Monday, November 3, 2008

Visioning Session Tonight for Community Meetings

Last week's first meeting was more or less a lecture on the tenents of sustainable development which is the foundation of the Planning department's Community Character Manual.

Before the meeting began, State Senator Douglas Henry voiced his appeal for changing the name of the community plan. The Senator went on to explain that the area encompassed in the community update inaccurately represents West Nashville. West Nashville at one time was its own city before it was annexed by the city of Nashville back at the turn of the 20th century. Senator Henry believes that name should be reserved for the area that actually IS West Nashville and should not include surrounding communities such as West Meade, Hillwood and Belle Meade. The Planning department granted the Senator's wish by asking those who attended the meeting to provide suggestions on a name change for the community in their feedback surveys.

Most of the meeting was focused on Executive Director of Planning, Rick Bernhardt's lecture on sustainable development. The information was a great precursor to the rest of the meetings because they give the community some insight into what Planning's overall goals are for Nashville. These goals will not only serve the needs of the present generation, but for generations to come.

For those of you that attended the first round of meetings that focused on the Charlotte Avenue/Richland Park DCDP, this next meeting will be very similar to the initial meeting for that process. Attendees will be split up into groups and sit around tables to discuss what they do and don't like about their particular community.

This meeting, more than any other, is where people from the community have the most input in driving what goes into the community plan update. Please make an effort to attend.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

West Nashville Public Meetings Continue This Thursday, Oct. 30

An eight-month series of community discussions on West Nashville’s growth and development began October 16 with a general overview of the planning process, and continues October 30 with an initial discussion of issues facing the West Nashville community. The Oct. 30 meeting will begin at 6 pm at St. Ann Catholic Community, 5101 Charlotte Avenue.

These conversations are the early stages of a scheduled update to the West Nashville Community Plan, which guides land use and zoning decisions. The current plan is on Metro Planning's West Nashville community page.

If you missed the first meeting, you can download the slides from the presentation here:

Powerpoint DocumentPowerpoint presentation from the Oct. 16 meeting


Friday, October 17, 2008

Community Plan Update for West Nashville Kicks Off

I was unable to attend last nights initial meeting for the West Nashville Community Plan Update, but SPNA President, Rob Robinson has a post on the Sylvan Park blog which you can read about here.

The first meeting focused primarily on the Community Character Manual which is the driver of any new planning done by the MPC. The next meeting will be Thursday, October 30 and will be an Open House Kick Off Meeting, which should focus more on information about the West Nashville Subarea Plan. All the remaining meetings will be at St. Ann's Parish Life Center located at 5101 Charlotte Avenue (where the Charlotte Ave DCDP meetings were held earlier this year). All dates and times of the meetings are in the left hand column under IMPORTANT DATES.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

First Meeting for West Nashville Community Plan Update is Tonight

A reminder about tonight's meeting regarding the West Nashville Community Plan Update process.

The meeting begins at 6:00 PM at the Cohn Adult Learning Center located at 4805 Park Avenue.

This meeting will be a general introduction to the new Community Character Manual (that will be used as the Planning Staff discuss land use policies in West Nashville). The intention is to educate everyone on the concepts of the Community Character policies.

For a list of additional meetings, click here:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

W Nashville United Methodist to Host Crime Forum Oct. 22

In response to the recent crime spree that has been plaguing some of the small businesses in the Richland Park Business District, the West Nashville United Methodist Church will be hosting a panel discussion and forum to engage the community in a discussion on ways to quell the rising crime rate in the area.

The forum will be next Wednesday, October 22nd from 6:30 - 8:00 pm. The church's address is 4710 Charlotte Avenue. Community leaders serving on the panel will be:

Sgt. Connie Tripp - Metropolitan Nashville Police
Jason Holleman
- District 24 Councilman

Jeff Blum - Mental Health Coordinator, Metro Nashville Criminal Justice Dept.
Rev. Dennis Meaker - Pastor, West Nashville United Methodist Church
Father Philip Breen - Pastor, St. Ann's Catholic Church

The discussion will be moderated by Rev. Sherry Cothran Woolsey


If you have any questions about the forum, you can call the church at 297-3216. Please plan to attend this important discussion.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

West Nashville Community Plan Update Meeting Next Thursday

The first meeting for the West Nashville Community Plan update will be held next Thursday, October 16 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Cohn Adult Learning Center at Park and 48th Avenues.

The first meeting will be focused on educating the community on the process of updating a community plan and other aspects of the West Nashville Community.

From the Planning Department's website:

The West Nashville Community Plan, last updated in 2000 as the “Subarea 7 Plan,” guides land use and zoning decisions in West Nashville. It also influences the Planning Commission’s recommendations to the Metro Council on property zoning and other development-related decisions within the West Nashville community.

Davidson County’s fourteen Community Plans are updated every seven to ten years. The first step in that process is a series of public discussions which will continue through May 2009.

PDF DocumentMap and complete schedule

Please plan to attend.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A History of Charlotte Pike

Here is a short video I put together on the history of Charlotte and where it is today. This video was used in a presentation that I helped give this week to the Nashville Agenda group.

Nashville's Agenda 2007 was a citywide goal-setting project to gauge again what Nashvillians think is needed to make Nashville the best it can be. This process was initiated in the 90s and spurned things like the greenway system and the Frist Center for the Arts.

