ORDINANCE NO. BL2017-687

An ordinance amending Chapter 13.26 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws establishing a process and procedure for naming public buildings, structures and spaces of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

WHEREAS, The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, in furtherance of rendering services to its citizens, has erected, maintains, and owns numerous public buildings and structures throughout Davidson County; and

WHEREAS, under the current Metropolitan Code of Nashville and Davidson County, public buildings and structures can be named in honor of individuals with no consideration of public input, with no formal process or criteria, and no consideration of historic perspectives; and

WHEREAS, without a formal process in place, assigning eponymous names to public buildings and structures can create unintended consequences, including recrimination among those who believe another individual is more deserving; evolving reputations of previously honored individuals; and the appearance of impropriety or political favoritism when other elected officials and appointees are honored; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council is mindful that names affixed to public buildings, structures and spaces are generally permanent and remain for generations to come. Therefore the process of selecting a name should include careful deliberation, public input, and due consideration; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council is likewise desirous of encouraging philanthropic donations of land and money by naming public buildings, structures and spaces in honor of such donors; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council desires to establish a more formalized process which is administered by an independent body less susceptible to political pressure and the potential appearance of impropriety; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council seeks the input of the public in naming the public buildings, structures and spaces acquired, developed, and/or maintained with public funds.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:

Section 1. That Chapter 13.26 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws be and the same is hereby repealed in its entirety.

Section 2. That Title 13 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws be and the same is hereby amended by adding the following new Chapter 13.26, Naming of Public Structures and Places:

13.26.010 Definitions.

 

For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

"Public buildings, structures or spaces" include all buildings, locations, facilities and natural features owned exclusively by the public through the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

13.26.020 Requirements for the naming of public buildings, structures or spaces.

 

The naming of public buildings, structures or spaces shall be done within the following limitations:

  1. No public building, structure or space may be named in honor of any living person, and a waiting period of two (2) years shall pass before naming a public building, structure or space after a person who is deceased.                                                  
  2. The foregoing provision prohibiting the naming of a public building, structure or space after living persons shall not apply to:
  3. Persons who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to Nashville and Davidson County’s history and culture through deeds, words or inspiration and therefore deserve a high and enduring honor, or
  4. Persons who have contributed significantly to a specific public building, structure or space or the immediate surrounding area through the contribution of land, money, or other resources, provided that the donor stipulates in writing the naming of the building,  structure or space as a condition of his or her contribution
  5. In no event shall a public building, structure or space be named in honor of an elected or appointed public official or public employee until such time as that individual ceases to be an elected or appointed public official or public employee.
  6. Public buildings, structures or spaces shall only be named after current or former Nashville and Davidson County residents.

13.26.030 Naming authority and procedure.

 

The naming of public buildings, structures and spaces shall be administered by the Metropolitan Historical Commission of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County, pursuant to the following provisions:

A) Requests to name any public building, structure or space shall be submitted for consideration to the Metropolitan Historical Commission  in writing within such time as directed by the policies and procedures enacted by the Metropolitan Historical Commission.

B) The Metropolitan Historical Commission shall establish a formal procedure for the naming of public buildings, structures and spaces and shall publish and maintain such procedure in its publicized policies and on the website maintained by The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

C) Included within these formal procedures shall be a specific mechanism for soliciting and measuring public input regarding the naming of public buildings, structures and spaces.

D) In determining the most appropriate name for a public structure or place, the Metropolitan Historical Commission shall consider the following criteria:

(1) The articulated preference of the public, particularly from those residents in the immediate area surrounding or adjacent to the public building, structure or space;

(2) Natural or geographic references;

(3) Historic and cultural significance;

(4) Civic values or principles which may be embodied by or within the building, structure or space;

(5) Common or colloquial names which, though unofficial, have previously been applied to the building, structure or space by the public; and

(6) The avoidance of duplication, confusion, or similarity through consideration of existing building, structure and place names.

E) Upon determining an appropriate name for a public building, structure or space, the Metropolitan Historical Commission shall forward its recommendation to the Metropolitan Council, together with any available historical or other supportive information justifying the recommendation.

F) The Metropolitan Council shall subsequently approve the naming recommendation of the Metropolitan Historical Commission by resolution receiving twenty-one affirmative votes. If the naming recommendation is approved, the name shall be implemented upon the public building, structure or space through the appropriate departments and/or agencies of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County.

G) Notwithstanding section 13.26.040, the Metropolitan Council may vote to remove a name from any public building, structure or space by adopting a resolution receiving twenty-one affirmative votes.

13.26.040 Inapplicability.

 

The provisions of this ordinance shall not apply to the application of names to trees, refuse cans, flagpoles, water fountains, or similar items of comparative insignificance; nor shall these provisions apply to the Metropolitan Board of Parks & Recreation or to the Metropolitan Board of Education.

 

13.26.050 Severability.

 

If any subdivision, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence or clause of this chapter is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such determination shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter.

Section 2. That this ordinance shall take effect from and after its enactment, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.       

Sponsored by: Jeremy Elrod, Sheri Weiner, Sharon Hurt

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Introduced: April 18, 2017
Passed First Reading: April 18, 2017
Referred to: Planning, Zoning & Historical Committee
Public Works Committee
Deferred to June 6, 2017: May 2, 2017
Deferred to August 1, 2017: June 6, 2017
Deferred Indefinitely: August 1, 2017
Passed Second Reading:  
Passed Third Reading:  
Approved:  
By:  
Next Consideration: Deferred Indefinitely

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