The Metro Planning Department plans to unveil its “Plan B” Metro Council map Monday morning after the first stab at redistricting earlier this week was met with some criticism.
“Rest assured that we are very aware of the issues [major and minor] that have been raised so far and are working through the weekend on the next plan,” department Executive Director Rick Bernhardt wrote in a letter Friday morning.
The department will post the revamped map Monday on its website. A “Plan C” will follow on Wednesday.
Throughout the expedited redistricting process, Bernhardt has said the council lines would evolve after receiving community feedback. Some citizens and council members have raised issue with the notion the council lines released Wednesday split up some neighborhoods.
A few issues include: The Nations neighborhood in West Nashville is split into different districts. The Vanderbilt/Belmont neighborhood is divided. Inglewood in East Nashville doesn’t have its own district. And, neighbors who live near the 117-acre state fairgrounds — vocal during the ongoing fairgrounds debate — are in a different district than the fairgrounds itself.
A few incumbent council members — including Karen Bennett, Erica Gilmore and Anna Page — would also lose a substantial number of their current constituent base and enter new political terrain with the new lines. But Bernhardt has said his department isn’t taking into consideration the addresses of sitting council members.
Using 2010 U.S. Census Bureau figures released last week, Metro officials are hoping to complete the redistricting process next month. Candidates have until May 19 to qualify for the Aug. 4 election.
The ongoing fast-tracked redistricting of the council’s 35 districts came after attorney George Barrett threatened suit if the city were to not complete the process before the upcoming election. Of the complaints about splitting up neighborhoods, Barrett said people vote, not neighborhoods.
“A neighborhood doesn’t have a right to vote,” Barrett said. “They aren’t people. People are the ones who vote. That’s what you have to count — not neighborhoods.”
Redistricting workshops are set for Monday, March 28, and Wednesday, March 30. The Metro Planning Commission is likely to vote on the new council lines March 31. If approved, the new map would then head to the council, likely to fast-track the process, for final approval.