Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Metro Council votes to approve Brady Banks' rezoning request despite receiving a neighborhood petition with 400 signatures against it

Admittedly, I don't know a lot about this "Plum Orchard" rezoning ordinance in Brady Banks' Brentwood district because I have not been following it like some in the community have, but here is what I learned about from last night's council meeting:
  • There were many more people present in the council gallery opposing his ordinance last night than favoring it. One of them even presented a petition against it with 407 signatures.
  • The primary person speaking in favor of it was Tom White, land use lawyer and registered lobbyist for the Home Builders Association. The last time I saw Mr. White, he was defending the controversial proposal to introduce rural Whites Creek to more suburban sprawl. The rezoning request CM Banks is proposing would subdivide Brentwood farmland into 78 suburban plots.
  • Former CM and current engineer-to-developers Roy Dale also spoke in favor of the project as he is on this development team. Does Mr. Dale ever work on a project that does not raise questions?
  • Reportedly, there are opposition signs against the project "all over" the area around the intersection of Church Street East and Cloverland Drive.
  • Opponents said during last night's hearing that they do not oppose development, but they oppose the rezoning, which they say would generate more auto traffic. They support the owners' right to develop the property within the zoning, which would mean tracks larger than the current plan, but still smaller than those in surrounding neighborhoods.
  • One opponent said that when he asked CM Banks during a phone call which side he was on, the CM replied that the opponent did not understand that there were "some highly politically influential [unnamed] people involved." The same opponent pointed out that Roy Dale claimed that the development is within walking distance of Brentwood, but that Metro had not provided sidewalks or any other pedestrian infrastructure along the route to Brentwood.
  • After the public hearing was over, council engaged in practically no debate in spite of the petition. To his credit, CM Bruce Stanley rose in opposition and reiterated that Metro's infrastructure is "substandard" to suit the plans that developers keep concocting. He also said that a "progressive" development is one that "shows benefit for the entire community, not simply the developer."
  • Mayoral candidate and at-Large CM Megan Barry, who is running on the promise "not to lose sight" of neighborhoods in favor of economic development, said nothing about Plum Orchard rezoning and ultimately voted to approve Brady Banks' ordinance. As at-Large, she is technically this area's representative, too, but she did not lift a finger in advocacy for the neighborhood last night.
In the end the council approved CM Banks' rezoning proposal. The moral of this story: 1 lobbyist carries more weight with this Metro Council than does the petition of hundreds of neighbors in the impact zone of developments.

1 comment:

  1. The "BILL NO. BL2015-1006 (Banks) " that was on public hearing was only on 2nd reading. There will be a 3rd reading ,probably on next agenda. This reading will require a machine vote and be the one that counts. I urge all to continue calling and writing all the CM;s and explain that the current zoning is what should be followed and not just changed for every developer that has money to change it. I hope that in the future more people ask for a roll call/machine vote at public hearing, Even if it could take 5 CM to get the vote approved,most will be glad to help.