The sponsor of a bill that would ban all future residential development in Nashville’s floodplain is prepared to keep it shelved until a consulting firm finishes a report on the city’s long-term flood recovery.
Metro Councilman Darren Jernigan, who represents Old Hickory and parts of Hermitage, filed a bill in May that would prevent developers from building in the city’s floodway and 100-year floodplain, but he quickly deferred it at the request of Mayor Karl Dean.
Dean’s recovery team is now moving toward hiring a consulting firm to develop a new community-driven plan that, among things, would outline funding priorities for reinvestment and offer recommendations for smart growth and redevelopment.
Curt Garrigan, a member of the recovery team assigned to infrastructure and planning issues, said a request for proposals could be finalized by the end of June.
Jernigan sat down with representatives of the mayor’s office Friday afternoon to discuss the bill and agreed to let it sit until the consultants complete their work.
“They would like to have a consulting firm come in,” Jernigan said. “What I agreed to do is to wait and have them come in. Let’s see what their ideas are. My goals remain the same. I’m not opposed to anybody’s ideas coming to the table. I want to do it right.”
Tapping an outside consulting firm is a strategy often employed by cities trying to rebuild after natural disasters. Doing so would make Nashville eligible for additional financial assistance from the Federal Emergency and Management Agency.
Leaders of Cedar Rapids, Iowa hired consultants after catastrophic flooding in 2008, and officials of Greenburg, Kan. brought in a firm following a devastating round of tornados in 2007. Metro officials have been studying the responses of both cities.
Though it’s still uncertain which firm would be hired to develop Nashville’s post-flood plan, Garrigan said similar reports typically take four to six months to complete.
For the sake of his bill, Jernigan said a timeframe that would allow a plan to come out in the fall would be ideal, as FEMA’s updated mapping of Nashville’s floodplain is expected around the same time.