Thursday, October 23, 2008

Habitat protestors make good point in showdown over big development in north Nashville

The Metro Planning Commission took the right step today in approving a controversial Habitat for Humanity development in north Nashville.

But the vote should not be recognized as a victory for affordable housing and the poor. A big development crammed into existing neighborhoods and impacting the quality of life is not right when so many other areas of Nashville without many minority residents could be home to the working poor.

Metro would have been successfully sued for denying the application. It just got sacked with a judgment for denying the location of a rehab center for people recovering from substance abuse.

But Metro Councilman Michael Craddock said he was shocked by the lack of cooperation from Habitat officials in trying to resolve issues with protesting neighbors in this predominantly African-American area.

Residents rightly protested the potential increase in congestion and crime with a development that could increase to more than 300 homes. And they rightly cited discrimination, that their area always is the only place to locate these developments.

If they are so right for a city of believers, then why won't other areas of Nashville welcome them?

We know why. It's the same reason landfills are located in areas predominated by minorities. It's the same reason why the quality of water and the environment are always compromised.

Residents may have lost tonight. But they made an important point to a supposedly progressive city and its leaders. Things must change, and minority homeowners and taxpayers must no longer bear the sole burden for those most in need.

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