Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Association President Questions the Lack of Democracy Behind the Commission's Handling of the LED Bill, Encourages Contact with Planning

This excerpt from a letter written by Susan Floyd, President of the Donelson-Hermitage Neighborhood Association, to her neighbors points to problems perceived in the mishandling of the controversy surrounding Charlie Tygard's LED bill:

the Planning Commission's agenda [for Thursday, March 27] that is normally posted on the web at least by Friday before the following Thursday meeting is not posted at this time (Saturday, 11 am) .... How can democracy take place when the stakeholders are unaware of the details of the proceedings? First the original bill is placed on the consent agenda [of the last Planning Commission meeting] and the public is not allowed to give input, now the agenda will be released late with little time to notify citizens. Is this the best job our city can do to practice democracy?

It is important that neighbors become aware of this new bill and attend this meeting. It is equally important that we insist that the leaders of our city always make the best possible effort to allow our citizens the opportunity to take part in democracy. Allowing our citizens appropriate time for notification in order to have their voices heard would be a good start.

Neighbors are urged to send a letter to the commissioners as well as attend the meeting Thursday, March 27th at 4pm in order to make an impact to their decision. A vote of disapproval from the Planning Commissioners will require more votes from the Metro Council in order to approve the bill.

Please send your letters to the commissioners (as attachments) and emails stating that you will be in attendance to speak regarding the bill to Jennifer.Regen@nashville.gov. She is the Planning Department's staff reviewer of the bill. She will make sure that every commissioner has a copy. The staff's recommendation is to disapprove.

The Donelson-Hermitage Neighborhood Association will be sponsoring a "community meeting" regarding LED and Digital signs in Monday, March 31st at 7pm at the Hermitage Police Precinct on James Kay Lane in Hermitage.


  1. To e-mail all the MPC at once:


    Must have your comments no later than noon tomorrow.

    Bell Lowe Newton, Woodlawn Area Neighborhood Assoc. President

    We're in this together.

  2. Tygard's tactics are nothing new. He is an expert at political maneuvering so he can usurp the will of the people in favor of the will of his campaign donors. The people of Bellevue suffered through him for many years and I'm still very disappointed that the city of Nashville voted to keep him in the Council. I'm just grateful that it appears that more citizens, as well as Councilmembers, are now on to his tactics. It's a shame it took this long though...

  3. In all fairness to the Planning Staff's Jennifer Regen who wrote the Planning Staff's report on the LED sign bill, she reminded today that she sent an email to me last Friday notifying me that the LED sign bill was to be before the Commission Thursday, March 27th.

    An email from Jennifer today asked that I read that email again. Afte reviewing the email again,I am reminded that she told me that the report would come out on Monday. With the flood of emails regarding LED signs, I did not read that one carefully. Thanks to Jennifer for bringing that to my attention. She tells me today that it was an IT problem, not a Planning problem. She says that's why the report was not posted on the web until Monday (afternoon).

    Mr. Bernhardt sent me a copy of the report on Thursday and asked me not to distribute until Saturday. He wanted the commissioners to get their copy on Friday. An email from Bernhardt on Friday made no mention of any problems posting to the web. Guess I assumed that the report would be posted on Friday after working hours which is pretty normal.

    Perhaps if the Planning Commission Meeting agendas came out with a 10 day notice, the citizens might still have ample time to respond even if the IT department had a problem. Having the agenda come out on Monday before a Thursday meeting is just cutting it too close.

    This bill has many changes that required lots of time for research to plan a response. On a citywide bill such as this with no publication or signage required to announce such a meeting, the agenda is the only way that citizens are made aware that the item was even on the agenda.

    I still believe that our city as a whole can do better. Jennifer has always been very helpful with anything we have asked of her from the Planning Department. I just wanted readers to know that Ms. Regen was doing her job.