Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I love debate

Debate about our corner here. And here.

Again, we would welcome a medical building. And, we would welcome our new neighbors. But, the scale will overshadow our neighborhood and the location upon the lot makes it a car-oriented building. Then, guess what? That precedent-setting big building brings on more big buildings and more big buildings. Next thing you know we're "in the heart of a medical district."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Letter to the Editor

The News Herald (Hermitage, Donelson, Old Hickory paper) wrote an article on the building approval. This is a letter that one homeowner has sent to the paper refuting some of the statements.

Dear Editor:

Re: The News Herald 5/17/2007 article, “Council OKs 3-Story Office on Central Pike, i.e., corner of Central Pike & Dodson Chapel Road

As an actively involved Hermitage neighbor, I am concerned that your recent article regarding the three-story medical office building on Central Pike in Hermitage included misleading information and was missing some very important facts about what actually happened.

To begin, there were NOT three community meetings held by the councilman or the developer for this project. Councilman Harold White told the Council that in 2005 he held a community meeting under a tent but that no one had attended. This was probably due to the fact that the only notice was a short paragraph in this newspaper delivered to neighbors two hours before the meeting. Many received it the day after.

White told the Planning Commission that indeed he had NOT held a community meeting in 2007 for this current rezoning. He claimed the setback was the only issue before them, when in fact there was much more. Now the developer (the same one as the Villages of Riverwood) wanted three-stories instead of two, a change from retail/office and residential to medical, 35,000 square feet, as well as the change in the building setback.

The Metro Council, concerned over a conflict between the comments made by the neighbors and the claims made by the co-sponsor, deferred the vote on second reading and asked the sponsor to meet with the community. After this, Hermitage Meadows neighbors sponsored their own community meeting. It was here that most neighbors first learned of the rezoning and voiced their concern and extreme opposition. They were extremely opposed to a three-story building and losing their Neighborhood Center land use policy designed by them in the Sub-Area 14 Plan. The neighbors asked for a compromise. As a result of this meeting, Councilman White agreed that neighborhood leaders and the developer should meet again to work out a compromise.

This action gave the neighbors and the other Council members in attendance the perception that the developers would work with the neighbors to come up with a compromise. The Council voted to pass on second reading and defer indefinitely because White told the Council that he wanted time for neighbors and developers to work out a compromise. Unfortunately, when this meeting finally occurred, White and the developers told neighbors that there would be no negotiating and no compromise. White's comments were, "You have two choices, you can get on board with the developers, or you don’t. Either way we are building a three-story medical office building here."

At third reading, White told the Council he had held three community meetings. Was he counting the tent in 2005, the neighbors meeting, and the negotiations meeting intended for a few neighbors where White and the developer broke their agreement to compromise? At least three members of Council spoke in opposition to the bill. The Planning Staff revealed that this rezoning would indeed change the building from two-stories to three, increase the square footage, change the plan from retail/office with residential, as well as the building setback. The Planning Staff agreed with what the neighbors had said all along, that the setback was not the only issue.

White's agreement to work toward compromise had been broken. A quick voice vote was taken with votes both for and against. This unusually quick vote had many believing they were voting to cut off debate and not the bill. A machine vote was not taken.

The citizens of Hermitage deserve to read all of the facts of what really happens with decisions that affect their community. Councilman White signed an agreement to support the Sub-Area 14 Plan, yet not once has this occurred. He has supported developers over constituents for the past four years. He ignored many signed petitions against re-zoning issues, i.e., re-zoning on Central Pike, ignored Donelson neighbors on a McCrory Creek office building, ignored over 500 neighbors who opposed Villages of Riverwood, ignored 600 Hermitage Hills neighbors against Ravenwood, and ignored 100% of Donelson’s Riverpoint neighbors who opposed commercial encroachment into their neighborhood. This current rezoning was no different.

It is important that the citizens know all of the facts when it comes to details about the actions and decisions made by their elected officials. The Sub-Area 14 Plan created by citizens for Hermitage and Donelson is being chopped up and destroyed by a councilman who refuses to respect the plan and his constituents. This has got to stop!! Remember, we have an election in August.

