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.

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:

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!


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!