Metro intervenes to help belly-up subdivisions complete roads and infrastructure

Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 3:42pm

Nashville residential subdivisions that were built during the housing boom but stalled during the nation’s economic downturn are in line for Metro aid to complete unfinished streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure, under a Mayor Karl Dean administration plan.

The Metro Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the city’s acceptance of “incomplete infrastructure” in 11 privately developed subdivisions that were abandoned mid-construction. Hastening council action: mistakes of the Metro Planning Department, which failed to properly monitor bonds and lines of credit that were supposed to ensure infrastructure was finished.

The plan’s approval has established an application process for up to $2.5 million to be authorized in street, light and other construction work in these neighborhoods.

“I’m comfortable with the city putting some money to it,” Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said. “We sort of owe that to the citizens who bought out there.”

Funds for unfinished infrastructure — deemed as “safety concerns” in the approved legislation — would be carved out of future capital-spending budgets.

Several stalled or bankrupt subdivisions set to benefit from the arrangement are in Antioch and Southeast Davidson County, an area that exploded in growth over the last decade.

One of the 11 designated neighborhoods is Edison Park, situated near Thomas Edison Elementary School in Antioch. Families live there despite lacking basic utilities.

“Edison Park, for four years we’ve struggled to get streets finished, to get lots built out, to get sewers and gutters finished,” said Councilman Robert Duvall, who represents the area.

“There’s no street lights,” he said. “It’s so dark at night out there, you can put your hand in front of your face and you can’t see it.”

The council reacted to the issue in part because of planning department failures.

According to council attorney Jon Cooper’s legal analysis, a 2009 report identified “a failure by the planning department to adequately monitor and administer” bonds that were issued as a way to ensure developers complete infrastructure up to standards.

“We lost the bond,” Duvall said. “We, the Metropolitan government, didn’t do what we were supposed to do, and we allowed that to happen. This is a way to fix it.”

Planning department spokesman Craig Owensby said, "It's very clear that any issues that we may have had in the past have been cleared up, and a lot of improvements have been made in the process."

Metro planners inadvertently allowed the expiration of letters of credit that banks had issued to back up the funding of infrastructure if developers went bankrupt.

“Specifically, the report noted the failure of the department to follow its own policies and procedures resulted in expired letters of credit and a backlog of 248 breached performance agreements exposing the Metropolitan Government to potential liability of $6.2 million,” the council’s legal analysis stated.

“The monitoring report made a number of recommendations to prevent future occurrences, which have now been implemented by the planning department.”

Metro attorneys had negotiated with banks and developers to solve the issue, but there were still 11 subdivisions that lacked security to guarantee the completion of infrastructure.

17 Comments on this post:

By: Ask01 on 2/9/12 at 3:10

I will forego the expected tirade pointing out private citizens would likely face all manner of fines and penalties for allowing the expiration of documents, and calling heads to roll.

instead, I will ask Mayor Dean and Metro Council when they intend to retrofit existing neighborhoods with sidewalks, lighting, and other niceties.

Perhaps when the flood of money generated by the convention center begins to overflow the city coffers? I had hoped after all the hype about how building the stadium for Bud Adams would make us flush with cash for years sidewalks would line the streets from the most remote suburb to downtown, but the administration who brought us the NFL must have overestimated the profits, mismanaged the funds, or lost the money.

I'm sure they wouldn't have lied to us just to get their way, would they?

Oh well, Metro government may be too spineless to address the Arriola situation, but at least they are willing fess up to this oversight and promise to make good. I wonder who threatened them with what sort of legal action?

By: bfra on 2/9/12 at 3:23

Ask01 - All very good questions but don't expect any answers. You might get a lot of excuses & just out & out lies, but not a direct answer. We have the best "paid for" crooked politicians in Metro that money can buy.

By: Ask01 on 2/9/12 at 5:59

A very accurate observation, bfra. I realize no answers will be forthcoming, but I just cannot bring myself to let slip any opportunity to skewer Metro. The only reason I can offer is a quote from the fictional television character of Dr. House, "It makes me happy."

By: Loner on 2/10/12 at 5:59

Quote: “Specifically, the report noted the failure of the department to follow its own policies and procedures resulted in expired letters of credit and a backlog of 248 breached performance agreements exposing the Metropolitan Government to potential liability of $6.2 million,” the council’s legal analysis stated. End quote.

How can this incompetence be allowed to go unpunished? Heads should roll.

Metro was too busy with more important issues ...like advancing the GLBT agenda....debating the pros and cons of keeping chickens within city limits....lobbying for more public-school-destroying Charter schools.....meddling with the food trucks ...ordering additional and expensive public "art"....sucking up to and bankrolling professional sports franchises...conducting political witch-hunts etc.

