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HomePoliticsClarksville City Councilperson Brian Zacharias’ Ward 1 Newsletter, April 11th, 2022

Clarksville City Councilperson Brian Zacharias’ Ward 1 Newsletter, April 11th, 2022

Written by Brian Zacharias
Clarksville City Council – Ward 1

City of Clarksville - Ward 1Clarksville, TN – On Thursday, April 7th, the Clarksville City Council met for its monthly regular voting session. The votes tracker is updated with links to each of the ordinances and resolutions that were on the agenda, as well as how I voted.

For rezoning applications, this includes a map of the area as well as comments from the relevant city departments. As always, I welcome your feedback!

April 7th Regular Session

There were some items on the April agenda that generated some interesting discussion during the meeting that I want to highlight. Think of this as the Cliffs Notes version of last night’s meeting.
 

 
Ordinance 103-2021-22
This rezoning application was to change the property from RM-1 (Single Family Mobile Home Residential District) to R-6 (Single Family Residential District). The R-6 zoning is an infill zoning designation, meaning it is meant for higher-density single-family homes that have access to residential supportive services like mass transit and retail services.
 
I voted against this ordinance, not because I am opposed to increased density in this area, but because this property is out of range of the city’s public transportation network and not within walking distance of retail services.
 
There is also concern that the homes to be built on this property will be much more expensive than the type of homes it is displacing, making them unaffordable to residents in this neighborhood and leading to gentrification. This ordinance passed against the recommendation of the Regional Planning Commission and the staff. 
 
Ordinance 105-2021-22
The Regional Planning Commission and staff recommended approval for this application to rezone a portion of a parcel of land on Highway 76 from C-5 (Highway & Arterial Commercial District) to R-4 (Multiple Family Residential District). Several members of the neighboring community came to the meeting to oppose this application citing concerns of adding 200 apartment units to what is essentially a one-lane road that currently only has 13 homes on it.
 
This piece of property is proving difficult to develop because of the traffic conditions that exist on the portion of the property that fronts Highway 76. A traffic light will eventually need to be installed where Memorial Drive meets Highway 76, but until then, concerns with adding the traffic an apartment complex would generate to Jones Road led me to join the majority of the council in voting against this application.
 
Ordinance 100-2021-22
Needmore Road again. I have some major concerns with this application to rezone this property from R-1 (Single Family Residential) to R-6 (Single Family Residential). To provide some background, this property was recently rezoned from AG (Agricultural) to R-1 in December 2021 as part of a different rezoning application that included land across the street.
 
At the time of that request, the street department required the developer to conduct an assessment to determine the effects the additional traffic would have on E. Boy Scout Road as it went from AG to R-1. That traffic assessment was completed based on the zoning that was requested at that time. Now, the applicant is requesting a zoning designation that has the potential to bring additional density to this area, but without the requirement for a new traffic assessment.
 
I believe this creates a dangerous precedent where an applicant can incrementally increase the residential or commercial density of property without providing the council with the information it needs to make an informed decision. I continue to be opposed to putting additional homes on Needmore until the planned road improvements are complete.
 
You can view my comments and the council’s debate on this issue by clicking here and fast-forwarding to the 1:33:35 mark. This ordinance passed first reading. 
 
Resolution 60-2021-22
This is a resolution requesting that the Regional Planning Commission prepare and submit an ordinance to rezone the entirety of the Red River Neighborhood to R-2A (Single Family Residential). This was one of four courses of action in a study produced by the RPC. At the same time, the city has initiated another study to take a look at the broader and more comprehensive study of the area to determine the best way to move forward with zoning in this area.
 
I want to be clear: I am very much in favor of preserving this historical neighborhood. There are some concerns that an R-2A zoning would have the effect of increasing the value of the lots in this neighborhood, leading to higher prices for newly constructed homes, unaffordable to current residents in that neighborhood.
 
The council seemed to agree that it would be prudent to wait for the results of the pending study before rezoning an entire neighborhood to avoid the possibility of needed to rezone a second time so shortly after the first. This resolution failed in a close vote. 
 
Ordinance 95-2021-22
This is a budget ordinance that would allocate funds for several projects in Clarksville, including repairs to the Smith-Trahern Mansion, the Frosty Morn site, and the Cumberland Garage. A similar ordinance that also contained funding for the construction of a new parking garage downtown failed last month.
 

 
Councilwoman Streetman offered an amendment to the new ordinance that re-introduced funding for a new garage and the council voted to include funding for the garage in the ordinance. The council passed the amended ordinance, which brings the new parking garage downtown one step closer to being approved. I voted in favor of the amendment and the ordinance. 
 

Comprehensive Plan Community Questionnaire

The Regional Planning Commission (RPC) wants to hear from you! This is your opportunity to influence the future of our city. The RPC is in the process of creating a Comprehensive Plan for future growth and development of Clarksville.  
 
The Comprehensive Plan will outline the existing conditions of Clarksville-Montgomery County, describe future goals and objectives for development and include an action plan on how to achieve these goals and objectives. Please take the time to fill out this survey!
 

Voter Registration

The Ward 1 election cycle falls during mid-term elections, which historically seels lower voter turn-out than elections where people have the opportunity to vote for the president. The last time the residents of Ward 1 voted for their city ocuncil representative, 956 voters chose the representative for a ward of almost 12,000 residents.
 
Going to the polls on Election Day is the only way to guarantee you have a voice in choosing your representative. Since our last election, the nation has conducted its 10-year census and our city’s ward boundaries have been redrawn to account for shifts in population. As a result, many residents may find themselves in a different city ward, or school board, county, or state district. It is important that everyone who intends to vote in primary or general elections ensures they are registered to vote.
 
The State of Tennessee has made it very easy to register to vote online, either through its GoVote TN website or through the GoVoteTN app on your smartphone. Click the button below to visit the GoVoteTN website, or search Apple’s App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android) for the GoVoteTN app. The process takes less than 10 minutes and guarantees your voice is heard in upcoming elections!
 

Schedule an Appointment

I want to hear from you. My phone number and email address are public, but I am learning that there are times when a face-to-face meeting would be more appropriate, depending on the issue. If you would like to discuss an issue facing Ward 1 or Clarksville in general, please use the form linked below and we can schedule a meeting. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible!
 

Past and Future Votes

Transparency in government, especially local government, is extremely important to me. At any time, anyone can click the ‘Votes’ button to see my complete voting history as well as ordinances and resolutions on the City Council’s agenda for consideration in upcoming meetings.
 

What Has Your Councilman Been Doing?

March 3rd – City Council Regular Session
March 21st – Neighborhood & Community Services Committee Meeting
March 29th – Finance Committee Meeting
March 21st – City Council Executive Session
April 7th – City Council Regular Session
 

What Is Your Councilman Going To Be Doing?

April 11th – Neighborhood & Community Services Committee Meeting
April 28th – City Council Executive Session
April 30th – Great American Cleanup – Montgomery County
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