Bobbie Forrest

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Harold screws us again

Well, Mr. White screwed his constituents again. The only good that may come of this is that he will be booted from his post.

They approved the building.

It's all about the money. Tygard brought up that the council should remember the tax base. I understand that, as White pointed out in the May 7 community meeting, the city is in need of money. So that means we destroy the look and feel of our communities?? So be it, but don't freakin' ask us want we want!! Don't waste our time developing a sub-area plan if you're not going to follow it!!!! Just do what you want!!! Quit wasting OUR time!!!!!

Another fun fact: Tonight Harold said that their were "six" people at the May 7 community meeting. Well, let me ask you, Harold, do you think the community is psychic? Do you think they just automatically show up? NO, you have to put some effort into inviting them!!! Like we did!!!! And, I'm sorry, but I've been too freakin' too busy to do your job for you.

Thanks again to Council Lady Tucker who spoke her mind, spent her time and cares about us!

Mr. Loring already says that we are "in the heart of a medical district". WELL, GET READY!!! Because this building is only the first. Now that the've set the precedent say good bye to our small community.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

May 7

At Harold’s community meeting he asked me if anyone else was going to show up. My reply was that we didn’t have time to get people together.

Besides it was his meeting shouldn’t he put out signs and flyers, etc like we did?

White told us that we were not there to negotiate. My reply was, “then, why am I here? Why didn’t you just send me an email that says ‘this is what we are doing and you have no say-so.’ Why are you wasting my time?” At this point I am totally fed up with this fucking bullshit!! And, that’s what it is!!!

Council Lady Tucker and her husband came in at the end and she heard Harold say again that we weren’t there to negotiate. She has been a great help to us!! She has given lots of advice and we GREATLY APPRICIATE her help!!!

I know that there are other good council members like Council Lady Tucker, but Harold White and J.B. Loring sure are making the whole council look bad.

Meeting with the developers

Our understanding was that we (the community leaders) were supposed to get with the developers and come up with some sort of compromise. After all that’s what White had said.

Here’s a breakdown of our correspondence with the developers:

The day after our community meeting I contacted Jim Murphy with CSP Associates via email.


Jim- Thank you for attending last night and for your insight. I am available any night the week of 3/26. I will also contact a couple of the residents and double check their schedules. Please contact your folks and let me know what looks good for them. We really want to come to a compromise so that everyone is happy.


Thanks Cindy, I will get back with you early next week once I have a better handle on my schedule. Jim.


Cindy: Monday (3/27) or Wednesday (3/29) would for us. I would like to suggest that we meet at approximately 5:45 pm at Maryland Farms in Brentwood. This would allow us to look at the 5210 Maryland Way Building ( Hermitage Medical Center will be similiar in size and design ). We would then like to take you and other community leaders to dinner at Sperry's in Cool Springs. A private dining room will be available for our use. I look forward to hearing back from you regarding our meeting plans. Thanks for your time and consideration. Jim.


Cindy : As a follow-up to our discussion at this past Tuesday's (3/20/07 ) Metro Council Meeting, I would once again like to extend our invitation to meet for dinner to further review and discuss our plan of development. I still think that it would be most helpful to visit the "5210" building in Maryland Farms prior to dinner. This building is very similar in size, (square footage) scope and design to our plan of development for Hermitage Medical Center. I would be happy to reserve a private dining room at Sperry's for you and other selected community leaders. Monday 3/26 and /or Wednesday 3/28 would work for us. Please advise should either one of these dates or another suitable time work for your schedule Thank-you again for your time and consideration. Jim (included his cell phone number)

Jim- Thanks for the email. It turns out that neither Monday, 3/26 or Wednesday, 3/28 are good for us. There is a DHNA meeting on Monday and Pastor Taft would like to be included but has church on Wednesday.

Am I right to say that the 3rd reading has been deferred, meaning it won’t come up two weeks from Tuesday? Do we have a little more time? If you could give us some additional dates that would work for your bunch, then I’ll do the same.



