Friday, November 02, 2007


Some folks have learned just how far their support for public education goes. It stops at the green line.

"It has always been school property...The district does not mind neighbors using the greenspace, but now the district must use it for parking for a facility that will advance education for the entire community." MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Pedro Garcia (City Paper)

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. What every neighborhood wants is assurance that their quality of life cannot be thrown into a tailspin by any Metro entity without due process and reasonable consideration.

Press Release
Hillsboro - West End Neighborhood Association

- For immediate release -
Neighborhood Sues for Specific Plan Zoning at Historic Eakin School Property

The Hillsboro - West End Neighborhood Association (HWEN) has filed a lawsuit in Chancery Court to challenge the legality of the building permit for the Martin Professional Development Center at 24th Avenue
and Fairfax Avenue (Eakin School). The center is being developed by
the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County as a teacher training

On September 23, the board of HWEN voted to request Metro Schools to
collaborate on Specific Plan (SP) zoning for the historic Eakin school
property currently being renovated for the Professional Development
Center. Specific Plan zoning provides a means to craft a legal and
enforceable agreement meeting the needs of Metro Schools while
addressing the concerns of neighbors regarding traffic, parking, and
the preservation of green space.

Metro Schools has informed HWEN that they do not believe it is in
their best interests to collaborate on rezoning of the property at
this time. HWEN has filed the lawsuit prevent this project from
setting a precedent that could affect other neighborhoods and to
prevent changes to the Eakin site without due process now and in the

The property is currently zoned for residential use, which allows
residential development or the construction of a school for
kindergarten through twelfth grade students. The use of this property
for professional adult education is not consistent with the zoning.
The Eakin School building is also protected by Historic Landmark
Overlay zoning.

Metro Schools developed the site plan for the Martin Professional
Development Center without following required legal procedures for
rezoning. Existing zoning and historic preservation ordinances were
ignored or bypassed. Only after the building permit was issued were
neighbors given the opportunity to review the plans.

A group of neighbors has recently been involved in intensive
negotiations with Metro to resolve these questions. As a result of
these talks, significant design changes have been made by Metro to
preserve a well used playing field. Important issues remain
unresolved, including a new driveway and parking lot at the front of
the site, limits on the amount of traffic coming into the
neighborhood, and a traffic and parking study of the project.

Several years ago, when the historic Eakin School building was
threatened with demolition, the Hillsboro - West End Neighborhood
Association encouraged Metro to find a creative re-use of this
structure. Metro Schools proposed a teachers' training center for
this property, and the neighborhood welcomed this development. At
that time, Metro Schools and the Nashville Alliance for Public
Education agreed to collaborate with the neighborhood to resolve
issues related to traffic and parking and preservation of green
space. This agreement was not fulfilled.

The Hillsboro West End Neighborhood Association has successfully
negotiated zoning changes with private developers such as Harris-
Teeter on 21st Avenue and with merchants in Hillsboro Village and
hopes that it can ultimately do so with Metro Schools. HWEN has
brought this matter to the attention of the court only because Metro
Schools has ignored the law and the need to collaborate with the
community. HWEN continues to support the training center as a
valuable asset for Metro teachers and welcomes an appropriately-sited
and legally permitted facility in the neighborhood. The neighborhood
association is committed to resolving this issue without undue delay
or budget increases to this project.

For more information, please contact:

Skip Hindman - phone 473-9098

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