Thursday, January 28, 2016

Councilman Withers

Councilman Withers,

I am writing to you today to express my extreme displeasure with your championing of the Historic Home Event Bill.

This is not an issue like the extreme noise often emanating from the Ascend Amphitheater. Introducing sound ordinances for a venue of that size and, well, sound is appropriate. Across the country, most outdoor amphitheaters near residences have similar ordinances. That I understand.

What I don't understand is the purpose of this bill. But we'll get to that in a minute.

In addition to my full-time job, I have worked for a local florist on-and-off for the past 7 years. I have set up and cleaned up hundreds of weddings since 2009 both at indoor and outdoor event spaces in the Nashville area. In my time doing that never once have I ever overheard a single complaint from any neighbor of any venue of the event being too loud or too raucous. Furthermore, I am an ordained minister and have officiated both indoor and outdoor weddings in both Nashville and out-of-state. At no event have I ever received any complaint of an event being too loud or too wild. I have also DJed several weddings, again, at both indoor and outdoor spaces, and (you can see where this is going) have never received a single complaint from a neighbor at any time about it being too loud.
There are several wonderful outdoor event spaces in Nashville. In addition to the historic homes, places like Cheekwood and The Cordelle provide amazing spaces for people to have what one would hope to be the best day of their lives. These outdoor event spaces are part of the charm of southern living and hundreds and hundreds of event planners, floral shop employees, caterers, DJs, wedding consultants, and several other occupations depend on these places to give their clients the day of their dreams. People travel from all over the country to spend money in this town driven by these outdoor events. And your bill wants to take that away from people.

I can't understand why you want to introduce this bill. Can you explain it to me? Do you have a laundry list of complaints from neighbors of these venues? Do you just not like these venues? What is your reasoning?

From what I can tell, the Board of Zoning Appeals has, on multiple occasions, ruled that the property is the entire property -- not just the inside of the home. For someone such as yourself who used to work the real estate industry, I would expect that you would understand this.

Councilman Withers, it seems to me that you are entering into a fight that you cannot win and probably shouldn't enter in the first place. One needs only to look as far as the hubris exhibited by Aerial Development in their recent Shelby Hills campaign to see that neighborhoods belong to all of the residents and not a select few.

I have copied my councilman (Jeremy Elrod) on this email and am imploring him to oppose your proposal. This is bad for business, bad for you Councilman Withers, bad for Nashville, and just plain mean.


Stephen P Bohn