I serve on the economic development committee and one of our tasks is researching and analyzing what needs to happen in order to revitalize Charlotte Pike. Out of all of the ideas that came out of the community meetings, revitalizing Charlotte has become one of the three top priorities of this committee. Riverfront development and college graduate retention are the other initiatives receiving attention.

I plan to attend the upcoming West Nashville Community meetings in order to relay information to the committee.

For now, enjoy the video.


video

West Nashville Community Plan Date Change

The originally scheduled community meeting for the West Nashville Community Plan update (September 30) has been moved to Thursday, October 16.

Meeting time is still 6:00 pm, but the location will now be at the Cohn Adult Learning Center at 4805 Park Avenue, across from Richland Park.

Below is a map and complete schedule of the process.

Please plan to attend!

PDF DocumentMap and complete meeting schedule

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Future of Charlotte Avenue to Be Rolled into West Nashville Community Plan Update

Metro Planning recently sent out a letter to those who participated in the community meetings for the Charlotte Ave/Richland Creek DCDP. The "final" meeting became the next to final meeting when staff from Planning made it known that more time was needed to speak with property owners about the draft plan. Participants were told that the final meeting would occur sometime in the future and it was then the draft plan would be finalized once and for all.

However, the Community Plan for West Nashville (Subarea 7) is due for a revision and Planning thought it best to go ahead and roll the DCDP into this overall process. Below is the letter that was sent to participants:

Dear Participant in the Charlotte Avenue/Richland Creek Detailed Corridor Design Plan process,

Thank you for your participation throughout the Charlotte Ave./Richland Creek planning process. As Metro Planning staff has extended the timeline for completing the corridor study, we have reached the point where the larger West Nashville Community Plan Update (which includes Charlotte Avenue) is about to begin. In the interest of efficiency of time and resources, Metro Planning staff has decided to enfold the Charlotte Avenue corridor plan into the larger West Nashville Community Plan Update conversation. No additional meetings specifically on Charlotte Avenue will be held. Instead, Charlotte Avenue will be discussed as part of the larger West Nashville Community.

Your participation in the Charlotte Ave./Richland Creek DCDP process to this point is appreciated and the thoughts and recommendations from the DCDP process will not be lost. Rather, they will be incorporated into the West Nashville Community Plan Update process, allowing the staff to focus their attention on other portions of West Nashville.

The West Nashville Community Plan Update is scheduled to begin with a community education
meeting on Tuesday, September 30 from 6 – 8 p.m. at St. Ann’s Catholic Community (5101 Charlotte Ave. – the site of the Charlotte Ave. meetings). This will be followed by a Kick Off, Visioning Workshop, Concept Plan workshop and additional meetings to allow an iterative process for establishing community character policies to guide future growth and preservation in West Nashville. You will be sent notification of these meetings regarding the West Nashville Community Plan Update in a separate post card.

If you have any questions regarding this delay, please feel free to contact me.

Best regards,

Jennifer Carlat
Community Plans Manager
Metro Planning Department


According to the Metro Planning website, West Nashville includes the neighborhoods of Beacon Square, Belle Meade Links, Charlotte Park, Croley Wood, Hillwood Estates, Hillwood Heights, Knob Hill, Sylvan Park, Sylvan Heights, West Meade, White Bridge, The Nations, Urbandale, Robertson, Warner Park Valley, and The Highlands.

The Community Plan was last updated in 2000. A revision to each of Nashville's Community Plans usually occurs every 8-10 years. To view the information page for West Nashville and the current Community Plan, click here.

Below is a map of Subarea 7 (West Nashville). Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Planners Dream Big for Richland Park

As a result of the community feedback gained at the initial meeting for upgrading Richland Park, Hawkins Partners presented the early plans for activating Richland Park and making it a better place for all types of recreation.

The masterplan was well received and includes improvements in parking, sport courts, interior paths, and the playground. The "big picture" master plan includes sustainable elements as well. Some examples are removing a majority of the parking on the Charlotte side and turning it towards the park and replacing some of the surface with porous concrete. Also rain gardens and possibly harvesting the rain that hits the library roof and redirecting towards the grass and gardens.

Probably the most exciting addition in the plan is the return of the bandshell to Richland Park. When Richland Park began to morph into more of a public space for people rather than livestock back in the 1920's, a bandshell was constructed in the middle of the park that featured numerous performing acts.

The new bandshell would be sited near the current playground and would be facing a gently sloped green for audiences with majestic Cohn High School as its backdrop.

If and when these upgrades are implemented, it will no doubt be a positive influence on the future of Charlotte Avenue. A more active public space with such a close proximity will surely spark new and needed development along Charlotte.

More to come on the next steps for the plan. For now you can download the plan below and have a look for yourself. If you have any feedback for the Parks Department, you can email Tim Netsch (tim.netsch@nashville.gov) with any comments that you may have about the masterplan.

PDF DocumentRichland Park Master Plan

Stay tuned for details.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Second Community Meeting for Richland Park Upgrades Scheduled for August 13

The Metro Parks & Rec Department held a community meeting a few weeks ago to gather feedback and suggestions on what could be done to improve Richland Park - one of the oldest public parks in Nashville.

A second meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 13 starting at 6:30 pm. The location will remain the same in the Senior Renaissance Center on the first floor of the Cohn Adult Learning Center.

