A new bill drafted by at-large councilman and mayoral candidate, John Cooper, would require the Metro Historical Commission to prepare a written report on the historic properties that may be impacted by zoning exemptions.
Properties included must be on the National Register of Historic Places or eligible for the register.
“This will allow Metro Council to make informed decisions about the results are of their actions,” said preservationist Robbie Jones, who worked on the legislation with Councilman Cooper.
Councilman Cooper told News 2 that the bill will allow Metro Council members to know exactly what’s at stake when they approve a developer’s project.
“I wish I could say this bill is going to solve the preservation problem, but it is going to make any vote to tear down something very deliberate — because you knew about it and you officially knew about it,” Cooper said.
Councilman Fabian Bedne is one of the eight sponsors on the bill. He told News 2 that properties like the Warren House sometimes face demolition risks simply because Metro Council doesn’t always know what’s at stake.
“By knowing exactly what’s happening, then we can make a better decision,” Bedne said. “We won’t have an excuse to say we didn’t know, now we know.”
News 2 reached out to mayoral candidates and Mayor David Briley, who said he supports this legislation.
Mayoral candidate Rep. John Ray Clemmons sent the following response to News 2:
“Our quality of life agenda is the centerpiece of our campaign and protecting the character and history of our neighborhood is a major focus. We must engage all stakeholders and empower residents to overcome the false narrative of “prosperity or preservation.” It is important that we be mindful and intentional in our city planning to protect what makes Nashville so special and initiated our boom from the beginning. To do this, we are committed to empowering neighborhoods by re-envisioning and strengthening the mayor’s office of neighborhoods and investing in a historic preservation fund. We will also restore preservation as a priority at Metro planning by fully evaluating the impact of specific plan zoning requests and ensure that any new development honors the unique qualities of our neighborhoods.”
News 2 is continuing to follow the challenges of growth and preservation in Music City in our Nashville 2019 series. Click here for more special coverage.