Good morning Cindy , thank-you for getting back with me. In regards to additional dates we will probably have to look at some times after the Easter holiday break. Also I would like to pick-up a copy of the "hospital letter" that you read into the record at the 3/15/07 neighborhood meeting. Thanks again, Jim.

Great. Let’s go ahead and get a date set. Let me know some dates that work for you. Thanks, Cindy

Cindy : As it turns out we do have a free night prior to Easter, how does Monday April 2nd work for your group? Can I also pick up a copy of the hospital letter? Thanks, Jim.


Jim- We are not available on April 2. There is a DHNA board meeting that night. Please find out all dates that your folks are available for the weeks of 4/9 and 4/16.

I do not feel comfortable giving you the letter. It was, however, sent to the councilmen if you’d like to contact one of them.


Thanks Cindy, I will get back with you.


Cindy : Our group is available for a dinner meeting on Tuesday April 10,2007 or lunch on Friday April 13, 2007. Please let me know if either one of these dates will work for your group. Also please provide the names and physical addresses of members of your group who plan to attend said meeting. Thanks, Jim.


Jim- Tonight doesn’t work. Lunch will not work as we have a teacher in the group. I am working on getting some more dates. Will get back to you soon.

Thanks Cindy.


Jim- Check and see if Monday, April 30 would work for your group. Thanks, Cindy


Cindy: Doctor Chris Pardue will be out of town and unable to meet on 4/30/07. Jim.


Good morning Cindy, we have reserved the community meeting room at the Hermitage Police precinct on Thursday May 3,2007. Meeting time will be at 6:30 P.M. Looking forward to meeting with you again. Thanks, Jim.

Are you all available Friday, April 27?

Thursday, May 3 doesn’t work for us.


Good morning Cindy: I have been trying to juggle schedules on our side in regards to a suitable meeting time. Dr Pardue will be out of town during late April. Therefore we are going ahead with our planned meeting time of 5/3/07. This date should provide enough lead time to allow members of your side to attend said meeting. Thank you for your time and consideration in regards to this matter. Jim.

Jim- Let’s be fair here. I realize that you have deadlines and would like to move forward. However, we have conflicts that should be worked around too. May 3 does not work for a couple of the main players in our group. If Dr. Pardue was out of town you wouldn’t hold the meeting. A couple of the council members would like to attend so we are working with their schedules as well.

Would any day next week (besides 4/26) work for your group?


Cindy: The 5/3/07 date works best for most of our group. Please let your members know that the room has already been reserved for said date. See you in a couple of weeks. Jim.

Jim- April 30 works best for ALL of our group. Let’s remember whose neighborhood that you are coming into! It’s our neighborhood!!! Truthfully, I am really tired of dealing with it, which makes me VERY frustrated. And, I am here to tell you that we WILL NOT be bullied!!!

Let your group know that we have the Hermitage First Baptist Church reserved for the evening of Monday, April 30.

After that Susan Floyd, president of DHNA (Donelso- Hermitage Neighborhood Association) corresponded with Jim Murphy and got the same responses. Then we email Harold White several times, (starting on April 27) including a copy to the council saying that we can't meet on this date and that the developers were well aware of that.

On May 3 (date they reserved the communtiy center) at 1:14pm White sends
this email to Susan Floyd and council members:

It has come to my attention that the developer and the neighborhood
group/leader have been unable to agree upon a satisfactory meeting date
regarding the above described project. I appreciate both sides suggesting
several prospective dates during the last (6) weeks. However, in the interest
of being fair to both parties I have canceled the scheduled neighborhood meeting of May 3, 2007 . Said meeting has now been re-scheduled for Monday, May 7, 2007 at 6:30 pm at the Hermitage Police Precinct community meeting room.

It is my sincere hope that representatives from both parties will be able to attend.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter.

Harold White

So this gives 4 days to prepare. Truthfully, and this point I was drained, tired of dealing with it. One of Mr. Loring's previous statements was that "There's been a lot of work that's gone into this project." He's right! And, half of all that work was done by us--the neighborhood!!!! The big difference is that the developers pay people to do work for them.

