Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Noteworthy news from Nashville Neighborhoods network

Leaders from Nashville's grassroots community-organizing effort to preserve and protect community quality-of-life met face-to-face over dinner last week to bolster their work. The minutes have been published to their Nashville Neighborhoods e-list. A couple of points bear mentioning here.

The possibility of inviting Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods Director Billy Fields to the group's January 2011 meeting was introduced and discussed. There seems to be an interest in having him discuss how MOON can help neighborhoods. Given MOON's poor track record under the Dean administration, I would expect that discussion to be long on possibilities, scarce on commitments, and inauspicious on follow-up. The last time we saw Director Fields here was beneath an Office of Emergency Management monitor, which seemed to be broadcasting the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament instead of flood emergency information; not that there is anything wrong with golf.

Another matter that came up in last week's discussion was the question of whether community plans, like the North Nashville plan we have been working on for the past few months, should be given sharper teeth:
Research shows at least one subarea community plan, Madison Community Plan: 2009 Update, was submitted to Metro Council for adoption through a resolution (RS2009-768/May 19, 2009). Confirmation from Jennifer Carlot, Planning Dept, indicates all Council members have the option to submit a resolution to MC for adoption of subarea community plans. Apparently the Madison Community Plan: 2009 Update is the only one that has been adopted by MC through resolution. Resolutions may not be enough to require MC to honor community plans when voting on conflicting issues, but it is a start and better than nothing.
In my opinion any council action giving these community-based plans sharper teeth to protect neighborhoods and the democratic process against the lobbying, patronage, and influence of unscrupulous developers is worthy of pursuit. Of course, Metro Council can still ignore their own adoption of community plans, but they do so with less impunity than if no resolution was adopted. It would be good to be able to hold them more accountable for caving to attempts to except developments away from plans and to use neighborhoods to carry profits out while giving the bare minimum back to the communities.

Once the neighborhoods have participated in the public information process on the community plans, they have every reason to express their support for them and ask that their CM sponsor council resolutions to adopt them. Personally, I believe Salemtown Neighbors should ask Erica Gilmore to so sponsor adoption of the North Nashville community plan once it comes out of draft form.

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