Let’s Move Nashville — Neighbors are invited to an open house on November 9 to learn about Let’s Move Nashville, Metro’s transportation solution and twenty-five-year transit plan. This will be the focus of a referendum to be held in May to determine dedicated funding mechanisms for the $5.2 billion plan. The open house will beheld at Lentz Public Health Center, 2500 Charlotte Avenue, from 6 to 8pm, and will provide the opportunity to see where commuter rail, light rail, and significant bus improvements are proposed. The plan can also be viewed here.
The HWEN Annual meeting is Thursday, November 9 at 7pm at Belmont United Methodist Church in the Community Room. Mary Beth Ikard from the Mayor’s office will speak about the proposed transit plan and the proposed referendum to allow citizens the opportunity to create a dedicated funding source to ensure that improvements can be built. The evening will also include updates on neighborhood accomplishments, especially the Dragon restoration, and upcoming events such and HWEN tree day and Carriage Tours.
Concerns about safety issues at the intersection of Granny White and Gale Lane have been brought to my attention by many neighbors. District 17 council member Colby Sledge joined me in passing on the neighbors’ repeated request for a four-way stop to the Metro traffic engineers. To our surprise, the engineers responded with a proposal for a traffic signal, which will go before the Traffic and Parking Commission on November 13. CM Sledge and I were unable to attend the 12th South Neighborhood Association and participate in the discussion there. We will be setting up another community meeting in the coming weeks and asking the Traffic and Parking Commission to defer until December.
The Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood is pleased to announce the 2017 HWEN tree sale. They are again offering shade and flowering trees, as well as trees that produce edible fruits. Neighbors can download a form from the HWEN website, or order online. If you’re using the downloadable form, your order needs to be sent or hand-delivered by November 13 to Susan Schipani. Online orders are also due November 13. The trees will be available for pick-up on Saturday, November 18, from 8 to 10am, at the Martin Center, 2400 Fairfax Ave, south of the Dragon Park.
Belmont University Institutional Overlay — Neighbors have continued to work with Belmont University on the update of the Institutional Overlay. This plan was originally passed in 2005 to provide a roadmap of the university’s long-term growth plans. Because much of the growth that was proposed in 2005 has been accomplished, Belmont was asked to update the overlay to incorporate those changes and to describe what is expected next. The most substantive changes are the re-designation of the area bounded by 12th, Wedgewood, 15th Avenue, and Caldwell as future academic, mixed-use, and administrative use. Belmont has held two community meetings and met with neighborhood groups. Comments from the community meetings and the Belmont Neighborhood Advisory Group have been incorporated, and the final version of the overlay can be viewed on Belmont’s website. The overlay will be filed with the Planning Commission and Council for final approval with two more opportunities for public input at the public hearings. Those dates will be published as soon as they are determined.
The 12th South Water project is continuing along Beechwood Avenue. The contractor is currently laying new storm pipe down Beechwood to tie into an existing manhole near the alley. Once the pipe is connected to the manhole, they will come back and set a catch basin near the intersection. They are currently on track to be done with the storm work and have all the steel plates removed by November 17. They are removing as many plates as possible as they proceed down the road.
Reminder to keep leaves out of street gutters — As leaves drop off the trees, it is important to remember not to blow them into the gutters where they will just clog the storm water system and cause flooding. Please mulch leaves or put them in biodegradable bags and set them out at the next brush pick-up. Metro will also be working to keep gutters clear through their Street Sweeping Program. The schedule can be found here.
There will be no trash pick-up on Thanksgiving, November 23. Homes scheduled for regular trash pick-up or recycling on that day will receive pick-up on the following Saturday.
HWEN Holiday Lights Carriage Tours will take place on December 2 and 3. Start the season with a ride in a horse drawn carriage through the exuberantly decorated streets of Hillsboro West End. The proceeds from the evening will go to HWEN’s Save the Dragon campaign to finish the restoration of the Dragon at Fannie Mae Dees Park. Tickets can be pre-purchased here. This event always sells out.
Update on Short Term Rental Property Issues — Metro Council is grappling with several complex issues this month. The Vice-Mayor appointed an ad hoc committee to study the issues around Short Term Rental Property and propose legislation based on the needs of neighbors, property owners, and visitors, aiming for consensus on the key issues. Enforcement and the effect on quality of life in neighborhoods were predominant topics during the public meetings. The committee has filed legislation that would still allow short term rental in residential areas but would decrease the number of permits issued for properties where the owner does not live in the home. It would also add a distance requirement of a quarter mile between non-owner-occupied properties to avoid concentrations on any street or in any neighborhood. Metro has recently hired a software company to provide a 24/7 hotline for reporting problems and to identify properties that are operating without a permit. We are working to scale up the Codes and Appeals systems to deal with non-compliant properties identified by this effort. The proposed legislation will be on public hearing at the Planning Commission on Thursday, November 9.
Possible MLS Stadium in Nashville — The city is also considering bringing Major League Soccer to Nashville. A key component of being selected by the soccer league for an expansion team is a commitment to build a new MLS Stadium. The administration has proposed a Public Private partnership to construct the $275 million project at the Fairgrounds. $225 million of that would be paid for by Industrial Revenue Bonds, which are repaid by revenues from the project rather than from property taxes. The other $50 million, used for Fairgrounds and infrastructure improvements, would come from General Obligation Bonds, which do come from property taxes. The council reviewed the initial proposal and asked for several key changes. In cooperation with the Council and the Team Owners, the administration agreed to strengthen the guarantees that the soccer team owners, and not the taxpayers, would be responsible for the majority of the debt repayment. The project will come before the council at least twice more requiring our approval of the replacement of any of the existing buildings at the Fairgrounds and for the rezoning to add a ten acre mixed-use development. The ten-acre development, one of the most controversial parts of the proposal, is intended to add to the soccer fan experience as well as provide additional entertainment and restaurant options for other Fairground event attendees. It will also include much-needed affordable housing. Half of the property taxes generated by this portion of the project will be allocated to the Fairgrounds for capital improvements. The Council also required the addition of specific language about protecting the existing events at the Fairgrounds and setting up a mechanism to prioritize the scheduling of existing long-time Fairgrounds activities like the monthly Flea Market. Based on the changes made to the original proposal to ensure that taxpayers and the Fairgrounds are protected, the Council approved the resolution authorizing the Sports Authority to issue bonds funding the project if the MLS franchise is awarded. It is only one of many steps.
Property Assessment Appeal for 2018 — Property tax invoices were mailed out recently, and most homeowners in District 18 saw their home values increase but their property taxes decrease. This is because property values in other parts of the city increased so dramatically that the tax rate was decreased from $4.52/$100 to $3.15/$100. Informal assessment review requests will be accepted now that the Metro Trustee has mailed out the 2017 property tax invoice. Review requests can be made by calling the Property Assessor’s office at 615-862-6080 or online.
Metro Council 18th District