MEET THE CANDIDATE: Paul Webb
Current city commissioner and mayor Paul Webb has been a Brentwood resident for the past 30 years. His love of service and the community are two reasons he’s running for re-election this spring.
A Crossville, Tenn. native, Webb and his wife, Pat, moved to the Middle Tennessee area after both graduated from Tennessee Tech University with accounting degrees. His degree helps him better understand the financial needs for the city of Brentwood, he said.
“My No. 1 concern is that we don’t lose sight of what got us here,” Webb told BHP. “We’re a residential community and have had sound financial planning and it has helped us get through this recession.”
Webb, a former United States Air Force veteran, currently works as an administrator at Westminster Presbyterian Church. He previously served as treasurer for the City of Brentwood.
“I think the common thread about me is, in addition to my work, there is this public service and I’m trying to give back,” Webb said when listing his various involvements in the community.
|Brentwood City Commissioner candidate profile: Paul Webb|
He and his wife have three sons and a daughter-in-law and will be first-time grandparents later this year. Although Webb said he doesn’t have much time to read anymore, one of his favorite authors is Tony Hillerman.
“I think my favorite thing [about Brentwood] is that we’re a city that’s managed well,” Webb added. “Brentwood is a place that people want to move to, people still want to bring their business here and those are positives. And we are able, through good management, to provide the services people want.”
Brentwood Home Page asked each candidate for Brentwood Citiy Commission to answer the same four questions. These are Webb's responses.
Now that the “Streets of Brentwood” project has been pulled, please describe what you – as a citizen and as a city leader – would like to see developed on the former Murray of Ohio property.
I would like to see the Murray-Ohio property and the Tennessee Baptist Convention Center property combined so that the entire corner could be rebuilt as one project. If that does not happen, I am optimistic that a new, positive addition will occur on both of these sites.
My preference is for an office-retail combination. The current zoning is for offices but I would like to see some retail added into the mix so that local residents and those coming to work in Brentwood could shop at the stores and dine at the restaurants making it a successful project. I don’t see any residential units being built on this site.
I think our demographics of many people working in Brentwood during the workday but also our residents wanting to stay and purchase locally will make any venture on the site successful.
A movement is under way to readdress the city’s C-4/Town Center zoning, in particular in the 2010 revisions that included the opportunity for the Town Center district’s footprint to be expanded through rezoning. Please describe your thoughts on C-$ as it now stands and what impacts, positive and/or negative, potential revisions would have on future economic development of the city’s northern commercial zones.
The original C-4 zoning, referred to as Town Center zoning, basically covered an area from Old Hickory Boulevard on the north, I-65 to the east, East Park Drive to the west and Maryland Way/Church Street on the south. The intention was for this special zoning to allow for a “small town center” type of look and feel in Brentwood’s northern business district. The buildings would be closer to the street and would incorporate certain design elements that would enhance the area. There are three buildings built using the C-4 guidelines with another on Pewitt Drive just started. I think this goal of having a special zoning for the area is something we should keep even though it is taking longer than expected for the area to re-develop.
Properties in the area up to one-half mile south of the original C-4 overlay may request a rezoning to C-4. The positives of extending the area are to provide more options for owners in the business district, have a more pedestrian-friendly shopping/dining area and enhance the appearance of the area. My concern is that the residential units allowed in this area have overcome the commercial intent, which is why I voted against the Tapestry condominium rezoning. I suggest we eliminate any residential units in the “extended” C-4 area.
Brentwood is a city where businesses want to be located. The recovering economy will mean more businesses wanting a Brentwood location. Some may request a C-4 rezoning but it will go through the same scrutiny of any rezoning request. As the area is rebuilt or refreshed, I expect to see higher property values and increased activity from both the new businesses and the existing businesses. More retail sales and higher property values will generate more revenue for the city.
Brentwood has traditionally seen low voter turnout for municipal elections. How do you feel about maintaining Brentwood’s independent election versus incorporating it into a general election with other races?
We hold our city elections independent of other elections so that the local issues are highlighted and discussed. I think it is working well. If city elections were held at the same time as the statewide or national elections, the local issues would get lost. One option I am open to discussing is to combine our city elections with the county primary election. These are usually held in May of even numbered years. I think it is possible for our local issues to be heard if our city election is held at the same time as county primary election.
Traffic is a growing concern in all parts of the city. What is the city’s role in managing it?
We are continuing to improve our traffic management in the city. Brentwood has two employees that can repair and oversee our traffic signal operations with the capability of adjusting signal timing as traffic patterns change. The city is installing new technology, which will enhance our ability to monitor traffic signaling even better.
We are adding better communications to our traffic signals by adding more fiber optic cable in the city as part of our road improvement projects. Better communication between our electronic systems in the field as well as staff will help keep the traffic flowing better.
As a member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), I voted in favor of accepting a matching grant along with Nashville/Davidson County to conduct a joint traffic study of the Old Hickory Boulevard, Franklin Road, I-65 area. Our goal is to find better ways to move traffic in and out of this busy area as well as work to coordinate our traffic control systems so that they will work better together to help ease the traffic congestion in the area.