Mar 27, 2023 - News

Planning seeks feedback on new Metro Council maps

An animation of two potential council maps. Images: courtesy of the Metro Planning Department

The Metro Planning Department has provided a preview of how Nashville could cut its 40-member council in half to comply with a new state law.

  • The department released two preliminary district maps Friday. They will be taking public feedback online and in person at four locations this week.

Details: A state law enacted this month requires officials to reduce the Metro Council from its current size of 40 members to no more than 20. The city is trying to have it struck down in court.

  • In the meantime, the law requires planners to begin drawing new maps on an expedited timeline.

State of play: Planners prepared maps outlining two possibilities. One would divide Davidson County into 15 districts with five seats set aside for at-large council members. The other would split the city into 17 districts with three at-large council members.

Zoom in: Interactive street-level maps are posted online.

What they're saying: "We anticipate that these maps might not be well received by members of council or the public at large given the scope of change and the manner that that change is occurring," planning department executive director Lucy Kempf told reporters.

  • "But we as a department are dedicated to approaching our responsibility under the law with professionalism and openness."

Of note: If the council does not approve a new map before May 1, and if the lawsuit to strike down the state law fails, members' terms would be extended for one year. Under that scenario, the council election would be delayed until August 2024.

What's next: Planning officials plan to incorporate changes based on public feedback into upcoming drafts. A final map will need to be approved by the council.

  • There will be a public hearing at the April 4 council meeting on legislation from Councilmember Courtney Johnston to begin implementing the state law.

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