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Paramount747

Does The Metro Council Have Too Much Power?

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Just throwing this question out there. It seems every time there is a large scale project, the Metro Council has to have 3 votes on it. Just read in the Lenar thread where that will have to go before the Metro Council too. When does this stop?

 

If Nashville is to be a free market city in this time of growth and prosperity, can the council just not let things happen? I know this does not quite fit in line with my politics, but it seems we are giving 30+ council members way to much power here to stifle growth and development if they so choose.

 

Does anyone agree?

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Right now a lot of projects go before council because they are changing to SP zoning (or some other upzone) instead of whatever the base zoning is.

 

I think this is reflective of the fact that our previous general plan (Concept 2010) is more than two decades old.

 

When NashvilleNext takes over in 2015, you will probably see much less need for rezoning and therefore fewer trips to Metro Council.

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Right now a lot of projects go before council because they are changing to SP zoning (or some other upzone) instead of whatever the base zoning is.

 

I think this is reflective of the fact that our previous general plan (Concept 2010) is more than two decades old.

 

When NashvilleNext takes over in 2015, you will probably see much less need for rezoning and therefore fewer trips to Metro Council.

Thanks for the info!

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The short answer to your question is, no, the council doesn't have too much power. What we are is a democracy which has chosen to have a regulated growth and development plan. The council is the body that represents all of us, not just the moneyed interests in deciding whether a new development is in the public's interest or not. It is not a "free market" and was never intended to be. Some projects get incentives and relief from current regulation, and some get voted down. Neither activity is part of a "free market.".

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I think one of the issues in Nashville is the MDHA and the planning commission. They seem to be overly cautious. An example of this is the City Lights project being too tall. It was denied. There are other examples in the past, but something needs to give. If you pay high dollars for property, then you need to put more on the property thus go higher to make the numbers work.

I made a comment to WW that these folks are scared of their own shadows or at least the shadow of a tall building.

The current zoning needs to be changed and the process streamlined.

As to the Council and the differing commissions, there has to be time for public comment because we are after all a democracy.

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I think one of the issues in Nashville is the MDHA and the planning commission. They seem to be overly cautious. An example of this is the City Lights project being too tall. It was denied. There are other examples in the past, but something needs to give. If you pay high dollars for property, then you need to put more on the property thus go higher to make the numbers work.

I made a comment to WW that these folks are scared of their own shadows or at least the shadow of a tall building.

The current zoning needs to be changed and the process streamlined.

As to the Council and the differing commissions, there has to be time for public comment because we are after all a democracy.

The other side of the coin with MDHA and the Planning Commission is that sometimes people are making plans for buildings - and investing money in those plans - based on zoning that is not actually in place.  That is called speculation.  Folks who are purchasing a property do so with full knowledge of what the zoning currently actually allows.  Or they they should hire a licensed Realtor or land use attorney to help them understand what they can and cannot do with property that they are purchasing.  Seeking a zone change for a property is one thing, but property owners need to understand the risk that the zone change request or variance might not be approved.

 

As for the comment that the Planning Commission and MDHA are afraid of tall buildings, we have only to look at 505CST, which is set to receive MDHA incentives, and all of the zone changes that the Planning Commission has recommended in the Music Row Roundabout area to allow greater height than the community plan allows, to see that MDHA and the Planning Commission are obviously NOT afraid of tall buildings categorically. 

 

Sometimes design guidelines including height limitations were put in place for a reason, including in Rutledge/Rolling Mill Hill, and a public process needs to be followed to change those guidelines in order to allow greater height at certain spots.  So if the developer of the CityLights project wants to amend those design guidelines, he or she needs to get the very strong support of the other property owners in that district to request that change to allow greater height.

Edited by bwithers1
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The other side of the coin with MDHA and the Planning Commission is that sometimes people are making plans for buildings - and investing money in those plans - based on zoning that is not actually in place.  That is called speculation.  Folks who are purchasing a property do so with full knowledge of what the zoning currently actually allows.  Or they they should hire a licensed Realtor or land use attorney to help them understand what they can and cannot do with property that they are purchasing.  Seeking a zone change for a property is one thing, but property owners need to understand the risk that the zone change request or variance might not be approved.

 

As for the comment that the Planning Commission and MDHA are afraid of tall buildings, we have only to look at 505CST, which is set to receive MDHA incentives, and all of the zone changes that the Planning Commission has recommended in the Music Row Roundabout area to allow greater height than the community plan allows, to see that MDHA and the Planning Commission are obviously NOT afraid of tall buildings categorically. 

 

Sometimes design guidelines including height limitations were put in place for a reason, including in Rutledge/Rolling Mill Hill, and a public process needs to be followed to change those guidelines in order to allow greater height at certain spots.  So if the developer of the CityLights project wants to amend those design guidelines, he or she needs to get the very strong support of the other property owners in that district to request that change to allow greater height.

Why would we have height restrictions in the downtown loop anyway? Why is 11 stories too tall for Rolling Mill Hill? Do they want to risk this developer moving on and going to another city? With the legal fights Southern Land is having in Green Hills, it would not surprise me if they never developed here again.

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Southern Land is based in Franklin, so I doubt they will never develop in Nashville again, but I hear your point. Southern Land could easily be another developer from outside of Nashville.

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Southern Land is based in Franklin, so I doubt they will never develop in Nashville again, but I hear your point. Southern Land could easily be another developer from outside of Nashville.

At least not in Green Hills.

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Why would we have height restrictions in the downtown loop anyway? Why is 11 stories too tall for Rolling Mill Hill? Do they want to risk this developer moving on and going to another city? With the legal fights Southern Land is having in Green Hills, it would not surprise me if they never developed here again.

There are lots of places inside the downtown loop that have height restrictions. 

 

Germantown is the prime example.  Germantown's HPZ and MDHA redevelopment district design guidelines mostly limit buildings to three stories, although there are some areas where four or maybe five stories are allowed.  Despite - or perhaps because of - these height limitations, Germantown is filling out to be one of the most "urban" neighborhoods in all of Nashville. 

 

The development community has largely found ways to work within the design guidelines in Germantown.  The development community will likely do the same in the Rutledge Hill/Rolling Mill Hill area. 

 

There is a process for hearing MDHA variance requests.  This particular request was denied.  Someone will bring forward a project for this site that either (1) meets the design guidelines including the height limitations or (2) meets sufficient criteria to convince a panel of Commissioners to grant a height variance.

Edited by bwithers1
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The current zoning needs to be changed and the process streamlined.

 

 

Because, obviously, nothing is currently getting built anywhere in Nashville.

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