March 20 Council Meeting

At the next council meeting (part 9/at 9:40 and part 10) they started out with Loring giving a committee report (Planning Commission). He said that they had approved this project 8-0. In fact, they approved 6-4. (Surely, he had it written down in front of him.)

Then Mr. White says:

“I’d like to get this passed on second reading and then defer it on 3rd reading
indefinitely in order for the developers and the community to get back together
again and see if there’s any way they can work anything out on what the both of
them want.”

Then there was a motion to pass and it was seconded.

Mr. White wanted to make sure that the council knows all the facts:

“The bill that’s before us right now is an amendment bill RS-2007-022. The original bill for MUL zoning was begun in 2005 and was passed in 2006 by planning and by the council and stands as MUL. I made the developer at that time to go and talk to all the neighbors, which is five houses that connect with the property. And, and a store across the street and a CPA firm across the street. And a house on that. We didn’t have anybody objecting to it. But, I told the developer that he had to have a public meeting at least one. The developer couldn’t get to the community center, to the police department so he rented a tent. And, had a tent put on the lot. And, we had signs and we ran an ad in the local community Herald newspaper announcing this meeting. And, nobody showed up. Nobody has called me with any regard to the MUL zoning that was being done. Signs were posted for the Sept. planning community meeting and nobody showed. Same thing at the council public hearing meeting. Nobody showed. I found out about this amendment two months ago. This bill was passed MUL and done and over with and I hadn’t even thought about it. Then, I get a notice from planning that says this PUD is being amended by a new owner. I contacted the previous man that I had asked to do all this for. He said that the people that were originally planned to do the building on this property the deal fell through and they ran out of money. And, he had so much money tied up into it that he had to sell it. So he sold it to another group who in turn wanted to put a medical office building on this lot of three stories. And place it in the center of the lot. Now we met with Mr. Rick Bernheart, myself, Mr. Loring, two other staff members from planning, and two members of the Hermitage neighborhood association in the conference room at the planning department two months ago. And, the question was asked by the developer then, ‘Can we build a three story building on this lot?’ Mr. Bernhart said ‘because of the MUL that has been approved and passed you can put a three story building on there. Because you can make a 10% variance to do that.’ And, Mr. Bernhart says and I quote him, ‘I will approve
that.’ So the only left for us to do then, which Mr. Bernhart was insistent that we put the building on the edge of the road. But the insistence from the developer was that he wanted to put the building in the middle of the lot in order to get more patient parking and more handicap parking and all. And, so that’s why this amendment was filed. This amendment was filed with the planning commission and I did not have any community meeting on this second round on this amendment, but there was one for the council and for the planning committee that held it. We have since; I attended a community meeting last week. And, I’ve asked Mr. Bernhart’s department if they would tonight express and tell what this bill that we’re trying to do what it is and what it has nothing to do with it. So if I could I’d like to ask…” (stream cut off)

The planning commission member went on to say that they didn’t have concerns about the height. The only issue from their side is the position of the building. Mr. White closes by reading the resolution, passed by the planning commission. He reads,

“The proposed changes to the PUD plan is consistent with the Donelson-Old Hickory Community Plan’s Mixed Use in Neighborhood Center which is intended to encourage an integrated, diverse blend of compatible land uses.”

Mr. White ends with:

“I have not tried to keep this council in the dark on anything with regards to
this amendment. And, I want to make sure that ya’ll all understand that because I feel like my character and integrity and has been challenged over this one minor thing.

He restates his motion to approve and defer the 3rd reading so as he previously stated “the developers and the community to get back together again and see if there’s any way they can work anything out on what the both of them want.”

Okay!!! Are you ready for my comments???? We’ll start at the end this time…

  • Even though White’s last statement claimed that he wasn’t trying to keep the council in the dark, he knowingly omitted reading the last sentence in the planning commission resolution:
"While the site design is not consistent with Dodson Village DNDP, it will
provide easier access for customers and patients.”

If that’s not keeping folks in the dark I don’t know what is. Again, you can see the exact copy here.