The design team and representatives from Hastings Architecture will present a masterplan and seek feedback from those in attendance.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dog Days of Summer

As the days have gotten longer, so has the frequency of new posts on the ol Charlotte Avenue blog. There hasn't been much to report, and we still await a date for the "final" meeting on reviewing the Charlotte Avenue/Richland Creek DCDP draft plan. Stay tuned for dates once announced.

Our last post dealt with the initial meeting that Metro Parks & Rec hosted in order to gain feedback on proposed upgrades to Richland Park. I was personally unable to attend the meeting (appendicitis!) but the presentation has been posted on the Parks website. You can download it here:
Additional community meetings are planned throughout the process. Stay tuned for announcements on time and date.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Upgrades to come for Richland Park?


Metro Parks & Rec is holding a meeting this Wednesday (June 25) evening to gather feedback from the community on the future of Richland Park which fronts a good portion of Charlotte Avenue and is included in the study area of the DCDP. Staff will be seeking comments and ideas on what can be done to improve upon this long standing amenity of West Nashville. Comments and ideas from the meeting will eventually be integrated into a revised masterplan.

One issue at hand is the neglected pool that sits on the east side of the park. As of now, the pool is slated to be demolished in lieu of a new pool that will be housed inside the new regional community center that is planned to replace the current one at nearby McCabe Park. The park also features a library branch (pictured above), ball field, playground and tennis courts that are frequently used.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 pm and is being held in the basement of Cohn Adult Learning Center located at 4805 Park Avenue.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

One More Meeting and The CP Covers the Struggle With Charlotte

The final DCDP meeting held on May 12th, was in fact the next-to-last meeting that will be held for the Charlotte Ave/Richland Park DCDP. Some of the feedback that Metro Planning received from some of the property owners was that this was moving too fast. So they have compromised and allowed for one more meeting to take place to review the draft plan. The MPC staff has yet to reveal when that meeting will be held, but you can check their website for updates www.nashville.gov/mpc

Earlier this week, the City Paper online edition (which is unfortunately running print editions on just Mondays and Fridays now) ran a story that covered the on-going struggle that has defined the revitalization efforts for Charlotte Ave. In addition, the story also breaks news of an artist co-op being interested in purchasing the Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ property.

If the artists co-op was successful in their bid (it's doubtful - in lieu of the recent attention given to the deed restrictions) it would help solidify the branding of Charlotte Avenue as Nashville's unofficial arts district. Established businesses like the Darkhorse Theater and LeQuire Gallery are already lending to that characterization. A few video interviews are also included in the story. To read it go here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Champion Ford Closing





















If you have traveled west on Charlotte Avenue recently, you may have noticed something awry on the horizon. That void you see is the recent closing of Champion Ford on Charlotte Avenue as you approach White Bridge Rd.

This closing now leaves Nashville with only three Ford dealerships. It is unknown at this time what the future holds for this property. One would assume that another dealer would move into the property, but with the recent attention being given to Charlotte redevelopment, one would hope for a more sustainable solution. Especially since the property borders Richland Creek's west bank.

Read story here

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Draft Plan for Charlotte Ave/Richland Park Corridor to Be Revealed May 12

Stakeholders and community members have come a long way from the initial DCDP meeting that was held on a cold wet night in January. Next Monday, they will get a chance to see the results of the process when the Planning Commission staff reveals the draft plan.

After the MPC staff researched the history and existing natural and built environment in the Charlotte Avenue – Richland Park area, they began the second phase by entertaining ideas and exploring alternatives for growth from the community. From the initial Visioning Workshop, MPC staff created a Concept Plan, which described – at a very broad level – the community’s vision for future growth and development balanced with sound planning principles.

Follow on meetings included more focus on specific facets of the design plan, such as land use policy, transportation and building type. At each meeting, attendees were encouraged to ask questions and offer feedback.

The final meeting will be held Monday, May 12th in the Parish Hall at St. Ann's Catholic Church (51st & Charlotte) and the community will have the opportunity to offer feedback on the draft plan. This is your chance to come and see what the future holds for Charlotte Avenue. All are encouraged to attend. Please get the word out!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Friends, Residents, Councilmen Lend Me Your Ears! (and hands!)


Based on the shrinking attendance at the last few DCDP meetings, it would appear that not a lot of residents are aware these meetings are even going on. The initial meeting held back in late January was standing room only - albeit a good majority was the Church of Christ congregation. But the size and the buzz of that first meeting was proof positive of how long overdue this process is.

It is safe to say that a good portion of those people have probably fallen off due to frustrations with the congregation and a number of property owners who wish to see no change take place along Charlotte Ave. Each meeting has had it's fair share of drama and has suffered from a negative energy that has recently dominated.

The draft Corridor Design plan for Charlotte Avenue is set to be released at the final meeting on Monday, May 12. It is imperative that a great number of residents attend this meeting to offer overwhelming support that is vital to the future of this plan.

But the word must get out.

This blog has been a bastion for the process thus far, but is not enough. Tell your neighbors to please attend this meeting on Monday, May 12th at 6:00 pm. It is located at St. Ann's Catholic Church in the Parish Hall at 51st. and Charlotte Avenues.

In addition, I hope to design a simple flyer to distribute to mailboxes this weekend alerting our neighborhood of this meeting - whether they support the plan or not. But Sylvan Park is a bit big for one guy to handle. IF anyone is available to help distribute flyers sometime this Saturday, please contact me ASAP.

