Sunday, August 26, 2018

(final update) What happened at the 8/21/18 Council meeting: MLS stadium/Fairground giveaway advances, Effort to trample property rights .....

...and kill affordable housing withdrawn, Bird regs pass, the Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan voted down.

by Rod Williams - At over five hours long, this is another very long council meeting. I watched part of it in real time and parts of the video. I zipped through the video at double speed and totally skipped parts of it. I may have missed something of interest. If you intend to watch the video or want to seek out the more interesting parts, you may want an agenda of the meeting. To access the agenda, the agenda analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.  If you want to know the outcome of a particular issue or see how people voted on an issue, you can find that information by reading the minutes of the meeting, available at this link. While I normally note the timestamp of the most important parts of the meeting, I am not providing that service in this meeting summary.  The meeting was just too long and I am limiting the time I spend on this summary. There were some good speeches and interesting arguments so if you are one who enjoys watching our Council in action I encourage you to seek them out on your own. Below is the summary of the most important issues.

The MLS stadium and Fairgrounds: 
The most important topic on this agenda was the approval of resolutions and bills to advance the Soccer stadium and giveaway ten acres of fairgrounds property to private developers. Those items advanced. However there is still a chance to stop this deal because one of the bills requires 27 positive votes to pass on third reading and did not garner 27 votes on second reading. For more on that development, see Council advances MLS stadium, but project still in doubt. Below is the actions taken on each of the resolutions or bill related to the fairgrounds issue:    

Resolution RS2018-1356  by Steve Glover expresses the intention of the Metropolitan Council to suspend action on any agreement related to any lease and redevelopment of the Nashville Fairgrounds until all necessary procedures have been completed was withdrawn by the sponsor.

Resolution RS2018-1372 which calls for a county-wide referendum election to ascertain the will of the people regarding the issuance of revenue bonds by Metro to fund the construction of the Major League Soccer Stadium at Fairgrounds was withdrawn by the sponsor.

Resolution RS2018-1373 calls for a county-wide referendum election to ascertain the will of the people regarding the issuance of general obligation bonds by Metro for the construction of a new Major League Soccer Stadium at the Fairgrounds was deferred "by rule."  The sponsor attempted to suspend the rule to take up the measure but that effort failed.
 Bill BL2018-1205  on Second Reading would prohibit the city from approving or otherwise entering into the sale, lease, transfer or conveyance of property adjacent to the proposed Major League Soccer stadium to any third party for purposes of private development. This failed by a vote of 15 in favor, 18 opposed, and 6 abstentions. Below is how members voted:
Yes (15): Cooper, Hall, Hastings, Swope, Scott Davis, Pardue, Hagar, Glover, Huezo, Freeman, Roberts, Blalock, Vercher, Dowell, and Henderson; No (18): Weiner, Shulman, Haywood, Withers, Anthony Davis, VanReece, Pridemore, Rhoten, Syracuse, Sledge, Allen, O'Connell, Kindall, Murphy, Pulley, Elrod, Potts, and Bedne; Abstain (6): Gilmore, Mendes, Hurt, Mina Johnson, Lee, and Rosenberg.
Bill BL2018-1289 approves the demolition of certain buildings and structures necessary for the construction of a new Major League Soccer Stadium at the Fairgrounds Nashville, and amending Title 5 of the Metropolitan Code to impose a privilege tax on the sale of tickets to events at the new Major League Soccer stadium. It passed on Second Reading by a vote of 24 to 7 with 8 abstentions and one not voting. To pass on third reading, the bill must get 27 votes. To see how individual council members voted, follow this link.

 Bill BL2018-1291 declares the ten acres to be given away as surplus property and approves a ground lease for the property. The fair board has already declared this surplus, now the Council must do so. This passed second reading by a vote of 24 in favor, 9 opposed and 6 abstentions.

Bill BL2018-1293 approves a privilege tax on the sale of tickets to events at the new Major League Soccer stadium. This was deferred at the request of the sponsor.
Donelson Transit-oriented Development (Substitute BL2018-1139 (as amended))
Another important vote of the night was the defeat of the proposed Donelson Transit-oriented Development plan for the Donelson stop on the Music City Star.  This plan has been worked on for months.  It would have guided redevelopment around that transit stop and made tax increment financing available for new development.  The plan was defeated by a vote of 19 in favor  to 15 against. It required 21 votes to pass.

The opposition to the plan came down to the price tag of the Tax Increment Financing. When a project is financed by TIF, the logic is that the development would not have occurred except for the redevelopment and city investment, so the city advances money to loan to developers and the property tax that would have fed into the general fund instead is used to pay off the TIF money that was advanced. Under this plan, for the next thirty years the new property tax revenue generated in the area would have went to MDHA rather than the city coffers. This type of TIF redevelopment is blamed on Nashville's current budget woes.  Much of the downtown development one sees does not contribute to the Metro tax revenues because it is used instead to repay TIF advances.

There was also concern that this proposal had an affordable housing component and the property likely to be redeveloped was already mostly affordable housing. To see more on this topic, see this Tennessean article: $30M transit-oriented development in Donelson squashed in narrow Council vote.

Bird Scooter returns (Second Substitute Bill BL2018-1202 (as amended))
The Council voted  29-1 to approve a bill which will allow motorized scooters to operate in Nashville. This comes with hefty fees and lots of  lots of new rules.

Proposed Charter Amendments bill passes (Resolution RS2018-1314)
The bill to place proposed charter amendments on the November 6th ballot passed. There were 6 proposed amendments and five of the six were approved. Each of the proposed amendments had to approved, then the bill as a whole had to be approved.  The one that failed  was a proposal for an instant run-off process for special elections when there is an election to fill a council vacancy.  For the Tennessean's report on this see Nashville to vote on 5 charter amendments in November — including extending council term-limits.

Bill to trample property rights withdrawn
Bill BL2016-219  to trample private property rights and kill an affordable housing development in the process by cancel an approved Planned Unit Development and down zoning a persons property without their consent was withdrawn at the request of the sponsor.  The effort to pass this bill had been pending since June of 2016

In other Council action:
Burkley Allen was elected President Pro Tempore. Burkley Allen and Jacobia Dowell sought the position. Allen won by a vote of 23 to 15.

Elections and Confirmation: No surprises. Everyone nominated was confirmed unanimously. 

Other Bills on Second Reading:
Bill BL2018-1190  would provide free parking at public parking meters in Davidson County for environmentally friendly vehicles and for vehicle owners that purchase carbon offsets. It passes on a voice vote.

Substitute Bill BL2018-1203 (as amended)   is a bill to distinguish non-motorized scooters and things like in-line skates from motorized scooters. Last council meeting the Council passed a detailed bill on second reading to address motorized scooters such as Bird. This just makes it clear that what was passed to apply to Bird and similar scooters does not apply to manually operated scooters and other non-motorized devices. This passes on a voice vote.

Bill BL2018-1294  changes the construction noise ordinance and makes what has just applied to downtown, apply anywhere in the county. 
Other Bills on Third Reading:
Second Substitute Bill BL2016-414  is a disapproved zoning bill to change the zoning on 5.8 acres from R6 to SP for property in Scott Davis's district. Deferred.  

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