  • That community meeting where the developers rented the tent….
    Mr. White and the developers rented a tent and put it beside the bait shop. The only notification was in “The News Herald”. The News Herald is a free paper that covers, Donelson, Hermitage and Old Hickory. It is not delivered to Hermitage Meadows, where I live, along with 115 other homeowners. The notification of the meeting was in the paper on the day of the meeting. Pastor David Taft told us that “The News Herald” was delivered to his church at 4:30pm the day of the meeting. The meeting was at 6:30pm. Too bad he didn’t have a chance to read it that day. Maybe he could have canceled his plans and attended the "community meeting”

  • That meeting that Mr. Rick Bernheart, Mr. White, Mr. Loring, two other staff members from planning, and two members of the Hermitage neighborhood association… Those two members of the community, Bobbie Forrest and Jane Garner weren’t allowed to speak.

  • Toward the end White says that he attended a community meeting last week… He forgets to mentioned that every homeowner (that lived in our area, not including the one(s) from other areas that work for somebody in the Pardue posse) was against this building!!!!!! He forgot to mention that it was OUR meeting and that his job is to have the meetings and help his constituents.

  • He feels like his character and integrity has been compromised over this one minor thing… For us, this is not minor. If this building goes up it will set a precedent. Our close-knitt, small scale community will become exactly what White and Loring plan: A medical office park. I don’t want to live in a medical office park!!!

The Community holds its own meeting

So after the council meeting we spent hours and hours creating more flyers (we had previously put out 300 or so to alert people of the public hearing) to inform people that we (hosted by Hermitage Meadows) were holding a community meeting.

Oh and we also put up 7 signs alerting people of the community meeting.

The purpose of OUR meeting was to inform the residents of the issues and ask that they contact the council members. We filled up the Hermitage Police Precinct. And, guess who also showed up? Our councilman, the Pardue Posse and their friends. They wanted to take full advantage of the hard work that we spent getting so many residents together. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t get the residents to see their side.

Chris and Travis Pardue pulled me aside as they were walking out the door. They were willing to try and make a two story building work if we would agree to let them move it to the center of the property. I agreed even though I believed that we should stick with the sub-area plan that calls for a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood—not a car-oriented building. But, hey the sub-area plan also calls for a “small” building, which this is not. So I said that we’d definitely be willing to talk about putting it in the center of the lot if they’d reduce it to a two story building.

That’s the resolution that we left with. The builders were going to run numbers and see if they could make a two story building work.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Council Debates Part II

Council Lady Tucker should be quoted again:
“We either need to be real with the people and say we’re either going to follow the plan or we’re not gonna follow the plan and there’s no need for you to come to the process.”

Then Councilman Jamie Isabel called for “previous question”. This means that no one else can make comments about this issue unless it is a point of order.

Then, they vote on “previous question”. In this instance AYE 19, No 15. You must have 2/3 vote to pass. So “previous question” failed. Thankfully!

So more discussion…
Mr. Coleman asks if the citizens had a chance to weigh in on this issue at the planning commission meeting.

The answer from Rick Bernhart (head of planning commission) was "yes".

At 4:00pm when most of us are at work.

Mr. Coleman then asked Loring if a community meeting was held, and Loring said, “White did hold community meetings.”

Hmm… that implies that more than one was held. We later found out that to serve as the "communtiy meeting" Mr. White and the developers rented a tent and put it beside the bait shop. The only notification was in “The News Herald”. The News Herald is a free paper that covers, Donelson, Hermitage and Old Hickory. It is not delivered to Hermitage Meadows, where I live, along with 115 other homeowners. The notification of the meeting was in the paper on the day of the meeting. Pastor David Taft told us that “The News Herald” was delivered to his church at 4:30pm the day of the meeting. The meeting was at 6:30pm. Too bad he didn’t have a chance to read it that day. Maybe he could have canceled his plans and attended the "community meeting."

Then, Coleman asked if Loring would consider to pass on 2nd (reading) and defer the 3rd reading to get some issues resolved.
Then, Loring tries to convince Colman that now is the time to pass this bill. He says that he’s been to the location of this proposed building many, many times and,

"it’s not a location that’s pedestrian friendly in the first place. It’s all business and doctor’s buildings and the hospital.”