Metro lost track of its priorities and its mission...throw these bums out and put some competent public servants in there.

By: Loner on 2/10/12 at 6:37

Metro will try to sweep all this ugly stuff under the rug.....that's BS, folks...this gross incompetence should be hung around Mayor Dean's neck, like a rotting albatross. Do not forget this...do not forgive this....this is inexcusable incompetence.

By: Ask01 on 2/10/12 at 6:42

Bravo, Loner!

I wonder how often private citizens have marvelled at trivial issues our elected employees elevated to the level of Armageddon worthy causes, and questioned if more pressing matters were being ignored?

I can attest my long suffering wife and daughter have tolerated regular tirades along the lines of 'Is this really the most serious issue facing Nashville? Have Mayor Dean, Metro Council, and all Department truly handled every matter before them so they candevote valuable time to chickens in the backyard, as an example?'

We now have a disturbing answer.

I had originally vowed to rise above the fray, but, God help me, I am a predictable creature of habit, and cannot pass on an opportunity to slam politicians and bureaucrats. Much like a cop skulking about at the bottom of a hill trolling for speeders, the low hanging fruit is the easiest target. Particularly at this early hour.

Let's get the mob fired up Loner.

By: spooky24 on 2/10/12 at 8:09

It took 10 years but they finally got (the now bankrupt) developers of Delvin Downs to install a turning lane at Barnes and Nolensville.
If you recall Delvin Downs was a huge development with all the bells a whistles for 350 homes. Well 13 got built before it went belly-up.
I agree council has more important things to do like just seeing how much further in debt this city can get-and oh yes those chickens.

sp

By: Left-of-Local on 2/10/12 at 9:08

I'll be damned. I have finally found something I agree with the conservative curmudgeons here about...

I have no mercy for bankrupt and stupid developers and do not think they should have the city finishing their job. There is and never had been a single thing that would be harmful in people supporting the established neighborhoods in Nashville, and these defunct developments of cheap low-bidder illegal-labor CRAPSHACKS deserve to die on the vine. Eff them.

By: bfra on 2/10/12 at 9:13

a backlog of 248 breached performance agreements exposing the Metropolitan Government to potential liability of $6.2 million,” the council’s legal analysis stated.
=================================================
Now Karl & Riebeling wouldn't want that! That might include a full scale audit.

By: Loner on 2/10/12 at 11:03

Yeah, Ask01, git a rope...I got a pitchfork....we'll need torch-bearers too, the arson-loving kind....and tar, yes, we'll need tar...and some feathers...but seriously, the citizens need to "lawyer up"...you need lawyers, outside auditors, subpoena power, credible witnesses etc. it will take time and money to clean house....but once the cleaning begins, the rats jump ship..or squeal...the fat cats head for the litter box....it's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

By: Ask01 on 2/10/12 at 12:46

Loner, I certainly appreciate your line of thought. There is a enticing 19th century charm to the concept of an irate citizenry dealing directly with errant public servants, however, you are correct that we the people need to effect change through constitutional means, otherwise we stoop to the level of those we elected.

Lawyers though compromise the bulk of the problem, most elected officials beginning their descent to the Infernal Regions down that path.

I propose deposing politicians at the ballot box, shocking them with wholesale defeats, and making them frightened of the people, which is what the natural order should be.

By: Loner on 2/10/12 at 1:18

Ask01, you need to have honest alternative candidates...that's a tough job right there...the clean outsider can be naive in the ways of real politics...and/or gullible.

Once you have quality, vetted replacement leaders lined up, you use them to sell the message of reform....you need front men, or women to personify the agenda...they have to be both articulate and charismatic....and unfortunately, it helps if they are photogenic....good luck finding folks with that sort of resume.

Anyone who could clean up Nashville's house, could be on the road to the White House.

By: acluu on 2/10/12 at 9:40

Sorry spook, Delvin Downs Is approx 4 - 5 years old, not 10.

Turn lane at Nolensville and Barnes should've been installed long before Delvin Downs, maybe before Barnes Cove, maybe before Barnes Bend, maybe before the "Ole South" Townhomes as they were their long before Delvin Downs.
Delvin Downs was never to be no 350 homes, maybe 150.
And no, I don’t work for the Planning Commission.

Questions that should be asked:
When is the State's A.G. investigation coming, the TBI’s, the FBI’s?
Who's on the Board at the Planning Commission? (Uh, belly upped developers?)

Instead of the "Tennessee Waltz” it should be the "Planning Commission Waltz !

