7-months after filing Petition…
Our case in Chancery Court requesting review of BL2015-1094 continues to require additional hearings in court, driving up the cost to have the case heard in court. Metro Government and Saint Thomas are challenging our standing, our ability to have the case heard by the court. We are asking the court to review the Ordinance, which authorizes building to occur in the stream buffer and the floodplain. Passage of this Ordinance sets a bad precedent that threatens Richland Creek, and all streams in Davidson County. (Photo: Imperial House, 2010)
At the January 15, 2016 Motion Hearing, Metro suggested RCWA president is the lone objection to BL2015-1094. What we know is that people are surprised when they hear about this development plan, and that the RCWA president is not alone. The public deserves their day in court—A voice on the matter. (Monette Rebecca, RCWA president).
Background… May 2015, the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance filed a Petition in Chancery Court, asking for review of the Saint Thomas development plan for the old Imperial House property that Metro Council approved (BL2015-1094). We were surprised, and disagreed when Metro approved a blanket exemption to the stream buffer RULE during this rezoning. Forested areas next to streams, called “stream buffers,” capture and filter-out pollution, prevent bank erosion and control flooding. These buffers are critical for fish and aquatic life to survive and thrive. Protected, stream buffers have many community benefits and must be maintained to keep flood insurance rates low for property owners.
Our attorney… Sharon O. Jacobs of Bone McAlester Norton PLLC has been working tirelessly on getting our case heard by the court. Many documents have been filed and responded to in addition to court appearances, which is increasing legal costs. With many deadlines looming, and the trial set for August 2 & 3, we need your support more than ever.
Stand up. Be counted for Richland Creek… Persistent questioning about our standing is redundant and a waste of time and money. Your annual RCWA membership shows that you care about Richland Creek, and will help cover the growing cost for case. While we all appreciate Nashville’s status as a booming “it city” with a thriving economy, we cannot let our growth and progress cause us to lose the valuable natural treasure we have in Richland Creek. We can have both healthy growth and protect these natural treasures with thoughtful planning. Your support makes a difference! Join RCWA…
RCWA supports development (progress), but it need not come at the expense of a freshwater resource. We are only asking that Metro comply with its own Code of Laws when approving new development. We need to bring our attitude toward our water resources into the 21st century. RCWA is not opposed to development, but we do stand strong for compliance with already existing stream buffer regulations. Stream buffer zones are indicated in the Metro Stormwater Manual graphic (shown). Building in buffers and floodplains degrade a stream’s waters and habitat, threatens our flood insurance rates and FEMA approved program, and increases flood risk.
Let’s build in compliance with our current law, not buffer zones!
NOTE: Because Metro staff waived the stream buffer Rule, a Stormwater Management Committee hearing would not be required for the Saint Thomas development, as was required for the Blakeford Place plan (discussed below), which RCWA attended January 7, 2016. SWMC hearings provide an opportunity for careful consideration of the effects of a development on our freshwater resources, and allow the community to weigh in.
January 7, 2016 SWMC Meeting
The Stormwater Management Committee (SWMC) reviews requests for stormwater variances, and appeals. We have attended many SWMC hearings, and seen many applications requesting a variance to disturb, and/or build in the stream buffer.
RCWA joined local neighbors at the January 7th SWMC hearing, to speak-up in support of the little remaining Sugartree Creek habitat on the Blakeford Place property, in the Burton Hills complex of Green Hills. RCWA and neighbors opposed building in the stream buffer. Sugartree Creek is a major tributary to Richland Creek, once an ecologically rich freshwater stream. Many varieties of wildlife stills depend on this Sugartree Creek habitat, as we illustrated to the Committee with photos. We are pleased to report… the SWMC members voted unanimously to deny this variance request. The process works and should not be bypassed.