Ok, I can't NOT comment on this article, but I did not want to set up a profile (one of about 50,000 that I have out there on the WWW).
From the Tennessean:
Coordinated planning urged to avoid Midstate sprawl, traffic
"Without a regional approach, some planners say, there's not much hope that Nashville and its suburbs can stay ahead of the curve and avoid the sprawl and traffic, pollution and even crime that have swallowed up so many peer cities.
'When you do piecemeal development ... it doesn't function,' said Bridget Jones, executive director of Cumberland Region Tomorrow, a local nonprofit that encourages regional planning. 'And that's when people start raising Cain about it.'"
Take it from a girl who FLED the city of Portland, Oregon, the nation's SMART Growth capital to come to the promised land of Nashville, TN, you DO NOT want regional planning.
Regional planning is inflexible and opens up your "region" to tinkering from special interest groups, from environmentalists, to anti-environmentalists, to big box stores, to real estate agents, to experimental planners.
Here are just a few reasons that Nashville is a better place to live than Portland, Oregon (a similarly populated area):
- For the price of a small home in Portland, Oregon, I can own a much nicer small home here, plus two rental properties. In fact, if you look at the MLS, you see houses for 65k on a regular basis. A person at minimum wage can afford the house payments on 65k. In Portland 65k won't get you a studio. In fact, at minimum wage, you have to move away, depend on government assistance, or crowd into a place with many people.
- Nashville Traffic. What traffic? Sure, you have rush hour here - stress on the word HOUR. In Portland it is rush hour almost all day long. Worse, you never know when rush hour will turn into parking lot hour due to something unexpected.
- Lot sizes are in general larger in Nashville than in Portland and the growing season is much longer. Anyone want some of my extra organic vegetables? I have plenty - and I didn't have to try to sue my neighbor for building up instead of out and blocking my sun.
- You can build what you want in Nashville. No kidding, in Portland, I actually witnessed a city discussion about the color of siding that a builder wanted to put on his building. Then the color was voted on by a committee. Keep in mind, the builder was proposing nothing outside of the zoning requirements.
- Less street violence in Nashville. Do you know what it feels like to not have shootings in front of your house, or just around the corner? We are not all on top of each other, so it is easier to be nice. I could be wrong. Just a guess...
The trouble with planning is that folks make a 10 or 20 year plan, then regional needs change mid way through, but you get stuck with the plan, which, like rail, can't easily be moved or altered.
Looks to me like Nashville is doing just fine untouched... I wish they had better produce, but I suppose that is merely a demand issue.