Thanks! And remember May 12!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tennessee Attorney General Enters the Fray on Church Issue



The City Paper ran a story today that sheds a little light on the deed restrictions attached to the former Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ at the corner of 46th and Charlotte. In the original deed dated ca. 1921, the land was donated to the original congregation with the stipulation that the property would only be intended for 'church use or purpose'. The Tennessee Preservation Trust a non-profit group that advocates preservation issues throughout the state, received a letter from the Tennessee Attorney General stating that is aware of the deed restrictions on the property and plans to intercede if the property is sold for anything other than church use.

Excerpts from article:
...The Attorney General wrote a letter to the TPT stating that it would not intercede with with the potential demolition of the building, but would do so if the property was sold for a non-church use.

"...If there is such an offer to purchase or lease the property for a use that is inconsistent with a 'church use of purpose' and therefore, in violation of the deed restriction, our Office will take whatever action it believes necessary and appropriate to fulfill our statutory duties with respect to charitable gifts," the Attorney General letter from senior counsel Janet Kleinfelter states.

...Elders from the Charlotte Heights Church of Christ told the
City Paper there was no update on selling the property, adding that the church believes it can field offers to sell the land for commercial use.

Church elder Wendell Talley said there are no plans, yet, to tear down the building before the property is sold, but that could happen in the future.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Here We Go Again


Last week's DCDP meeting was unfortunately a return to negative remarks, rude interruptions and accusations of bias mostly on the part of an angry congregation that has regrettably returned to the process. However, MPC staff members once again held their composure amid the rash of diatribes that polluted the meeting.

Some attendees went so far as to accuse the MPC of being biased and unfair in the process - by choosing to abandon written and oral feedback that was opposed to the draft plan. How someone can muster the nerve to say such a thing -- in light of the MPC's tedious documentation of the results of each meeting -- is nothing but divisive rhetoric. The congregation needs to be reminded that there is much more to this DCDP than just their property.

Not only is the congregation stirring up the pot, but a handful of property owners seem to be hellbent on shutting this entire operation down. I can understand a property owners concerns over their rights to a certain point (which I might add are not being infringed upon during this process). But is it really necessary to willfully attempt to sabotage a process who's main goal is to simply plan for the future?

One thing that everyone wanted to know was: "When does the public get a chance to air their concerns over the draft plan?" That date will be July 24 in front of the planning commission - and it was obvious that every person in there made a point to jot that date down on their mental calendar. Apparently those opposed to these guidelines for the future, plan to make a last stand at that meeting to try and thwart the "biased and senseless" DCDP for Charlotte Avenue. It is imperative that those who are in favor of this plan and a responsible and sustainable future for Charlotte Avenue, attend this hearing to let their voice be heard.

The Draft Plan will be presented on Monday, May 12th and will be the final meeting for the Charlotte DCDP. All are encouraged to attend to see the results of this process and provide constructive criticism.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Bistro Coming to Sylvan Park

In the midst of the planning that has been ongoing for the Charlotte Avenue Corridor, many residents have been lobbying for more restaurants within walking distance. Well this summer, those residents will get their wish.

"Miel" is scheduled to open sometime this summer, serving dinner Tuesday through Sunday and then offering brunch sometime in the fall. The restaurant is located in the building that once housed Johnson's Meat Market (behind Bobby's Dairy Dip). To read the story click here.

Fourth DCDP Meeting for Charlotte Ave. Tonight at 6pm

The MPC will hold its fourth meeting tonight for the Charlotte Avenue/Richland Park DCDP. Tonight's meeting will focus on "Building Regulation" which will open discussions on desired building types on a block by block basis.

The meeting begins at 6pm in the Parish Life Center at St. Ann's Catholic Church at 51st and Charlotte Avenues.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What Now?



There's no denying that whatever occurs at the corner of 46th and Charlotte Avenues will either make or break plans to revitalize this district. The congregation is back to square one in their search for a new buyer - one that could possibly preserve the structure or build anew.

Fortunately if they choose the latter, the UZO that is already in place will appropriately guide potential developers to ensure their proposed project adheres to the existing urban fabric.

Nancy DeVille, reporter for the Tennessean, wrote a follow up story in today's issue. A lot of questions surround the property and what will now go in it's place. Developers are showing interest, but the challenge is finding an operator/franchisee/tenant who would lease the space in the event of an adaptive re-use.

If you have an idea for what you think would work on this corner, please leave a comment.

Friday, March 7, 2008

March 3rd Meeting Documents Available for Download

The powerpoint presentation as well as the draft of the detailed land use plan are now available for download from the Metro Planning web page. A comment sheet was also emailed to those who have signed in at past meetings. If you wish to submit your comments, they must be sent in to either Bob Eadler (bob.eadler@nashville.gov) or Jennifer Carlat (jennifer.carlat@nashville.gov) by Monday, March 10. You can also fax it to 615.862.7209, or mail to:

Bob Eadler, Metro Planning Department
800 2nd Ave South
Nashville, TN 37210.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Historic & SP Bills Removed

As expected, Councilman Holleman withdrew the historic zoning and specific plan zoning bills that would have been applied to the property at the former Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ at last night's Metro Council meeting.

At last week's public hearing held by the Planning Commission, Zoning Administrator Sonny West ruled that the property already has an Urban Zoning Overlay applied to it, which will require any new development to build to the street.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Front Page News


Today's edition
of the City Paper featured the latest news on the issues surrounding the Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ. The article states that the congregation and the community are now on the same page - seeking a buyer who will hopefully preserve the building.

