Friday, April 11, 2008

Local Realtor® Lobby Opposes Any Guidelines for Balanced Development

The Realtors® make some specious claims to the City Paper about movement in the Metro Council to set up guidelines to deal with the explosion of duplexes in neighborhoods:

The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors is not on board with any legislation that requires government regulation on what the group says are popular items. GNAR president Mandy Wachtler said relying on Metro having say on design and planning concerns is not practical.

“I think it’s admirable the new Council is trying to understand it,” Wachtler said. “I think you don’t want to get government in design review. If one-story houses are not what’s popular then they’re not going to come in and build those.”

Wachtler said the larger duplexes being constructed around town give potential homeowners the opportunity to live in areas like Green Hills for a reasonable price.

“With our schools, we’ve got enough of a problem losing people to Williamson County,” Wachtler said. “We don’t need to limit the housing market for people on top of it by having the government say what sort of homes we can and can’t build.”

So, if we legislate better planning into neighborhood development and constrain the tidal wave of duplexes, then people who were looking to buy in Davidson Co. are going to buy in Williamson Co. because they can't get a duplex? They're honestly going to move to the Williamson suburbs for a duplex that they can no longer get here? Are there duplexes in Williamson County? Seriously?

And who is stipulating one-story houses? Or is that just a straw man (straw house?) intended to scare people?

And let's talk about schools. Is the untrammelled ability to build more duplexes--many of which are family-challenged--actually going to stop people from moving to another county for a bigger home and yard to keep their kids in? How are we going to get better schools in Nashville without a critical mass of parents in some neighborhoods? Supersized duplexes shoe-horned onto modest plots erode that critical mass.

Expect the Realtors® and their lawyers to lobby hard against any sane plan for balanced development that includes both detached and connected structures and both empty-nest and single-family dwellings. There is no "I'll scratch your back and you scratch mine." They demand all the scratching.

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