not have the manpower to make sure all the restrictions are being followed.  
  • CMs have flexibility as to how they conduct their determination whether to request an overlay or re-zoning. There is no requirement for a certain percentage of property owners’ support to create a DADU Overlay. By comparison, the new Contextual Overlay District created last year requires 100% property owner support. Historic Overlays also require a high standard of support, which has prevented some neighborhoods such as Sylvan Park from receiving a Historic Overlay. Yet the DADU Overlay bill doesn’t specify any level of support at all. 
  • There were concerns about these DADUs being used for AirBnB and short-term rentals. CM Allen responded this is something that may need more thought. Some individuals have converted garages to apartments; they would still be entitled to a DADU. The concern is that they could have two spaces for short-term rental (AirBnB). 
  • Where overlays are approved, this could potentially increase density in our RS neighborhoods. It could affect parking, trash pickup, all types of city services. Most RS neighborhoods do not want the increased traffic and parking. CM Allen stated she is listening and other Council Members are listening. She has a couple of options: 
  1. She could defer this bill indefinitely; since this is the end of the Council term, any bill not acted on dies. It would be necessary for the process to completely start over with the new Council. OR 
  2.  She could withdraw this bill, go back to the Planning Department and request they create a new zoning code for RS neighborhoods that want to have DADUs; the new zoning code would contain all the restrictions found in the DADU portion of the Metro Code. By creating a new code, the RS zoning code would continue to define one single family dwelling on one lot. OR 
  3. She could ask for a final vote on August 18. 
If you have specific questions about this bill, you may contact the sponsor, CM Burkley Allen, at If you have an opinion, please let the Metro Council know before August 18 by sending an e-mail to The GHNA Boar

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dean’s $1B IOU: The cost of ‘It City’

by Scott Harrison, Nashville Business Journal, Jul 31, 2015- Mayor Karl Dean’s legacy includes skyline-altering projects that helped turn Music City into “It City.” To get us here, he’s bet big on Nashville’s growth — leaving the city with nearly $1 billion in additional 2007, Nashville had just under $2 billion in outstanding debt on its books. At the end of June, that figure had climbed to about $2.9 billion — a nearly 50 percent increase in eight years, and a far larger clip than his predecessor.

And that number doesn’t include the bond funding used to build the $600 million Music City Center, a case where repayment falls on the Convention Center Authority. Nor does it account for the bulk of $65 million in bonds the Metro Sports Authority issued to pay for the new Nashville Sounds ballpark in Germantown.

... Moody’s also suggests that if Nashville’s tax base doesn’t continue to grow, and debt burdens remain elevated, the city may have to raise taxes to pay for its tab.  .... To pay for the additional debt of the past few years, Nashville needs to keep growing.  .....The city owed $3,261 per Nashvillian in June 2014, a 32 percent increase since June 2007.  .....Since mid-2007, Metro has borrowed about $730 million to fund schools.....Charlie Tygard,.... argues that Metro is overexposed if the economy slows. (link)

My comment: I am bullish on Nashville. I do not fault Dean for much of what he has done. I supported the convention center. I would have voted for it.  I would have not supported such an investment if I were a citizen of Knoxville or Memphis or most other American cities, but I believe it was a wise investment for Nashville. I believe Nashville can be a successful convention city. In fact, considered individually, I find little to criticize about any of Nashville's major recent "investments." It is the cumulative effect that concerns me.

Also, borrowing to pay for basic consumptions, just as schools, deeply concerns me. We are like a household that is using the credit card to buy groceries and depending on continuing raises or continuing overtime pay to pay off those credit cards debts when they become due. Now is the time to step back and reduce our indebtedness and balance the budget. If we have a downturn in the economy we are screwed! I fear that if Megan Barry is our next mayor, our debt will continue to grow and spiral out of control. That is why, among other reasons, I am supporting David Fox for mayor.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Sunday, August 09, 2015

(update) Meet and Greet with Senator Ted Cruz, Monday August 10th.

This event has been moved to The Factory (Jamison Hall) 230 Franklin Rd. Franklin, TN 37064

Ted Cruz To Visit Brentwood.  Ted Cruz will be at Southern Sweets for a meet and greet, Monday, August 10th, 1:30 pm, Cool Springs House, 1490 Volunteer Pkwy, Brentwood, TN 37027. The event is free but you must register. Follow this link.

As with all of my announcements of political events, an announcement does not constitute an endorsement.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories