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bwithers1 last won the day on October 8 2014

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About bwithers1

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  • Birthday 12/16/1974

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    Nashville, TN

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  1. bwithers1


    Any transit plan will have to include extensive public engagement about what kind of transit options are desired and where, then the preliminary engineering has to be done, then an accounting firm has to verify that the proposed dedicated revenue stream will fund the proposed engineering and right-of-way acquisition to build the system and then to operate it. Then that accounting firm's report is reviewed by the State. All of that will take several years to meet the State requirements in the IMPROVE Act before a ballot referendum can be sent to the Davidson County voters. That process may likely take longer than the four years of the next term that will end in August of 2023. That is Mayor Briley's point: can all of the above be completed before August 2023? Perhaps. Would it be likely to receive voter approval if Metro also has to raise the property tax rate during that period in order to fund the government's and MNPS's operating budgets? That's a much higher hurdle. It's not that transit discussions and planning are going to be placed on hold for four years. But having a plan in place to send to voters for approval in a referendum vote before August 2023 may be possible but with limited prospects for success. Whatever plan gets sent to voters the next time really needs to be able to pass. Rushing it but having it fail would cast a deep shadow over future regional transit planning prospects.
  2. I commute down 4th Ave South to Berry Hill each morning. If drivers see the train in time, they tend to turn right at the cemetery and go around Ft. Negley Boulevard to Chestnut. Then they either go east into Wedgewood Houston to get to Wedgewood or go west on Chestnut to 8th/Edgehill to continue going southbound around the train. But if you get stuck at the train tracks at 4th Ave South you are going to be there a while. That train tends to be a long one.
  3. bwithers1


    815 Main Street: still preliminary. There is a BZA hearing scheduled in February for sidewalk ordinance variances that will be required due to the narrowness of the lot.
  4. The full information on this case can be found starting on pages 102-111 of this week's Planning Commission hearing staff analysis document This is an East Nashville Community Plan amendment to extend the T4 Community Center policy one parcel east from Gallatin to cover 1109 McGavock and then to apply a Transition policy for the next parcels to the east, 1111 on the north side of the street and 1110 on the south side of the street. The associated zone change for 1111 McGavock is to OR20-A to permit an office use of this structure, which used to be a house and currently has a non-owner-occupied STR permit. The name of the property owner is indicated on the staff analysis for the zone change (item 18b). There is a lot of stuff on this week's MPC agenda. The zone change for the former Gallatin Ave WalMart space where the new retail building was constructed is apparently required in order to allow the Urgent Care company that already has signage up to take over the southernmost bay of that building. It must be the case that the medical clinic use is not classified as retail in the land use tables. OrangeTheory Fitness just opened in December in the northernmost bay of this building. My understanding is that the other two tenants in the middle bays will be a T-Mobile store and a Great Clips salon.
  5. bwithers1

    Green Hills/Belle Meade Projects

    The Board's discussion was that the move of Hillwood High School to the new Bellevue location placed it much closer to and/or a shorter commute for most of the students who use the school.
  6. My thoughts, exactly. Hotel with a restaurant along the Woodland Street frontage.
  7. bwithers1

    West End/Mid Town/Music Row/Vandy Projects

    The Metro Historic Zoning Commission staff have already conducted studies to determine which buildings in the Music Row and Midtown areas are historic individually or as part of a district. A couple of years ago the property owners of those buildings were surveyed about their interest in adding local historic zoning protections to those buildings to prevent them from being demolished (other work and even additions can still proceed). My understanding is that all or most of those building owners declined or refused to add such local historic zoning protections to their properties.
  8. I have not heard any specific updates. Creative office space is in line with what the original plan was when the Specific Plan was approved several years ago. The sanctuary buildings were to be retrofitted for office spaces with some shared amenities, a restaurant, some retail spaces and a small number of houses on the perimeter. The manse or parsonage house was to be renovated back to serving as a house. I am not certain of the relative saturation of the East Nashville market for shared/creative office space today. A lot has come online in the last few years since the SP was approved. But perhaps someone in the commercial real estate world could enlighten us more on that point.
  9. There is interior demo going on, which does not require MHZC review. But staff's (and my) understanding is that the plan is to retain as much of the original interior of the sanctuary building as possible. My understanding is also that the rear, midCentury portion was gutted already which is not necessarily a loss architecturally and is actually helpful to the renovation work. But no, there are no applications to demolish either the historic sanctuary structure or the addition. There had been the renovation/rehab permit from back in 2015, but there have not been any new permits issued just yet since the property transfer happened on November 30th or so of this year. Maintenance work does not require a permit. It may be the case that the crews are working on cleaning some stuff out so that they can determine the scope of the work for the permits. Or a permit application could be on file but not yet issued. Codes sometimes allows some work to commence while paperwork is underway since it can take so long to get the permit issued. I can look into if there are more questions after the holidays. I can see how a worker would fear that the building is coming down given the poor condition that it is in. I would say that this building is not out of the woods just yet. But this is another case in which finding the right buyer with the financial wherewithal to take on a sensitive reuse of this building has saved it probably just in time. The same is true for 819 Russell.
  10. Demolition of this structure would require a public hearing with a structural engineering assessment similar to the demolition request for 628 Shelby that is on today's Metro Historic Zoning Commission (MHZC) agenda Meetings/12-19-18/SR 628 Shelby 3.pdf. I called over to Historic and there is no such application on file for 1700 Fatherland. The architect is in contact with the MHZC staff and neither a total nor a partial demolition has been requested. I appreciate your keeping an eye on this one; the renovation/rehab work appears to be on target with the design guidelines and has not yet reached the point at which staff-level approvals for permits have been required. But please keep me posted.
  11. Correct. I am excited to see this one moving forward, finally. There are some storm water utility easements where required infrastructure upgrades complicate construction on this site. Those discussions between MWS, MDHA and other bodies have been going on for quite some time and are still ongoing. More to follow.
  12. That corner retail space is still listed for lease. I had some inquiries about that to amend the Specific Plan to permit some good uses that are not currently listed as permitted uses in the SP. It was conceivable to me that the uses would enjoy community support. But the SP amendment process is quite lengthy and still requires public hearings. So I don't anticipate that the SP amendment will move forward at this time. We are getting close to the point in the calendar at which SP and other zoning bill filings will stop because the Metro Council term ends in August and whatever legislation has not been approved by that second meeting in August will die. Before long there will not be time to get bills on the public hearing calendars for completion before then. Plus, there are no Metro Council zoning bill public hearings in June due to the budget hearings. I would anticipate heavy public hearing agendas in May and then again in July and August.
  13. The mulch yard is a problem from a health perspective because of the amount of particulate matter that the operation stirs into the air and from the fires that start in the mulch. PSC is much further away on the other side of the Interstate. But the mulch yard is right next to where residences are being built. It is a hindrance to further development on private property on South 5th Street. South 5th is the one part of District 6 where I regularly ask the development community to make that property owner a good offer and let me know what they would like to build there. I don't support most zone changes in established residential areas. But zone changes in industrially-zoned or utilized areas near existing or emerging residential or mixed-use areas are worth discussing. My phone number is on the Metro Council website . . .
  14. I have seen and am well aware of the cones and other items on Russell. Please trust me on that You are both correct that residents (or businesses or churches) cannot place cones in the street. Public Works has to approve street closure permits for road repairs or utility work, and in those cases cones are approved for safety precautions. The police department can also use cones to direct traffic safely for large events. But otherwise personal property that is placed in the public right of way such as cones, chairs, tables, brooms, etc, are a violation of the law and can be removed from the public right of way or even discarded by anyone. This has happened on occasion, and it has resulted in volatile reactions on both sides and has taken up vast amounts of my time responding to calls, emails, texts, Tweets, FaceBook Messenger posts, all-out FaceBook page tagging with all of the amounts of social media commenting that you might imagine, etc. So please, for my sake, and for the sake of my ability to work a job, focus on truly important Metro Council matters, and occasionally sleep, please do not move someone's cones. Just park somewhere else nearby. On a more serious note, I would say that there is some fault on both sides here: residents should not place cones in the street, but also drivers should not move them. "Can" and "should" are different things. There is plenty of surface parking in the Five Points area, and drivers should be using those pay lots on Woodland Street, et al, or riding a bus, biking or even walking. But human nature often leans toward the path of least resistance, and so a nominal parking fee of a couple dollars prompts people to seek free parking in the residential areas, which means that the residential areas become default parking lots for the commercial areas nearby. Then those residents or their service providers or guests cannot get to the residences because business employees are parked along the street for up to 8-10 hours at a time, and meanwhile the surface parking lots are empty or mostly empty. On the other hand, the pay lots issue tickets for overstaying a meter that are quite a bit higher than Metro can charge for a parking ticket on the street, and then to boot (pun intended) the pay lot operators hire companies who boot violators and this adds about another $60 on top of the pay lot meter violation. So this means that someone parking in a pay lot can be charged about $60 for overstaying the meter by a few minutes or about $100 for overstaying a meter and getting booted or can be towed off of pay lots for $155. So then what happens is that business employees in particular do not park in the parking lots (businesses discourage employees from parking in their parking lots), they park all day or all night long in residential areas instead. And then, as I mentioned, the residents or their service providers (child or elder care givers, house cleaners, dog sitters, HVAC repair service providers, and on and on) cannot get close to the house. This is even if the house has alley access and a garage or parking pad. And houses that do not have a garage or parking pad and have had no parking challenges for decades can suddenly overnight find that a new restaurant or bar has opened and there is no street parking available at their house and that the cost of adding a parking pad with an alley gate is tens of thousands of dollars and the cost of constructing a garage or a DADU is six figures. That is understandably a shock to someone to have to pay in an area that for decades was located close to a public park and commercially-zoned land that was vacant surface parking lots or warehouses or low-parking-generator businesses. And then suddenly overnight those buildings become converted to office buildings that lack parking or restaurants, bars or entertainment centers that lack parking and that attract a large number of patrons who drive and park there at dinner time and into the late evening hours. It is great to have adaptive reuses of these buildings. I live at Gallatin/Granada and having that portion of Gallatin be lined with restaurants, etc is great. But look at the parking on the already very narrow streets nearby. No, not everyone is taking the 26/56 bus lines, walking, biking or even taking ride share: the visual evidence supports the conclusion that lots and lots of people working at or patronizing these great new businesses are driving cars and parking. Part of the challenge on Russell in particular is that, yes, sometimes residents put out cones and can be frustrated by people who move the cones and that yes, sometimes young people in cars going to bars and restaurants move the cones in front of elderly peoples' houses and are rude to the residents as well. These interactions can be volatile on both sides. And then residential permit parking applications get filed to help strike a balance between resident and business parking needs. If more people took public transportation, biked, scootered, walked, or even carpooled to the restaurant and entertainment venues, then the parking demand for those venues would be in line with what the zoning code requires. But instead, people talk a lot about transit and carpooling but actually still drive everywhere and leave surface lots vacant while scouring the neighborhood for a residential spot where they can park for free. So, theoretically, for every four people at a table in a restaurant, there could be four cars. As an exercise, count the number of cars driven per attendee at the Urban Planet forum meets. If the Urban Planet forum meetings result in something close to a 1:1 attendee/parked car ratio, then imagine the parking demand generated by attendees or participants of less urbanist events. And then look at the maps where the three dozen or more residential permit parking zones are located in the city today and you will find Hillsboro Village, the Belmont area, Edgehill Village/Music Row and a few other areas heavily represented. I am working with the Russell Street neighbors to look into a compromise residential permit parking solution that may work for most people so that neighbors will stop placing cones in the street and businesses will stop using the residential blocks as their default "free" parking lots. Wish me luck!
  15. Not to worry . . . My understanding is that there will be a Starbucks with a drive-through window at Sharpe/Gallatin as part of the Hill Center Greenwood project and there will also be a Starbucks outpost in the renovated Eastland Kroger. I need to get over to check out Slow Hand.