Well, now I must STRONGLY disagree. The medical building will be in the back yard of these houses.

This picture speaks for itself.

Coleman suggests again to approve on 2nd and defer the 3rd reading. He explains that Loring and White could get with the community so that it wouldn’t seem like there was some unfairness.

Loring goes on again….

“I want to pass this on 2nd reading. There has been ample public hearings."

Coleman makes a motion to defer. It was seconded.

Then more discussion. Councilman Alexander asked if Loring had attended any of these community meetings.

“Only one...” Loring replied.

Alexander said,

“…I wish Councilman White would actually bring a bill up here that is not controversial in nature. I think it would disregard everything that they (us, the communtiy members) have mentioned if we move for approval."
Then Loring moved to table the motion of deferal and says,

“There’s a lot of work that has gone into this project. It’s not new and my understanding is that councilman White has had community meetings. And like I
said the planning commission approved this project. It’s located right in the heart of a medical district.” He goes on to say that “there’s no homes that I know of from Lebanon Road all the way to the interstate except for apartment houses…”
1. He's never had a community meeting where he properly alerted the community.

2. It is not located in the heart a fucking medical district!!!!! (I am getter madder each time I read these lies.

3. What about my home? What about Bobbie Forrest's home? What about the home with the swingset in the back yard? What about these homes, Mr. Loring? You've been here "many, many times" and you didn't see the rock house that Jane Garner lives in that's DIRECTLY Across the street from this lot?

Coleman comes back again and reiterates that in fairness let’s defer it.
“If it’s good now then it will be good at the next meeting.”

They voted. And it was defered.

Whew…. For my first council meeting that was a doozy!!

The Council Debates Part I

Mr. Loring was very adamant that the council should approve that night!!

Mr. Loring started out telling the council that:

“This location is a, in my opinion, a suitable location for this building, for this medical building. It is diagonally across the street from the Summit Medical Hospital….”

This is like saying that Nashville’s Hard Rock CafĂ© is diagonally across the street from the GEC (Nashville Arena). Then he goes on to tell about the other buildings around the area:

“…right directly across the street, almost directly, is a grocery store. Right next door is another commercial building. Diagonally across the other corner is the community center, the library and the police station. So this is all a commercial area. Going toward the Summit Hospital of course you have many buildings that house the orthopedic surgeons, the doctors, medical doctors, the eye clinics.”
First of all the grocery store has been there for something like 45 years. It is not a three story medical building.

Next door to Benson's is a small one story CPA firm.

The community center, police station and library are down the road--another analogy--this would be like saying that Tooties is "diagonally across" from the Big River Grill.

And, I can assure you that traveling from this property towards the Summit that there ar NO doctor's buildings in between.

Council Lady Tucker speaks and wants her vote of NO to be known:

"It really bothers me that over and over again we are seeing community plans made, developed by constituent participation and we look at them and say ‘Oh, but we’re going to disregard it in this instance because such and such needs to happen.’ If a community plan is developed and the people take their time to come out and develop it then we ought to honor it. It ought to be honored or it ought to not happen because it’s a farce and it’s almost like an old bait and switch game from what happens. If you are going to get something approved on one end and it meets the characteristics and qualifications for that approval and then we go on the other end as soon as it’s approved and change the format of it we’ve not really been completely truthful with the constituents…”

Tucker makes another great statement:

“We either need to be real with the people and say we’re either going to
follow the plan or we’re not gonna follow the plan and there’s no need for
you to come to the process.”


Our side

Those that spoke against the three story building:

Bobbie Forrest
Hermitage Meadows
(across the street from the Church)

Cindy Endsley
Hermitage Meadows

David Taft
Minister for First Baptist Church
(right beside the proposed building)

Rick Arnold
His family owns a condo on Wistera Lane
(Directly across from the proposed building)

We all reiterated that the community plan was of value to us and that it should not be disregarded. Rick also spoke about the traffic situation that could become a major problem. It is already backed up during rush hours.

After both sides spoke the council debated.

Mr. Loring was very adamant that the council should approve that night!! I'll tell you all about it next.