Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Better Bells Bend Plan Has Already Been Offered

The editorial in Friday's City Paper issues a lame challenge to those of us who oppose the latest fashionable plan to "develop" Bells Bend. They admonish us to share a better idea, even though the resisting Bells Bend community has been working on a sub-area plan that looks like a better idea.

That sub-area plan looks focused on fighting sprawl as it strives to retain the Bend's rural, dispersed, and greened character. Did the editors just not bother to read the plan or listen to residents? Or have they already made up their minds and their challenge is empty and disingenuous?

They sure as hell didn't seem to be listening to feedback like that of Lane Easterly who writes in the Tennessean:

For anyone attending the planning meeting two weeks ago in the Bells Bend-Scottsboro community, it was very clear that there is little, if any, support for the recently proposed May Town Center ....

By trying to appeal to the broader Nashville community, it appears the developers hope to circumvent not only the wishes of the community residents, but also the Sub-area Plan.

Their argument is Nashville will be a better place to live with one more regional development area — like Cool Springs, Hickory Hollow, Rivergate, or Green Hills. And they promise millions of new tax dollars.

Ignore the fact one regional mall not far away in Bellevue is close to closing; the economy is either in or on the verge of recession; the project requires millions of tax dollars to be spent on a new bridge; or that the developers will be asking for tax dollars to finance the project.

Ignore that the proposal directly conflicts with the Sub-area Plan; much less the wishes of the residents, as to how they believe their community should develop or not develop.

In recent years, every Nashville neighborhood has had to fight ill-conceived, incompatible development. The May Town Center is different only in the magnitude of its incompatibility.

In writing pro-developer screeds like the one they published on Friday, the City Paper editors show their own bias and their unwillingness to consider plans that don't pump as many dollars (including tax dollars, should a new bridge over the Cumberland be built) out of potential Bells Bend sprawl as possible.

So, the better idea is being offered, but the City Paper is showing that it is not interested in any ideas except those of developers who could care less about infrastructure (that doesn't serve them directly) or community (which resists commodification). And the editors are willing to go so far as to retread reporter Richard Lawson's flawed, self-contradictory, and innuendo-laden analysis of Bill Purcell's administration from last fall--though shorn of the self-contradiction--in order to do so. Hence, their editorial is too mired in flaws to address what they lecture are "true needs."

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