Planning director to oversee update to 25-year growth, development plan

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 5:44pm
Staff reports

Before Rick Bernhardt retires from 42 years in the planning and land use field, he’ll oversee an update of the 25-year plan for the growth and development of Nashville, according to the mayor’s office.

On Wednesday, the Metro Planning Commission’s Executive Committee renewed Bernhardt’s contract as planning director, allowing him to focus on the Nashville General Plan, which was developed in 1992 as “Concept 2010.”

Bernhardt will serve as project manager in charge of the General Plan. In addition, Metro attorney Doug Sloan, who has served as the planning department’s legal advisor, will move to the department and to assist with day-to-day management.

“Rick has extensive experience at all levels of planning and has our city’s best interest at heart when it comes to land use,” said Mayor Karl Dean. “Updating the Nashville General Plan is critical to providing a strategic path for our city and identifying ways for our community to grow and prosper while preserving the natural and cultural features that make Nashville special.

Bernhardt plans to retire when the project concludes. The new General Plan is expected to be completed in three years.

“Bringing the General Plan up to date is important to the Planning Commission as we look to how Nashville will develop in the future,” said Jim McLean, chairman of the planning commission. “When Rick informed us of his plans to retire, we felt his expertise and institutional knowledge was crucial in developing our next General Plan. Also, by assigning the task in-house, we avoid spending taxpayer funds to hire a contractor to do the work.”

According to a spokeswoman in the mayor’s office, the General Plan will include community input the goal of developing a citywide vision to support economic development; expand education, housing and employment opportunities for residents; expand the application of environmentally sound and sustainable development practices; and increase neighborhood livability.