Thursday, April 26, 2007

On to the metro council

So now onto the metro council…. Here is an interesting fact: had it been disapproved at planning the council would have needed a larger vote (2/3, I believe), but since it was approved they only needed a majority.

Several community members including Bobbie Forrest, Minister David Taft (First Baptist Church of Hermitage—right beside the proposed building), and myself headed down to the courthouse for the second reading. The public may comment at the second reading. We had our notes outlined and were ready for a fight.

You can watch the metro council meeting here. For our section go to March 6, Part 10 and fast forward to 4:01.

It was my first council meeting. In fact, it was my first time in the courthouse. Had I not been so feisty, I may have enjoyed my new experience. It was quite interesting to see the process live. They move through bills quite quickly, however, we still waited some 2.5 hours to get to ours.

Our councilman, Harold White, wasn’t there. He was out for knee surgery. J.B. Loring was the co-sponsor of this bill. Just watch!! Loring keeps going on and on pleading for the council members to approve this bill. He was unrelenting. To me it looked like a last shot—like we can’t let the community get any kind of leg up. Like the community could totally screw it up for the developers. Like why do we have to listen to anything they say.

Oh just wait for the fun stories Loring tells!!! I’ll point them out soon!

The people in favor of the bill get to speak first. Those that spoke in favor:

Tom White
Representing the Applicant
Tune, Entrekin, & White, P.C.

Pauline Gilson
She lives in Hermitage, but not in our area.
I think she works for one of the interested parties.

Travis Pardue
The doctor who wants to build the three story building.

Russell Pitzer
Civil Engineer for the project

They all spoke on behalf of approving the additional sq. footage so that they could have a three story building.

Travis Pardue said:
“We have designed this medical office building with the patient in mind, trying to be more patient friendly.”

Yeah, but what about the neighborhood that you are disrupting? How about being neighborhood friendly?

Travis Pardue said:
“Presently, we have actually a greater demand for medical office space than we are able to even supply with this building.”

According to a letter we received from the COO of Summit Hospital, there is 66,000 sq. ft. of rental space available at the hospital. Hmmmmmm. That sounds like a contradiction to me.

Let me say that I am not against development. However, there are proper (and courteous) ways of moving into a neighborhood—especially if it’s not your own. The developers, along with the councilman, should speak to the neighborhood FIRST—not try to sneak it under their noses.

As a community we feel like we are being disregarded. Why does it always have to be about money and profit? What about the greater good? What about making it work for all parties?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The area in question

The area in question is 2.56 acres of undeveloped property. The land is between a one story church and a one story bait store. Directly across the street is a rock house with a historic overlay, which means it can’t be touched. Around the area are houses, condos, apartments and small commercial establishments. The property buyers (Dr. Travis Pardue and his posse) want to put a three story medical building on the said land. I will have pictures soon. You won’t believe your eyes! A three story building will look totally out of place in this area, not to mention traffic is already problem on this two lane road.

Okay, I’m jumping ahead…. I just get frustrated….

In 2005, the owner of the property, Merry Land Holdings, LLC, requested an amendment to replace the 11,700 square feet of office, with 31,920 Sq. Ft. of office and retail space. The request was approved, and the property was also rezoned from RM15 (Mult-Family Residential) to MUL (Mixed Use Limited). The approved plan at that time met the Community Plan Policy (Hermitage Neighborhood Design Plan) and proposed a small professional building with retail on the first floor and office on the second floor. The building was to be situated close to Central Pike to help create the pedestrian oriented center that the Community Plan envisioned.

I am extremely mad at myself because this is when we should have begun the fight.

On January 25, 2007 the property owner requested an additional 3,280 sq. ft. and proposed for the development of a 35,200 Sq. Ft. medical office building. A Metro Planning Commission staff member researched the request, history of the land, and the Community Plan Policy. At the Planning Commission Meeting the staff reviewer recommended disapproval of the additional square footage on the basis that it did not meet the Hermitage Detailed Neighborhood Design Plan. The staff reviewer cautioned that the new plan “proposes a car oriented building that is separated from the public spaces by a parking lot and surrounded by parking lots on all sides.”

After debate at the planning commission meeting—even though staff recommendation was to disapprove—the Metro Planning Commission approved the additional Sq. ft. (6-4).

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A very good place to start

So I'll start from the very beginning, which (according to Fraulein Maria) is a very good place to start.

Back in 2004, over 300 residents, business owners and the like came together to update the Donelson-Hermitage Community Plan. The metro planning commission adopted the plan in October of 2004. According to the metro planning website:

Community plans establish a clear vision of the kind of place
the community wants to be in the future balanced with sound
planning principles to accommodate growth.

Inside the Donelson-Hermitage Community Plan they created the Hermitage Detailed Neighborhood Design Plan, which is “for smaller neighborhoods in the community that members believe need more study.”

Over the last three years, the Donelson-Hermitage Community Plan, according to my sources in the community, has been continually overlooked. Meaning, the plan that over 300 residents spent some five months creating has been ignored.

WHY? Now, I am a sensible person, and I know that things happen and plans get changed, but continually?

The battle

We (our neighborhood) have been battling the construction of a three-story medical building. It will be located on the corner of Dodson Chapel and Central Pike in Hermitage. The battle has been on for several months and believe me it is very frustrating.

It doesn't make sense to me why our mostly residential neighborhood must be infiltrated by large commercial establishments. Especially a medical building--when there is a large hospital down the road with plenty of adequate space. And, why does it have to be so big????

Stay tuned for the full story!!!