2021 Metro Legislative Scorecard

The Chamber values our partnership with elected officials as we work together to create jobs, develop workforce, and build communities. Every year, the Chamber’s board of directors adopts a State and Metro Legislative Agenda based on issues identified by our members in our annual policy survey. We share these agendas with state and local elected officials. Throughout the year, we work to provide information to our members and advocate as a collective business voice for Middle Tennessee. We are pleased to share our 2021 Legislative Scorecard, which reports how our elected leaders at the Nashville-Davidson County Metro Council have voted in the past year in four policy areas:

  • Creating an environment where business can prosper.
  • Promoting talent development of the region’s workforce. 
  • Ensuring quality of life that attracts and retains residents and workers.
  • Leading regional efforts to ensure economic prosperity.

Overview:

✅ Lowering Local Street Speed Limits

BL2021-594, as amended, improved safety on local streets by lowering the speed limit on streets designated as “local streets” on the Major and Collector Street Plan within the Urban Services District from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. BL2021-594 was sponsored by Council Members Burkley Allen (At-Large), Bob Nash (27), Freddie O’Connell (19), Angie Henderson (34), Colby Sledge (17), Russ Bradford (13), Joy Styles (32), Jennifer Gamble (3), Brandon Taylor (21), Ginny Welsch (16), Emily Benedict (7), Brett Withers (6), and Courtney Johnston (26).

Chamber Position

The Chamber endorsed the lowering of speed limits on local streets because it benefits the economy in two ways:

  • The community’s quality of life, an important input to economic health, is enhanced with improved pedestrian safety.
  • Retail, restaurant, and other businesses benefit from visibility with slower speeds and a safer environment for walk-up business.

Status BL2021-594 (Allen, Nash, O’Connell, Henderson, Sledge, Bradford, Styles, Gamble, Taylor, Welsch, Benedict, Withers, Johnston) was adopted by the Council at its February 2, 2021 meeting. See recorded vote.

✅ Creation of Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU) Overlay

Workforce and affordable housing are needed in Davidson County to retain and attract residents and workers. According to the Vital Signs 2020 Survey, 25.4% of Davidson County households are cost burdened, meaning they spend over 30% of their household income on their mortgage or rent.

BL2021-620, as amended, edited Chapters 17.36 and 17.40 of Title 17 of the Metropolitan Code to create a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU) Overlay District. This tool would allow a neighborhood to go through the standard process of adopting a zoning overlay to allow detached accessory dwelling units, if the proposed area was eligible, meeting several qualifications. The DADU Overlay ensures design requirements to make sure DADUs are built to scale and have minimum impact on the neighborhood, which include a minimum of 30 contiguous lots, notification to property owners within and proximate to a proposed DADU overlay district, and non-permitted use of DADUs for short term rentals. BL2021-620 was sponsored by Council Members Burkley Allen (At-Large), Sean Parker (5), Ginny Welsch (16), Freddie O’Connell (19), Brett Withers (6), Brandon Taylor (21), Emily Benedict (7), Zulfat Suara (At-Large).

Chamber Position

The Chamber has heard from its member businesses that they struggle to find and retain workforce in part due to lack of housing affordability in Davidson County. The Chamber endorsed legislative action that increases the supply of affordable housing in Davidson County.

Allowing neighborhoods to make the choice to implement a DADU Overlay District and have the option of creating a DADU is one of the many resourceful ways Nashville can increase its housing supply.

Status BL2021-620 (Allen, Parker, Welsch, O’Connell, Withers, Taylor, Benedict, Suara) was adopted by the Council at its May 18, 2021 meeting. See recorded vote.

✅ Creation of a Department of Transportation

Transportation and mobility options provide access to jobs, education, and amenities for all Nashvillians. Research by Transportation for America has shown that cities that invest in transit during and emerging from recessions experience larger and more equitable recovery. Creation of a DOT aligns resources and action and creates a central point of accountability to improve all forms of mobility in Nashville/Davidson County.

RS2021-794, as amended, took the first steps to transform Metro Public Works (PW) to a Metro Department of Transportation (DOT). RS2021-794 was sponsored by Council Members John Rutherford (31), Bob Nash (27), and Burkley Allen (At-Large).

