The Nashville Homestead
Corporation transfers vacant residential lots owned by the Metropolitan
Government to individuals and families who agree to construct a house on the
property and live there for seven years.
The lots are given away through
drawing. Two drawings have been held to date, the first in November 1996 and the
second in April 1997, with 25 lots given away at each. Two weeks prior to the
drawing a list of the properties is sent to anyone who has placed their name on
the mailing list. This allows time for
people to inspect properties
that interest them. A list of the lots is also published in Nashville
newspapers. Lots are obtained from back-tax sales or purchased through the
Community Development Block Grant program. Most lots are located in older
established neighborhoods in the central city.
On sign-up day each prospective
homesteader must present a signed bid agreement that outlines the program
guidelines. This bid agreement is exchanged for a big card with three bid
tickets attached. Those three tickets may be placed in any of the 25 boxes
marked with individual property addresses. Bidders may put all three tickets in
one box or spread them out over two or three boxes. Approximately 300 households
participated in the first drawing. Twice that number participated in the second
A "first claim" name is drawn
for each of the 25 lots. The first claim winner has 90 days to arrange financing
to construct their new house. Construction must be completed within 12 months.
Two back-up claims are also drawn for each lot in case the first claim is not
able to use the lot. Local nonprofit agencies and the local housing authority
assist homesteaders with construction of the house and offer home ownership
classes and help in securing financing. Contractors, banks and nonprofit
agencies are allowed to set up exhibits at the sign-up site to distribute
brochures and information about the services and products they offer.
Once financing is obtained, the
Nashville Homestead Corporation must approve the design of the house and the
site plan. At the time the homesteader is ready to close a construction loan and
pull a building permit, the lot is transferred. The Nashville Homestead
Corporation holds a Second Deed of Trust on the property and a Promissory Note
for the value of the land. These are subordinate to the first mortgage. The Deed
of Trust and Promissory Note will be released after seven years. If the property
is sold before that time, or if the homesteader moves, the Promissory Note for
the value of the property must be paid.
Contact: Shannon Hunt, Office of the Mayor, (615) 862-6000
Loretta Owens, Nashville Homestead Corporation,
Nashville Environmental Task
The Environmental Task Force is
an innovative program that was pulled together by the Mayor to maximize
efficiency among the City's inspectors who enforce public safety. In April 1994,
the ETF began operation with inspectors from Codes, Health, Fire Marshall, and
with officers with the Police Department. The ETF targets businesses that
repeatedly violate local public safety codes and ordinances and works to have
those establishments either brought into compliance or shut down. Most of the
establishments are not open for business during the day and have been able to
escape the scrutiny of the City officials.
Many of the businesses are ones
that the inspectors would not feel comfortable entering alone . The ETF always
travels to targeted sites with police present for security. Having armed
officers for protection provides the members a work environment that is secure
in comparison to that of inspectors who are often at risk as they go about the
business of enforcing the City's codes.
The team goes out twice monthly
as a unit with each member carrying an ETF badge and wearing an identifying
windbreaker. Before going to a business, research is done by the Codes
Department to determine if its history justifies an inspection by the ETF. If a
business refuses to allow the members in, the ETF may not enter, as this would
require a warrant. Rarely does anyone refuse.
All work is coordinated by
Police Captain Danny Baker who must sign off on all targeted sites. The Legal
Department assisted in the group's formation and continues to have input
regarding the ETF's activity. Much care is taken to ensure that the members'
personal safety as well as personal liability is protected.
Members are paid either overtime
or comp time, as the inspections are always made after normal work hours. Many
of the original members are still active with the ETF, which enables the group
to work more efficiently. Each member has a working knowledge of the other
department's public safety rules and assists in identifying violations. If
criminal activity is suspected, Police officers respond. Citations issued by the
ETF are civil and criminal. If a member believes immediate action is needed
because of health, fire or any safety violation, a business can be shut down on
the spot. This has occurred on several occasions. When the owner complies, the
business can reopen. If, after being cited, a business fails to comply, the
owner is taken to Environmental Court. The members appear in court to testify if
Since the inception of the ETF,
over 1,000 citations and notices of abatement have been issued at over 175
establishments with 18 businesses choosing to close their doors rather than
comply. The goal of the ETF is not to shut a business down but to bring it into
compliance, providing a healthy and safe environment for the community.
Participation is on a voluntary
basis, requiring no additional employees. Transportation needs are met through a
surplus van that was refurbished by the Motor Pool. Members hold their meetings
in a fire hall that had been converted to office space. Computer equipment once
used by another department was given to the ETF. Other than jackets and badges,
the City did not purchase anything for the team. It has been a collaborative
effort and the pay-back is a safer City, increased morale among the team
members, maximized use of employee's time and the knowledge that those who
violate will have an increased chance of getting caught and being held
accountable. The Environmental Task Force is seen as a perfect example of
governmental agencies working together to achieve a common goal.
Contact: Jennifer Hill, Office of the Mayor, (615) 862
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