Burgin Dossett, VP of development at Crosland has been assisting in the process and said the goal is to find another church or performance group who could make use of the building. "The key is to find an end-use for it," Dossett said. "We haven't cracked that code yet. Ideally, another place of assembly or a performance venue would be best, because it would allow the building to stay intact. The acoustics in the building are really very impressive."

News of the UZO that already covers this piece of property is also mentioned in the article. In light of this news, it was stated that Councilman Holleman (District 24) plans to withdraw both the historic and SP bill that are slated for second reading at tonight's council meeting.

"The downside right now is it remains to be seen whether this is a victory at this point," Holleman said. "I don't know what (developer) comes behind it. If it's a good deal, then I think it's probably a win. If it turns out to be another big developer, then we'll have to wait and see."

On a personal note, here is one option I'd like to see go in. A bit of a long shot, but you never know.

Bike/Ped & Transportation Highlight Latest DCDP Meeting

The third installment of the Charlotte Avenue Detailed Corridor Design Plan (DCDP) was held last night with a much smaller crowd in attendance than meetings past. The congregation representing the Charlotte Ave. Church of Christ did not make an appearance at this meeting. Maybe Rite Aid's departure has taken the wind out of their sails.

The MPC staff went over a revised Concept Plan based on the feedback they received from the meeting in February. The revised plan illustrated conceptual zoning along the various sections of the area. All properties fronting Charlotte have been designated as Mixed-Use, a majority of the properties along Alabama Avenue have been designated as Commercial, and pockets of Mixed Housing and Transition Buffers were worked in as well. (the revised plan will be available for download on the MPC webpage soon)

One intriguing part of the plan was the fact that the area along Richland Creek has been given a wider buffer to allow for an amenity along the creek (such as a park or wetland conservation area) rather than just having to develop something around the creek.

In addition to the concept plan presentation, two of the team members from the MPC got up and spoke specifically about bike and pedestrian impacts as well as transportation.

The bike/ped presentation was encouraging as it showed which sections of the plan were slated for sidewalk improvements/additions. It was also pointed out that bike lanes are proposed for 51st, Charlotte and 46th (continuing north) Avenues. Proposed greenways that impact the area were also highlighted, which showed the greenway continuing north of McCabe golf course along the creek towards the Cumberland River as well as an eastern spur that connects to Richland Park. The staff member was quick to point out that this plan is not set in stone - the proposed route north of the golf course has raised a lot of eyebrows since the greenway would go through the back of their property.

Transportation was also promising in that Charlotte Avenue holds great potential for adding bike lanes and on street parking, which would make it a more pedestrian friendly thoroughfare. It was also found that certain sections of Charlotte (esp. on the western end of the study area) are in dire need of access management. An example was made of the many curb cuts that encompass the area near Wendell Smith's and Dairy Dip. The graphic showed the many options a vehicle has for entering and exiting the businesses in that area, illustrating just how convoluted that system currently is. The second graphic showed how reducing the number of curb cuts would create a more streamlined and predictable traffic situation for both vehicles and pedestrians.

On street parking is another necessity that the community wishes to see implemented with this plan and an estimated 190 parking spaces are potentially available along the northern side of Charlotte Avenue. WOW! That doesn't even include the parking at Richland Park, or proposed on street parking on the side streets (47th-50th). One other idea proposed, was widening the sidewalk on the south side of Charlotte between 50th and 54th Avenues.

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 3rd. At this meeting the MPC will be talking about building regulations which will be a discussion about proposed building types on a block by block basis.

Remember if you missed the meeting last night, the MPC will have the documents posted from the meeting on their website in a few days. The meeting was also taped and can be seen on Cable Channel 10 at the following times:

Sundays at 4 p.m.
Tuesdays at 11 a.m.

Thursdays at 5 p.m.
Saturdays at 11 a.m.

Monday, March 3, 2008

We've Already Got One! (An Urban Zoning That Is...)


We may have won the war - but we did lose the battle...or did we?

Last Thursday, the Planning Commission overwhelmingly opposed the Specific Plan bill (SP-MU) that is currently in Metro Council and awaiting second reading this Tuesday. The public hearing was attended by both the community and of course the congregation, and both sides got to air grievances over the future of the property that is gaining more and more attention. I was not in attendance, but from what I've heard from friends who did make it, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to disapprove this bill. Some comments were made by those on the Commission that "they could not in good conscience vote any other way". No doubt they were swayed by the congregation's continuing diatribe that this is an attack on Faith/Christianity/God's will/God's plan. The fact that the congregation continues to demonize the community is appalling.

The Planning Commission's vote is a bit disheartening, but it seems that a lot of this work wasn't necessary after all. Metro Legal stepped in and informed the parties involved that the property in question (and the entire area that encompasses the DCDP) is already part of the Urban Zoning Overlay that was established in 2000. This zoning has similar requirements for new development that the community wishes to see occur at the corner (building set back, parking location, etc). Details of the zoning can be viewed here and here.

NOM made it official that Rite Aid is in fact backing out of the deal (due to market conditions, not necessarily the community backlash - but of course the congregation blames the community). So what does the future hold for the property? Will a developer step forward that has the clout to get something done on that corner that makes both the community and the congregation happy? At least now we know that requirements are already in place for whoever decides to preserve/develop the property. We will have to wait and see.

