Forest Hills Must Die

180px-opus_blue.jpg  (Read Disclaimer at end)  It was bad enough that Forest Hills forced our church to move when it would not allow us to tastefully expand our building.  A church that had been located on that land longer than the city had been in existence and had assembled in the immediate vicinity for worship for nearly 75 years.  But now that we have moved, it is reprehensible that new ordinances, specifically tailored to be detrimental to the sale of the land, have been passed by the city.  For those that don’t know, the Forest Hills Commission has stated that 1.) if our church sells our land that it can not be used as an educational facility on anything less than 20 acres (we own 16 acres) and 2.) if more than 50% of the building were destroyed (by fire) it could not be re-built.  Both of these ordinances were specifically created to force our church to sell to a residential real estate developer.  The end result is the “might-as-well-call-it” theft of well over $1 million from our church.

Now, our church is not perfect.  Sure, we probably are wasteful with the resources we have in some manner or other.  But, the many things which have come into existence and been maintained through the years that are vital to the well-being of the Nashville community because of the existence of this one church is staggering when you sit back to look at it.  For example, that ill-gotten $1 million would go a long way to building a second Wayne Reed center in the Thompson Lane-Nolensville Road area.

In my opinion, Forest Hills is nothing more than a glorified neighborhood association with a singular purpose to improve property values for the residents of Forest Hills.  While I would love to spend lots of time researching exactly how this “city within a city” concept works, I really don’t have the time to dig into it for this post.  Believe me, I will find the information at some point.

To the government of Forest Hills, you have made a weak, powerless, ignorant enemy in me who has no standing whatsoever to sue.  I don’t know how or when, but with all that I am I will see the end of the existence of Forest Hills as a legal city.

Disclaimer:  My views do not necessarily represent those of my church and I have no authority whatsoever to speak for my church.  I am sure if they knew I was writing this they would gently ask me to shut up.  This is just the opinion of this disgruntled and determined libertarian to bring to justice the to-be-determined illegal authority of a to-be-made fake city and is not related in any way to what my church may be doing about this issue.

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7 Comments

Filed under by DB, Politics, Rant

7 responses to “Forest Hills Must Die

  1. Pop C

    Boy, talk about taking on City Hall…
    Good luck!

  2. Forest Hills’ biggest fear is that whatever is on that property would turn into another Bethel World Outreach Church. If they could have prevented that expansion from happening, they would have. I think your characterization of them as “a glorified neighborhood association with a singular purpose to improve property values for the residents of Forest Hills” is dead on, but not completely unreasonable for them to pursue. Sure, it sucks for our church. A lot. But it is understandable.

  3. Thanks Pop and Bob for your encouragement. Bob, can’t wait to see you with that ponytail, I will definitely be on that tour.

    Yeah Phil, I know they are scared of a Bethel and our original plans including an amphitheater didn’t help anything. That doesn’t change the fact that the city of Forest Hills is superfluous. There is a minimum level of services that are to be provided by any and all incorporated cities within Tennessee. See here from Tennessee Code (T.A.C. 6-18-103) for incorporation of a city: “The plan of services shall include, but not be limited to, police protection, fire protection, water service, sanitary sewage system, solid waste disposal, road and street construction and repair, recreational facilities, a proposed five-year operational budget, including projected revenues and expenditures, and the revenue from purely local sources to be payable annually”. Forest Hills provides NONE of those minimum services that a city is supposed to provide under Tennessee law. The residents of Forest Hills pay property tax to the Metro Nashville-Davidson County government under the General Services District (GSD) tax rate for such services which are ALL provided by the Metro Nashville-Davidson County government, not Forest Hills.
    Now, whether the Metro charter clears some of this up, I do not know, I am still reading Tennessee codes and the metro charter to figure that out. You would think someone would have challenged this in 44 years if there were something amiss, so I am not terribly hopeful.

  4. You know me and my view of governments regulatory power. I say fight the power with bad PR. The normal politician hates the light and will withdraw if the spotlight is directed their way.

  5. Nomen Nescio

    The end result is the “might-as-well-call-it” theft of well over $1 million from our church.

    well, hells, if the church’s been standing there for three-quarters of a century, you should’ve been able to save up a million or so in property taxes you most likely haven’t had to be paying, possibly even before figuring in compound interest.

    just sayin’.

  6. Anon,

    Your comment misses the point, although I will address it. Our society has chosen to not tax churches. If that is something that, as a society, we think is “unfair” or somehow violates our societal principles, then it needs to be changed. However, until that time, your point is just moot.

    Not to mention your comment presumes that churches are themselves stealing by not paying property tax and are a net drain on society due to that fact. This is a “zero sum” view of economics and entirely inaccurate. Churches, on the whole, provide services to society that government does not have to provide. For example, housing and feeding homeless, care and education of poor young children, housing, food, clothing, for “underprivileged”, etc. that would otherwise be a drain on government services. At the bargain price of an estimated $5-10k in property tax breaks, the community receives benefits 10-100 times greater that would otherwise be picked up by taxpayers.

    The point of this post was to point out that a city of dubious authority, that collects no property tax mind you, has chosen to target the four churches within its boundaries with burdens it does not apply to the residential properties within its boundaries. That is an uneven application of its authority and illegal.

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