fb tw

City Council and County Commission Find Common Ground on the Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan

October 26, 2011 | More News

Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan cover

After approval by the Metropolitan Planning Commission in December 2010, the Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan has been a major topic of discussion by City Council and County Commission. Those two legislative bodies agreed to meet jointly during the past two months and work with Dr. Steve Joiner, a public facilitator from Lipscomb University, to review the plan's policies and guidelines, consider potential changes, and listen to various development, neighborhood and environmental interests.

The plan's policies are based on the premise that a balance should be achieved between conservation and development. Two simple maxims were used in preparing the plan: the steeper the slope, the less the intensity of development; and, the steeper the slope, the less the amount of forest clearing.

In the past, a slope protection area was adopted in various plans. This new plan, using geographic information system technology, more accurately defines a Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Area. Several policies are outlined to realize the conservation/development balance: encouraging development on more level land, fostering office and commercial uses outside steep slopes, allowing residential density bonuses for conserving forested slopes, and providing forest clearing guidelines.

The plan also includes several recommendations for implementation, including conservation subdivision regulations, reduced hillside road widths, building setbacks and parking requirements to lessen land disturbance, new reforestation practices, review processes for water tank construction, and creation of forest trail systems, such as the Urban Wilderness Trail.

The plan was compiled through extensive Hillside Task Force meetings, community meetings, surveys, and MPC, City Council, and County Commission hearings. Following the collaborative series of City Council-County Commission workshops, MPC staff proposed several changes to clarify and refine the plan's policies. See the proposed revisions >>

It is anticipated Council and County Commission will act on the plan in the coming weeks.

Posted 10-25-2011, written by Mike Carberry