Thursday, July 24, 2008

Council Members Come Before Planning Commission on Bells Bend

Lonell Matthews (whom the City Paper called a "flip-flopper" on this issue) up first.  Mentions that 92% of people in area are opposed to May Town Center proposal.  Says he thought city planners offered a plan that would provide balance and lead nationally.  Says more questions need to be answered before plan can be approved:
  • location of bridge
  • infrastructure cost
Says that he is here not to express his personal support, but to represent his District 1 constituents.  But, ouch, he's comparing his constituents to children who don't like vegetables.  Mentioned the "flip-flopping" charges leveled at him earlier today.  Encouraged Commission to explore Bells Bend's neighborhood "3rd vision" for the Bend against the May Town Center alternative.

Emily Evans is up next.  Median income of Distict 1 is $18,000, much less than other major sections of Davidson County.  Developer missing the fact that builds like this elsewhere have a common denominator:  people with high median incomes (in Virginia and in Cool Springs).  Cockrill Bend bridge decision is a "purely political" decision.  Evans would prefer that bridge come through "the front door."  Approval of Scottsboro plan without May Town Center, send the developers back to the drawing board.

Mike Jameson next.  Supports Lonell Matthews and opposes May Town Center.  Vacancy rate Downtown is currently 10.7%.  Could be as high as 20% once underconstruction projects are finished.  He asks why we need this component when we have a satisfactory vacancy rate?  CBD leaders need guarantees that MTC would not detract from the central core.  He argues that MTC would also detract from the development of blighted urban areas like the East Bank, which already has 3 bridges.  Money quote:  "If you're going to build a strip mall in forest it doesn't help us that you're going to use compact flourescent blubs."

Jason Holleman follows Jameson (tough act to follow).  Appeals to commission on behalf of his constituents "across the river" from Bells Bend.  Concerned about the "flow through" and the lack of sub-area plans in his district.  Drove through the area, and he applauded the Benders who took charge of their destiny and proposed a detailed plan as an alternative to the alternative.

Buddy Baker simply asked for a deferral.

Eric "English Only" Crafton up next.  Says government should have a "laisssez-faire" attitude toward developers.  (I need someone to translate French for me while Metro employees can still do so before the English First referendum is passed).  No surprise he would be on the side of unfettered development; his occupation is "Home Builder."  He believes that May Town Center would compete.  He doesn't want the "whole county held hostage" so that the CBD can get more money.  Says that Bells Benders should be heard (gee, thanks!).  Wants to look at Nashville as "one component, not we vs. they."  Took some time to kiss up to "this mayor" in his expanding, rambling speech.  (I wish Vice Mayors Howard Gentry or Diane Neighbors were available to reign Mr. Crafton in as they did so effectively in council meetings).  Ends with a wish for a unified Nashville.  The ironic, comic relief portion is now over; let's hope so.

Michael Craddock says that he is here to learn about growth and about both sides of the issue.  He says he has not formed an opinion.  Mentions the property tax referendum and says that we are at a crossroads.  Wants the city to be selective and lood for "good, quality development that increases the tax base."   Uh-oh.  Sounds like he has developed an opinion.  Calls for a deferral and a "full vetting" of the information.

That's it for the Council Members present to speak.

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