Chamber Position

The Chamber endorsed the transformation of Metro Public Works to a Metro Department of Transportation. However, while the change in mission, focus and organizational structure is necessary to create a DOT, it alone is not sufficient. The Chamber noted that there must be investment in staffing the DOT – both in terms of expertise and size/scale of staffing to accomplish the stated goals of the DOT. The Chamber urged the Mayor and Metro Council to fund the new DOT adequately and effectively in the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 operating budget. In addition, the Chamber urged the city to seek dedicated funding for mobility and specifically for transit. While investments in the CSP and operating budget are needed and appreciated, the scope of the mobility challenges facing the city necessitates dedicated funding.

Status RS2021-794 (Rutherford, Nash, Allen) was adopted by Council at its April 6, 2021 meeting. See recorded vote.

✅ Economic Impact Plan for the Oracle Development

RS2021-908, as amended, approved the Economic Impact Plan (EIP) for the proposed Oracle development at the River North site. Oracle will receive a 25-year, 50% property tax discount in exchange for Oracle investing $175 million in public infrastructure to support the River North site and create attractive community spaces, bringing value to the River North site. Mayor Cooper committed through his State of Metro to appropriate one half of Metro’s real property taxes collected from this site towards funding affordable housing initiatives, a crucial need for Nashville. In addition, Oracle anticipates creating approximately 2,500 jobs by the end of 2027 for a total of 8,500 jobs by the end of 2031.

RS2021-908 was sponsored by Council Members Sean Parker (5), Kyonzté Toombs (2), Nancy VanReece (8), Zach Young (10), Zulfat Suara (At-Large), Brett Withers (6), Steve Glover (At-Large), John Rutherford (31), Russ Pulley (25), Bob Nash (27), Courtney Johnston (26), Gloria Hausser (22), Mary Carolyn Roberts (20), Tom Cash (18), Bob Mendes (At-Large), Jeff Syracuse (15), Sharon Hurt (At-Large), Ginny Welsch (16), Joy Styles (32), Robert Swope (4), Freddie O’Connell (19), Tonya Hancock (9), Dave Rosenberg (35), Burkley Allen (At-Large), Larry Hagar (11), Thom Druffel (23), Jennifer Gamble (3), Brandon Taylor (21), and Emily Benedict (7).

Chamber Position

The Chamber endorsed the Economic Impact Plan (EIP) for the proposed Oracle development at the River North site. The Oracle development and their investment into the city brings in new jobs for Davidson County residents, infuses wages into the Nashville economy, tax dollars into Metro Nashville’s operating funds, and creates strong, local workforce development opportunities. Oracle values Nashville’s diverse and talented workforce and wants to develop and strengthen partnerships with local institutions, including historically Black colleges and universities, as well as Metro Nashville Public Schools to provide more opportunities for Nashvillians to be hired by Oracle.

Status RS2021-908 (Parker, Toombs, VanReece, Young, Suara, Withers, Glover, Rutherford, Pulley, Nash, Johnston, Hausser, Roberts, Cash, Mendes, Syracuse, Hurt, Welsch, Styles, Swope, O’Connell, Hancock, Rosenberg, Allen, Hagar, Druffel, Gamble, Taylor, Benedict) was adopted by Council at its May 4, 2021 meeting. See recorded vote.

✅ FY22 Metro Nashville-Davidson County Operating Budget

BL2021-736, as substituted and amended, approved the annual operating budget for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County for Fiscal Year 2022 that includes investment in education, affordable housing, transportation, and employee and teacher pay and proposed to stick with the automatic property tax rate adjustment following this year's reappraisal process. BL2021-736, as substituted and amended, was sponsored by Council Member Kyonzté Toombs (2).

Chamber Position

The Chamber endorsed Metro Nashville-Davidson County’s FY22 Operating Budget. After weathering a year of devasting natural disasters, a COVID-19 pandemic, a bombing, and the city slowly building a strong financial footing, it is time to invest in things that are important to Nashvillians, our Chamber members, and help to maintain and strengthen Nashville’s quality of life. The annual operating budget invests in these critical issues that Chamber members say matter to them, such as transportation and mobility, education, and affordable housing.

Status BL2021-736 (Toombs) was adopted by Council at its June 15, 2021 meeting. See recorded vote.

Connect With the Chamber