This week, Neighbor 2 Neighbor, a group that works diligently to ensure neighborhoods have the tools to participate in Nashville’s Planning process, distributed a Metro Nashville audit of SP Zoning. SP Zoning is a very specific zoning designation that allows development outside of the existing policy and zoning designation. Basically, it’s spot zoning that allows a developer to build whatever they want – as long as the Council approves it.
The audit reveals that Nashville does not have the right processes in place to hold developers of SP areas accountable. Many residents do not know what an SP is, much less how to determine if a developer is in compliance. The details of each SP are unique to each plan, so one SP is different from every other. One thing holds true for all SPs – if the council member in your district supports it, it will almost always be approved by council (even if Planning disapproves it).
The audit points out that once an SP is approved, it is unclear who in Nashville government is responsible for enforcing it. That means developers can be out of compliance, and no single authority can hold them accountable. The Planning Commission accepted these findings and has agreed to address them, but we as a community need to ensure that they do.
District 3 deserves someone in Metro Council who understands these complex issues and will fight for accountability to the people living in our neighborhoods. I have been working for years alongside neighbors wanting smart development and accountability. Please support me on August 1!