Third Meeting Tonight for Charlotte DCDP

The third meeting for the Charlotte Avenue Detailed Corridor Design Plan is being held tonight in the Parish Hall at St. Ann Catholic Church at 6:00 pm. The focus of tonight's meeting will be on Community Character Policies, which is policy guidance for future zone changes and subdivision requests.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

MPC Holding Public Hearing TODAY 4:00 PM

A very important public hearing is being held this afternoon at the Metro Southeast Building in the Green Hills Conference Room (see directions below). The Planning Commission will be hearing from the public in regards to the proposed specific plan zoning of the former Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ property at the corner of Charlotte and 46th Avenues.

The specific plan zoning would provide guidance and standards for any potential developer that plans to build on that property (when and if the church is demolished). If you wish to see sustainable, urban development take place at this prominent corner, you are urged to come to the hearing and let your concerns be heard.

The hearing begins at 4:00 pm. Directions to the Metro Southeast Building can be found here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Distant but Positive Progress



A new development is slated at the 2300 block of Charlotte Avenue. This parcel is nestled in the medical district gateway along Charlotte that continues to see signs of improvement. Even though this project isn't located in or near the DCDP, it can only help attract attention to Charlotte Avenue.

Click here to visit the project website.

The site describes the project as such:

Coming soon....a Professional Office Center located in an up and coming spot in Nashville, Tennessee. Planned development of former industrial building has started - with completion date projected to be December, 2008.

Planning Commission Releases Q&A from Feb 12 Meeting

The results of this document could definitely skew the results of the poll I recently posted in the left hand column (What has affected progress along Charlotte). Just about every other question is accusatory in nature, and claiming that the efforts of the DCDP are futile and unwanted.

The good news is that the people speaking in this vein do not represent the majority - the bad news is, it's a good bet that a lot of them are current property owners along Charlotte Avenue.

I find the paranoid rants a bit dismaying in light of the MPC continuously articulating to us what a DCDP does and does not do. But what I find to be even more disheartening is why these people feel like they have to be on the defensive through this process. The community at large wishes to make this a safer and better place in hopes of evoking the great corridor that Charlotte Avenue once was. I would venture to guess that a lot of the current property owners were around when Charlotte was at its best. Why would they not want to revisit that place and time?

Progress is almost always an uphill journey. No doubt, that will be the case with Charlotte. It will take communication, compromise and understanding amongst ALL stakeholders in order to realize the ultimate vision for this important part of our community.

PDF DocumentQuestions and answers from stakeholders attending Feb. 12 Concept Plan meeting

MPC Holding Public Hearing This Thursday at 4:00 pm

A very important public hearing is being held this Thursday afternoon at the Metro Southeast Building in the Green Hills Conference Room (see directions below). The Planning Commission will be hearing from the public in regards to the proposed zoning (historic and specific plan) of the former Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ property at the corner of Charlotte and 46th Avenues.

The historic zoning would protect the church, the specific plan zoning would provide guidance and standards for any potential developer that plans to build on that property (when and if the church is demolished).

There has still been no solid answer on whether or not NOM/Rite Aid have pulled out of the deal. This is why it is still very important that the community voice its concerns at this public hearing.

The hearing begins at 4:00 pm. Directions to the Metro Southeast Building can be found here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

NOM Holding Cards Close to Their Vest

Something told me I needed to put an asterisk next to that last post.

Despite the emphatic nature of the emails I received from Karen Smith (the Rite Aid real estate representative) plainly stating that they were in fact pulling out of the deal; it seems that NOM is marching to the beat of a different drum. City Paper journalist and long time advocate of smart development, William Williams wrote another story on this matter in Tuesdays issue, and some of the contents of said article have some in the community scratching their heads.

According to the CP article, NOM seems to be stating that Rite Aid is still in the game and seeking "a compromise" with the community. I think it's safe to assume that by compromise they mean only one row of parking, as opposed to three, fronting Charlotte Avenue.

Stay tuned for developments.


Monday, February 18, 2008

CONFIRMED: Rite Aid is Backing Out

I received confirmation this afternoon that Rite Aid is in fact abandoning the proposed pharmacy at the corner of Charlotte and 46th Avenues.

No word yet on what this means for the congregation and the future of the church. Information to come as it is made available.

UNCONFIRMED: Rite Aid No Longer Pursuing Charlotte & 46th Project

I received unconfirmed news this morning that Rite Aid Pharmacy is potentially pulling out of the proposed deal that would replace the current Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ with one of their pharmacies.

I received an email from a member of Rite Aid's real estate department informing me that they were at one time pursuing the property, but have since abandoned the project.  Below is the body of the email:

Thank you for your inquiry. Our company was at one time considering the site you noted for a drug store but that is no longer the case.  We wish you the best with your design plan for this Nashville community.

Sincerely,
Karen Smith
GVP Real Estate
Rite Aid Corporation

I am currently trying to confirm if this is in fact true and that we are both talking about the same piece of property.  If it holds true, I would like to hope that it's a result of everyones correspondence to the company.  Thank you for taking the time to make your case known.  Please stay tuned for the latest on this issue.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nothing "Rite" About It


Two nights ago, Mark McDonald of developer Newton Oldacre McDonald, presented his company's plan for the proposed Rite Aid Pharmacy that will go in place of the former Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ. As expected, the siting of the building is pulled away from the street with a single row of perpendicular parking fronting Charlotte, and a double row of the same along 46th Ave.

