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Neighbors won't get chance to attend public meeting due to COVID-19

Posted at 9:32 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 23:40:03-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted everything from schools, to festivals, to how local government operates, and some people in East Nashville say that will prevent them from being able to fight a proposed development in their neighborhood.

People who live along Ivy Drive in Inglewood say they love the area because it is beautiful and peaceful. It is common to see wild turkeys walk down the street and deer in driveways.

They were upset to learn a developer planned to build 32 homes on a 9 acre property at the end of the street. Two homes currently sit on the site now.
"It's devastating to think of that going in here," said Robbie Lynn Hunsinger, who has lived on the street since 2007. "We are really concerned about the density and we are sure this level of density doesn't belong here."

Hunsinger said the development could bring flooding issues to the area and impact trees and wildlife. Neighbors reached out to their Metro Council member with their concerns and put signs in their yards opposing the plan.

When they learned the proposal was set to go before the Metro Planning Commission in April, they were anxious to fill the room with people who could speak out against the plan. However, now that the meeting is online, due to social distancing requirements, they won't be allowed to attend in person.

"We have over 150 people who want to speak on this, and we can't do that in a virtual meeting," said Hunsinger. "We want to pack the room and get our two minutes."

Hunsinger said neighbors believe the issue should be delayed until after the COVID-19 crisis is over, so they would have a chance to attend the meeting in person.

Michael Kenner, CEO of MiKen Development, said he has hosted multiple community meetings on the proposed Ivy Drive development in an effort to accommodate neighbors' concerns.

"We have reworked our site plan after hearing several comments from neighbors who have been proactive," said Kenner. "We have taken a lot of their feedback."

Kenner said the plan now features 30 homes and two acres of community space that can be used by anyone on Ivy Drive. He vowed not to touch the stream on the property and keep as many trees as possible. For any tree that is torn down, two additional trees will be planted.

He also said he proposed a community benefit agreement which would add a stop sign and $50,000 in sidewalks to the neighborhood. He believed this agreement was the first of its kind in a residential neighborhood in Nashville.

"I really want to go in and try and make neighborhoods happy," said Kenner. "I think whatever I put on the table in this development, it would be hard to make the majority of individuals happy."

Kenner said he worked to push discussion on the plans back an additional 2 weeks, to Metro Planning Commission meeting on April 23. He said this would allow neighbors more time to submit comments and concerns via email.

However, neighbors said they want to be there in person.

"It is our right to show up," said Hunsinger.

For more information on the efforts to save Ivy Drive visit: http://www.saveivydrive.org/

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.