1) “Is faster population growth in Brentwood a high priority for you as a potential Commissioner, even if it means significant added expenses to maintain and upgrade our infrastructure (water, sewer, roads, etc.)?” No. My priority is to maintain Brentwood’s character as Middle Tennessee experiences growth. While “Brentwood’s Character” means many things to many people, most comments I get center around a quality of life provided by excellence in schools and public safety, complimented by a wonderful park system, library, and characterized by 1-acre density.
2) “Are you in favor of and would you vote for increasing the allowable building heights in any of the commercial areas of the City?” No – While I think it is important to maintain the vibrant, healthy commercial community that pays 60% of our bills, I have not heard that the buildings must be taller. For example, what I experience in Maryland Farms is that much of the office park isn’t very walkable, and that having to drive everywhere contributes to our congestion. There is a lot of room for improvement in our commercial district without adding height.
3) “Would you support expanding the area currently zoned C-4?” No – I’m not aware of any remaining undeveloped land in Brentwood that would be better rezoned C-4.
4) “Should residential dwellings of any kind (apartments, condos, town homes, etc.) be allowed in any commercial zoning (C-1, C-2, C-3 or C-4)?” No. This isn’t consistent with 1-acre density.
5) “Would you support or vote for rezoning any residential property to commercial zoning?” While I’m not in favor of commercial zoning encroaching on our neighborhoods, I think it is poor governance and somewhat of an abdication of responsibility to make an absolute statement like this. While I don’t anticipate rezoning from residential to commercial, I think it is the responsibility of commissioners to use good judgement and problem solving to respond to situations and opportunities in a way that benefits our community as a whole while protecting the character and interests of Brentwood.
6) “Would you support or vote for the rezoning of any agriculturally zoned property to commercially zoned property?” Committing to a blanket statement like this without context or specific situation is poor governance. That said, I’m not aware of any circumstance that calls for this.
7) “Would you support or vote for changing any residential property to Service Institution (SI) zoning in order to allow for residential dwellings of any kind (apartments, condos, town homes, etc.) with density greater than one home per acre?” No – I think 1-acre density is an important element of our city’s character.
8) “Will you pledge to residents you will voluntarily recuse yourself from any vote where you have a conflict of interest? This would include any vote on rezoning (or change to an existing zoning classification) where you, your family or your business have a financial interest in some or all of the property affected.” Yes. Isn’t this a standard practice?
9) “The Turner Property, located at the corner of Franklin Road and Concord Road, is currently zoned as agricultural land. If this property became available for development, should Commissioners vote to rezone this property in order to allow mixed use residential/commercial components?” According to The City of Brentwood, less than half the Turner property is currently zoned AR “agricultural”. (http://brentwood.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=2c39d0eed8484468ba9a0959603981b1) This would allow much of the property to be developed into a subdivision with homes on 1-acre lots. The Turner Property represents a huge opportunity for the City of Brentwood – many people would like to see something worked out to both preserve the view along Franklin Road as well as serve as an east-west connection for our city. I would like to be a part of working something out with the Turner family to preserve the views that many love while being fiscally responsible as a city and respectful of the rights of the owners of this private property.
10) “Should the City of Brentwood allow additional apartments to be built in areas that are currently zoned C-4 Zoning?” No. Apartments are not consistent with a 1-acre density.
11) “Should the City of Brentwood allow more apartments to be built in the areas zoned residential?” No. Apartments are not consistent with 1-acre density.
12) “The property at the northwest corner of Concord Road and Wilson Pike, generally known as the “Donkey Farm”, is currently zoned Residential (R2). Are you in favor of, and would you vote for a rezoning of this property to Commercial zoning?” No. I have not seen anything that makes me think putting commercial zoning immediately adjacent to the homes on Wilson Pike would be a good idea. Note – according to the City of Brentwood zoning map, the “Donkey Farm” is R1, Large Lot Residential, not R2.
13) “The property at the northwest corner of Concord Road and Wilson Pike, generally known as the “Donkey Farm”, is currently zoned Residential (R2). Are you in favor of, and would you vote for a rezoning of this property to Service Institution zoning?” The “Donkey Farm” at the north-west corner of Concord and Wilson Pike, appears to be R1, not R2. There is SI1 immediately east (East Brentwood Presbyterian) and C2 immediately south (Concord Market), but there is a home immediately north. That makes this location tricky – not very attractive for homes, but very close to existing homes. While I wouldn’t want to encourage C2 immediately next to R1, I would hope that over time, a solution could be discovered that works for the owners of the property as well as the adjoining property owners.
- “Other than in an official capacity as a sitting Commissioner, have you ever spoken at any public meeting or Commission Meeting in favor of either the Streets of Brentwood or Tapestry Projects?” I spoke to the City Commission about the commercial rezoning for what is now The Hill Center, but I have never commented about Tapestry. On Jan 14, 2013 I spoke in front of the City Commission in favor of rezoning the property on the southwest corner of Maryland Way and Franklin Road from C2 (commercial retail) to C4-SR (city center with special restrictions). My thought at the time was that developing this area with different usage pattern than Maryland Farms would convey a benefit in terms of traffic as well as provide Brentwood with a walkable shopping and entertainment area. You can see my comments as well as the entire discussion here: http://brentwoodtn.swagit.com/play/03122017-1361. I speak about 10 minutes in. This rezoning ultimately didn’t happen and the Hill Center was developed as you see it now with C2 zoning.
- “If elected, or reelected, would you support and vote for age-restricted housing at density greater than one home per acre?” I don’t like making blanket commitments without context – I think it is bad governance – but I am not in favor of density in excess of one family per acre.
- “Would you support or vote for a requirement that all future OSRD and OSRD-IP Developments must have no more homes built on the property than may currently be allowed under R-2 Zoning, which is Brentwood’s traditional one home per acre zoning standard?” Making sweeping commitments without context is poor governance and an abdication of responsible decision-making. I feel like this question is a clear reference to a specific and recent situation, and I don’t think it should handcuff future decisions by our city commissioners. Our OSRD zoning is a valuable problem-solving tool that should be available to Commissioners to use as necessary.
- “Do you support spending by the City of Brentwood to fund mass transit?” Dealing with congestion is one of the most common issues people talk about. There is more going on in this space right now than any time I’m aware of in history. Software, hardware, high-speed 5g wireless communication, and frustration with wasted time are all coming together to force innovation. I’m not sure where this will take us, but I think Brentwood needs to be a forward-thinking community that works towards improved mobility.
- “Should Brentwood allow short term rentals such as Airbnb or other competitors?” No. I think Brentwood should discourage short-term rentals to the extent they are able under the law.
- 19. “Do you feel the Brentwood Police Department is adequately funded and staffed in order to handle our rising crime rate?” Brentwood’s City Commission should provide our Police and Fire Departments with the resources they need, and do it dependably. While it appears our group-a crime rate is flat (possibly a touch lower) between 2017 and 2018, there have been some incidents that remind us that we should never take our public safety for granted.
- “Do you feel Brentwood has an adequate number of hotels?” I don’t have any data to comment. I am very much a believer in free markets and that it provides a mechanism to optimize hotel availability.
Thank you again to all who treasure the City of Brentwood. It is a very special place to me, and clearly to you as well. Being good stewards of our community and its resources is critically important, and I appreciate your interest in the candidates and their approach to governance. I hope I can count on your support.
Candidate for Brentwood City Commission