Mr. McDonald - in a scene one might expect to see in a Matlock case - physically stepped off the "mediocre" 19 feet that will separate the building from the sidewalk along Charlotte. Trying to make the point that this seemingly short distance was the crux of this silly issue. Concerned neighbors felt this was in no way a compromise and countered with alternative ideas that would pull the building to the street and have it adhere to the established infrastructure.

He made it a point to say that he wishes he could find a compromise, but Rite Aid has no intention of budging from the proposed plan. There are plenty of examples (and also here) in other cities where Rite Aid has developed an urban style building that is pulled to the street. Mr. McDonald claims that in order to build such a building, the proposed site needs to be surrounded by enough residential density within reasonable walking distance (.5 mile round trip). He makes a good point and goes on to say that this may not be the "perfect" first step for the corridor - but it's a "great" first step.

But why not make it the "perfect" first step Rite Aid? We are in the middle of planning for progress on Charlotte that hopes to achieve just such a walkable community. Why would you design a building that deters that lifestyle and only encourages more automobile focused development?

The Specific Plan bill aimed at this property (currently awaiting its second reading) if passed will legally force Rite Aid to build to the desired standards. This bill has two upcoming public hearings (see dates and locations in left hand column under "Important Dates") that are vital to keeping this bill alive.

If you are displeased with Rite Aid's proposed plan, you are strongly encouraged to make your case known at these public hearings. The more support, the better. Be sure to spread the word.

If you would like to write Rite Aid and voice your frustrations over this matter, their Board of Directors can be reached at:

Rite Aid Corporation

c/o Corporate Secretary

P.O. Box 3165

Harrisburg, PA 17105


Or email: contacttheboard@riteaid.com.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

DCDP Meetings to Air on Cable Channel 10

In cooperation with the Metropolitan Planning Department, iQ tv10, (only on Comcast), will present a series of Televised Community Meetings which will create a plan for future growth and development, outlining appropriate land use and urban design that complements and enhances the character of the Charlotte Avenue/Richland Park Corridor.

The programs will be presented:

Sundays at 4 p.m.
Tuesdays at 11 a.m.

Thursdays at 5 p.m.
Saturdays at 11 a.m.

All programs will be seen on iQ tv10: A service of the Metropolitan Educational Access Corporation.

Concept Plan Revealed Amid Interference


Somebody needs to throw the flag on the former Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ congregation for pass interference.

Last night's DCDP meeting was a lot like the first. Full of eager neighbors with an attentive ear, yet muddled with a huffy church congregation that continues to spew its negativity into a process that is unrelated to their issue. The wonderfully tolerant MPC staff presented the concept plan that showed the corridor broken into specific land use districts. Each district had a set of primary goals that the MPC suggested should be met. Each attendant was given a comment sheet to evaluate each district and offer their comments. In case you missed the meeting, MPC should have this information available for download within the next few days.

The meeting concluded with a quick Q&A session that was riddled with a slew of questions plainly contrived by those representing the congregation. One person was audacious enough to ask the MPC, "Who made the city the savior of West Nashville?" My response to that is, Why does W. Nashville need saving and even if it did, why would you not want it to be saved? This defeatist attitude needs to go.

The meeting was adjourned 30 minutes early to allow for an emergency meeting on the Rite Aid issue. Councilman Holleman addressed the crowd and brought everyone up to date on how this all started and where we are now. Mark McDonald of NOM (Rite Aid developer) was present and lectured diplomatically on the reasons why the plan for the Rite Aid is sited the way it is. He tried his best to answer questions from a lot of concerned neighbors as best he could and attempted to be about as unbiased as someone could possibly be that's waiting on a $5 million dollar check.

Ultimately, the consensus amongst the neighbors was to allow the congregation to move on, if in fact no other developer comes forward to offer a plan that preserves the church. If this is the case, then the community must set its sights on that of Rite Aid and vigorously demand that they compromise their plan to adhere to the established urban fabric along Charlotte Avenue. More to come on how you can help with this effort.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Church/Rite Aid Issue to be Addressed at Tonight's Meeting

In addition to the primary agenda for tonight's DCDP meeting, the church/Rite Aid issue will be addressed by Councilman Holleman (District 24). It is absolutely imperative that all those who oppose the demolition of this historic church and/or the construction of the Rite Aid, make an appearance at tonight's meeting.

Last night at the monthly Sylvan Park Neighborhood Association meeting, the congregation showed up with approximately 45 members to make public their frustrations. I was not there, but I understand things reached a boiling point. The congregation will no doubt make a debut appearance at tonight's DCDP meeting. This is why it is important that the community have equal representation on this matter. There is a good chance that a representative of the developer (NOM) who plans to build the Rite Aid will also be in attendance. The more people they see that are opposed to this plan, the better our chances of getting them to compromise.

Please make an effort to attend tonight.

Second Detailed Corridor Design Plan (DCDP) Community Meeting Tonight at 6pm

The Planning Commission is holding its second of five community meetings tonight at 6:00 in the Parish Life Center at St. Ann's Catholic Church at the corner of 51st and Charlotte.

Tonight's meeting will focus on the concept plan which is a result of the visioning session and first draft of development goals that were gathered from the community at the initial meeting in January. The Commission will present the concept plan and request community feedback.

You are encouraged to come early if you want a seat. First meeting was standing room only. We hope to see you there.

