Edgehill Neighbors Clash Over Pending Restrictions

With maps of Edgehill streets and a list of property owners, including their stand on land use restrictions, Metro Councilman Colby Sledge explains government procedures to nearly 50 people in the lobby of a city building while planning commissioners met. Photo By Clint Confehr

By Clint Confehr

NASHVILLE, TN — Property values versus freedom from government control have many Edgehill neighbors in an uproar over a controversial proposal to restrict property development.

While metro planning commissioners met June 28 in a conference hall, nearly 50 people argued in the lobby for and against restrictions recommended by the historic zoning board. Controls are presented as how to preserve the appearance of homes in the neighborhood.

Janet Parham of the Edgehill community questions the value of imposing government regulations on where she lives with her husband, Kenneth.
Photo By Clint Confehr

With his back practically up against a wall, Councilman Colby Sledge explained government procedures, heard differing views, and ultimately asked Planning Commission Chairman Greg Adkins to postpone a public hearing that night. All planning commissioners agreed to defer until July 26 when, after a hearing, commissioners would vote to recommend for or against a proposed requirement for historic zoning board controls that might prevent so-called tall skinny home construction. A commission recommendation to city council members in August could be approved with only 21 votes. If commissioners issue a negative recommend, the proposed change needs support from 27 council members to pass.

Planning commissioners’ 4 p.m. July 26 meeting is to be in the Board of Education meeting room, 2601 Bransford Ave.

“Various owners” of Edghilll property sought to have 43 acres subjected to a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District along South Street, Villa Place, Wedgwood Avenue, 15th Avenue South, Tremont Street and Edgehill Avenue. Sledge and Councilman Freddie O’Connell asked planning commissioners to consider a recommendation for that.

“This may correct an inequity from being left out of NashvilleNext,” Theo Antoniadis said of a 2015 plan to guide growth, development, and preservation in Nashville for 25 years.

Michael Malock of 15th Avenue South has a photo of two foundations for homes under construction, and says their walls will be so close a man could reach from one to the other.

“Zoning has not protected us,” Malock said. “Zoning let this investor guy come in and do this.”

Proposed controls would presumably prevent that, assuming the appearance was inconsistent with nearby buildings. Uncertainty made property owners and residents uneasy.

Karen Kalodimos said she sympathies with people who are conflicted with their own opinions. People don’t want to be told what they can do with their property, but they don’t want, for example, a set of tall skinny homes across the street.

Janet Parham wants to know what Sledge’s maps show on “who’s for it and who’s against it.” But, Kalodimos countered, “People are entitled to change their minds.”

Jill Bader canvassed the neighborhood and alleges there are more opponents than advocates.

Putting restrictions on a home that developers may want to purchase will negatively affect the property owner’s equity, Bader said.

Now, Rob Benshoof said, it’s possible to build two homes on a lot and sell each for $750,000, but most historic neighborhoods with historic homes have controls like what’s proposed for Edgehill. Music Row is an example. Controls could require new homes, additions and renovations to look like surrounding buildings.

Such issues may be discussed Saturday at 8 a.m. during the OneNashville Community Information and Awareness Breakfast Forum on affordable housing, gentrification and neighbors’ rights in the Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church, 819 33rd Ave., North.

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