Friday, September 9, 2011

Metro Council needs neighborhood advocates

You've seen my neighborhood.  You know I'm an advocate. When I served on the Metro Council, my district downzoned more area than any other district in the city. Residents who normally don't organize asked for the action, organized petition drives & met my request to show that 80% of affected property owners were in support of it.

That process worked. Some efforts took longer than others, and the process changed when I moved into a second term and new Councilmembers objected. Overall, the process worked - not just to restrict construction of "attached homes" where large-scale residential construction was allowed in primarily single-family neighborhoods. It also drove the Council to come to a new definition that solved the need to re-zone property to protect property owner's interests.

Base zoning in the area allowed construction of  "duplexes", homes built at the time to look like one home, usually ranch-style. I was an owner-occupant of one before I married. It was built in 1950. New "duplexes" became two stand-alone homes with 10-foot connecting wall during the booming '80's and beyond. They often pushed the limits of design to do this. Sometimes they worked. Often they didn't.

After I left the Council, the debate rolled on. It adopted a new definition of "duplex," defining two-stand alone homes on one lot as a "duplex" when they meet all set-back requirements and stand 10-feet apart just like they would if they had a wall.  That compromise satisfied everyone, except us language purists and I did not object. The issue died down. Community standards won.

Today endorsements for neighborhood-friendly candidates now in a run-off election for Metro Council were announced. Solutions can emerge from collaboration and consensus.
When partisan interests are tempered with thoughtful, impressive advocacy progress can happen.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nashville Community Education has an AmeriCorps Vista position open

This would be a good short-term position for someone interested in public service. Please pass along the job description.  The position is open until filled.