Your Voice Must Be Heard

Although it seems that preservation efforts for the former Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ are moving forward, there are still a few bumps in the road that must be dealt with. The historic overlay bill has passed its first reading and still has two more before it becomes legit. Before its second reading there are two separate public hearings that are being held - one by the Planning Commission and the other at the March 4 Council meeting prior to the bill's second reading.

These public hearings are important because it shows the MPC and the Council how much support or opposition there is for this particular bill. The church has been very good about mobilizing themselves and voicing their opinion on the matter. The community has had its share of representation, but we as the community need much much more.

The church's argument is a monetary one. They claim that all of this "historic stuff" is stalling the process and financially strapping them in light of their monthly $10K mortgage payments. Well, for starters they could have made the closing on their new property contingent on the sale of the old one to avoid the mess they are in now. Secondly, we are asking them to compromise and take the offer from one of the two developers (who are offering market value) rather than the inflated bid from Rite Aid.

There are so many reasons why a Rite Aid is WRONG for that corner (look for posts on this soon). We need to hear your voice to save the church and avoid a catastrophic blow to the future development of Charlotte Avenue. Please make an effort to attend one - or preferably both - public hearings so that the MPC and Metro Council can hear just how seriously the community is taking this issue. Below are the dates and locations:

Thursday, February 28th - 4:00pm
Metro Planning Commission Public Hearing
Metro Southeast
1417 Murfreesboro Pike
Green Hills Conference Room

Tuesday, March 4th - 6:00pm
Metro Council Public Hearing
Metro Courthouse
1 Public Square
(Corner of 3rd ave. N and Union St.)

Your attendance is essential and appreciated.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Future of the Former Charlotte Ave Church of Christ



For those of you that missed the first DCDP meeting back in late January - part of the reason it was so crowded was because two bus loads of people representing the former congregation of the Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ were present. The congregation was under the impression that the DCDP meeting was in fact a meeting to specifically discuss the future of their property located at 4508 Charlotte Avenue. The MPC reminded the persistent congregation on numerous occasions that the meeting was not for that issue and there would be no discussions related to the matter.

So what is happening with that church you might ask? There has been a lot of buzz around the neighborhood on just what the future holds for that prominent corner of Charlotte. Here it is in a (rather big) nutshell:

• Currently, the congregation has a deal with the developer Newton Oldacre McDonald (NOM) to completely demolish the church and adjoining property and replace it with a suburban style Rite Aid Pharmacy.

• The reason this hasn't happened yet is because when the church filed the permit for demolition back in October of '07, a flag went up alerting the Metro Historical Zoning Commission that this property was potentially eligible to be on the National Historic Register. When this flag goes up, there is an automatic 90 day waiting period on demo permits.

• In light of the flag going up, Councilman Holleman (District 24) filed a bill in the Metro Council that would deem the property as a National Historic Landmark and protect it from demolition (another 90 day period) in the hopes that a developer would come forward and offer a plan that would preserve the structure. During this time two potential developers (other than NOM) offered plans that would preserve the church with an adaptive re-use. Their offers to the church have been of market value, but unfortunately have been turned down in lieu of Rite Aid offering approximately 15-20% more in an effort to out-bid other developers.

• The bill has passed its first reading. Today a public hearing was held by the MHZC to hear public opinion on the matter. Both sides were represented and had opportunities to share their positions. The MHZC responsibility is strictly to determine whether or not the building in question is or isn't a historically significant building that is eligible for a historic overlay. This is a very black and white decision- and ultimately - public opinion does little to sway this resolution. Needless to say, the MHZC recommended that this building be considered for the Historic Overlay. The matter now moves to the Metro Planning Commission which is holding a public hearing of their own on Feb. 28th. Stay tuned for more on this later.

Documents From First DCDP Meeting for Charlotte Ave.

The MPC has posted the following documents from the initial meeting that was held on January 22nd. A brief description of each meeting's agenda is outlined in the first PDF listed.
Attendance was standing room only at the first meeting. You are advised to show up early if you want a seat!

Welcome!

This blog has been created to keep our community informed on the progress of revitalization efforts on Charlotte Avenue as well as related issues. I have been a resident of Sylvan Park for over two years now, and have always had an interest in the potential that Charlotte Avenue has to become the bustling pedestrian based retail district that it once was many decades ago.

The intention of this blog is to keep the surrounding community up to date on planning meetings, new businesses, public hearings and anything else that might qualify as pertinent information.

As you may or may not know, the Metro Planning Commission has begun the process of coming up with a Detailed Corridor Design Plan for Charlotte Avenue. The first community meeting was held in late January and had a huge turnout. This is no doubt an initiative that has a lot of attention from the community and is important to the future of this urban corridor. There are four more community meetings scheduled from now through mid-May. All meetings will take place in the Parish Life Center at St. Ann's Catholic Church at the corner of Charlotte and 51st Avenues. Dates and times are as follows:

Community Meeting - Concept Plan
Tuesday, February 12
6:00 - 8:00 pm

Community Meeting - Detailed Community Character Policies Plan
Monday, March 3
6:00 - 8:00 pm

Community Meeting - Building Regulating Plan
Thursday, April 3
6:00 - 8:00 pm

Community Meeting - Presentation of Draft Plan
Monday, May 12
6:00 - 8:00 pm

More information on these meetings will be posted soon. I just wanted to get the basic information out on them first.

Stay tuned! More to come soon!