Why the peeps in Davidson County doesn't demand a full blown investigation is beyond me, seriously, wake up!

Hint .... “Do not call the "Fox guarding the Hen house"

By: acluu on 2/10/12 at 9:41

Sorry spook, Delvin Downs Is approx 4 - 5 years old, not 10.

Turn lane at Nolensville and Barnes should've been installed long before Delvin Downs, maybe before Barnes Cove, maybe before Barnes Bend, maybe before the "Ole South" Townhomes as they were their long before Delvin Downs.
Delvin Downs was never to be no 350 homes, maybe 150.
And no, I don’t work for the Planning Commission.

Questions that should be asked:
When is the State's A.G. investigation coming, the TBI’s, the FBI’s?
Who's on the Board at the Planning Commission? (Uh, belly upped developers?)

Instead of the "Tennessee Waltz” it should be the "Planning Commission Waltz !

Why the peeps in Davidson County doesn't demand a full blown investigation is beyond me, seriously, wake up!

Hint .... “Do not call the "Fox guarding the Hen house"

By: acluu on 2/10/12 at 9:44

Sorry for double posting...

By: spooky24 on 2/11/12 at 5:34

aclu don't correct someones comments when you know nothing of what you are talking about .The original contract with developer Larry Hasty contained parts of my families land along with all the land from Delvin Farms -Hank Delvin Sr's estate. The contract was signed December 1st 2002 although my part of the land was removed-this is the same land wanted by David McGowan and Lenox Village that, thankfully, still has cows on it. This was one of the stupidest investments ever-and everyone knew it. Not only did the developers promise to widen Barnes and Nolensville they were going to widen some 900feet at the entrance of the project all the way to OHB..
They promised the planning commission/council 300-400 units with an impact projection of 6.5 million. Since you have no experience in construction financing I'll explain that these projects take years before the ground is even surveyed. M.B Owens held out on his small 10 acre parcel that was the original delay.

I still have all the paperwork.

There was a lot of underhanded/illegal goings on with this project. Biggest being the bribe payed to increase the speed limit of Barnes road from 30mph to 40mph to meet the traffic study. There is still no work order for this change(even now) and Metro declined to investigate it

Speaking of Lenox I walked my back border that connects up with Lenox and the damn place is deserted-all those homes and condos are empty- so much for the new urbanisum.

sp

By: acluu on 2/11/12 at 8:57

The original contract with developer Larry Hasty contained parts of my families land along with all the land from Delvin Farms -Hank Delvin Sr's estate. The contract was signed December 1st 2002 although my part of the land was removed-this is the same land wanted by David McGowan and Lenox Village that, thankfully, still has cows on it. This was one of the stupidest investments ever-and everyone knew it. Not only did the developers promise to widen Barnes and Nolensville they were going to widen some 900feet at the entrance of the project all the way to OHB..
They promised the planning commission/council 300-400 units with an impact projection of 6.5 million. Since you have no experience in construction financing I'll explain that these projects take years before the ground is even surveyed. M.B Owens held out on his small 10 acre parcel that was the original delay.

Since I don’t know nothing about construction, it is a “Rs10: Single Family - (10,000 Square Foot Lot) Ov-Res: Residential Pud Overlay.

First occupant at (Delvin Downs) did not close till 11-29-2007, the land contract may have been 2002, but the construction did not start till 4-5 years later and for a what, a “60 lot” subdivision.

Unless they were going across the street to develop, the (developers) was not going to get that (300-400) units on a Rs10: Single Family anywhere on that side of Barnes, not on the west side.
Looking at the overhead aerial I don’t see it backing up to Lenox at all, maybe Yazdian’s/Sugar Valley.

Why should Hasty have to incur all the costs (off- site improvements) on a 60 lot subdivision when most of the impact was done by Beazer at “Stanford Village”, Jones Co. at “Barnes Bend” Fox Ridge NVR /Ring development at “Cottage Grove” and Ole South’s “Barnes Crossing”?

Mr. Hasty was/is responsible for the Barnes Cove/Devin Downs development, but again, why should he bear all the brunt considering all other developments in the area?
Look at the impact from Beazer’s “Hidden Creek” and CPS’s “Mill Run” which is around the corner at Barnes on O.H.B.
And you think these developments do not have an impact?
And if so, why was Mr. Hasty made to do the widening?
I’m saying spooky, if you were the developer, I would feel the same for you.

Never heard of the road widening “900 feet at the entrance of the project all the way to OHB”
Why not have Metro Water/Garney Contruction do the widening at OHB at Barnes when they had the whole area screwed up for a year installing/rehabbing sewer lines?(very simple, put it in the contract.)