Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Take This Bible Park And Shove It

Turns out, the early news reports were wrong. The Rutherford County, Tennessee Planning Commission voted 8-7 to deny a rezoning request to allow the development of Bible Park USA. They were likely responding to local pressure from residents concerned about traffic, light, and noise. For example:

County Commissioner Steve Sandlin moved to deny the park.

Sandlin based his motion on lack of TDOT approval of the access road, bridge and tunnel; a belief that the park does not conform with the Blackman Land Use Plan; and most importantly, because the park would affect the character of the neighborhood in a negative way.

His last point was the park is at odds with the regulations for a Conditional Use Permit, which requires developments to not have a substantial effect on the value of the neighboring buildings or have a negative effect on the basic character of the neighborhood.

Fine by me. They might want to consider, as well, though, the legal costs that they're going to face, without a doubt, if they go ahead with this obvious violation of the First Amendment. Is that a good use of tax dollars?

The next step: The zoning plan will go before the Rutherford County Commission, which has final say in the zoning, on May 15.

The real First Amendment problems arise from the tax dollars that will be used to build this humiliating abomination.

In a separate process, the park's developers are seeking $27.9 million in property tax revenues in tax-increment financing (TIF) from an area around the park.

Under the TIF, the local government would authorize the sale of bonds to help pay for the park. The increased property tax revenues generated because of the value of the land of the Bible Park USA and inside an impact zone around the park would go toward the park's debt.

That financing plan is set to go before the Rutherford County Budget Committee on May 8, and will likely be considered by the Rutherford County Commission on May 15.

The developers are also likely to seek a second TIF, which would capture some sales tax from the area as well as a luxury tax on sales in the park to help pay for the development. No proposal on that TIF has been submitted to the county yet.

And, of course, in 2006, the county was successfully sued by the ACLU for posting the Ten Commandments in the Rutherford County Courthouse as part of a historical display, and made to pay legal fees of $50,000.

Contact decision-makers here. No Pagans at all in Tennessee to stand up against this nonsense?


xan said...

Well, given that this is TN I'm actually just amazed and gratified enough that the thing was turned down no matter what the reason. This is a clear attempt to take a law/set of policies intended to promote growth and development (the existence of which in itself should be reconsidered as we go to steady-state economy) and use it for a venture which would promote a particular religion.

Looks like the zoners did a bang-up job, denying this strictly on secular grounds. Telling them to go feed the poor rather than fleece the ignorant would have left the board open to whines, er charges, of "discrimination."

Your gov in VA on the other hand rocks too. $5 mil for Civil War battlefield preservation? Good gov! Give that Kaine some candy. :)

btw I got "cursed in the name of Jesus" today. In just those words. I am so proud I can hardly speak. Had nothing to do with Wicca, alas, but still. ;)

Anonymous said...


Yes, there are many{pagans} ("We are everywhere...") in TN, but many of them are somewhat apathitic. Remember we have many churches, almost every corner. We have people who wander our neighborhoods weekly 'spreading the word'. We have a 'creationalist mueseum' just a few miles to our North. We are home to the Southern Baptist Convention. On I could go.

So, what is somemore christian stuff??

Sad I know, but still a lot the is quite outnumbered and quite repressed. You still must be quite careful before throwing around words like 'pagan' or 'witch' in public. [at minimum be prepared to have a rock 'accidently' smash a window :-)] [I know 3 cases personally]

So some times you choose your battles and hide motives :-). Let the other citizienry fight this one.

{Me, not a 'pagan', I do my own thing, but find I most often 'fall in with the pagans' because our beliefs are quite compatiable. Know many including my wife, best friend, and former neighbor}

{first time writer, long time reader}

-live in Nashville, TN area, 35 minutes from 'proposed site' of 'park'.

Anonymous said...

So glad Wilson County will house the park and that it WILL still happen and that you whiny people in Rutherford County can no longer spoil it for the rest of Nashville.