Thursday's meeting of the Murfreesboro City Council included a lengthy public hearing concerning a proposed Greenways, Blueways and Bikeways Master Plan.
City Planner Joseph Aydelott presented the plan to the council, and noted the lengthy process that led up to it.
More than two years in the making, the plan outlines goals and guidelines for more than 65 miles of proposed Greenways and bike lanes throughout the county, including significant portions in Smyrna.
It is part of a larger plan for linked areas of green space and recreation throughout Nashville's metropolitan area, which extends well beyond the borders of Davidson County, and will require future funding estimated at more than $100 million over the course of 25 years to complete.
Jake Robinson, husband of County Register of Deeds Heather Dawbarn, was the first to address the council during the public hearing, and his opposition to the plan with a 28-minute slide presentation.
Robinson gave a similar presentation before the County Commission during last year's debate over a proposed Comprehensive Zoning Plan, which he asserted was driven by the United Nations' desire to limit property rights of landowners throughout the world with something called "Agenda 21."
He did not make such assertions during the public hearing, but later made similar accusations in a subsequent phone interview.
"I didn't include all that stuff because of the kook factor, but I am most concerned with the economic impact of spending millions of dollars on the utopian dream of a few individuals who want to see us all give up our cars and start walking and biking to prevent global warming," he said, noting Councilman Ron Washington did in fact mention "getting away from cars" during his comments on the proposal.
"If the city council wants to promote healthy living and exercise, then why not build more tennis courts, racquet ball courts and swimming pools, because all of those sports have become much more popular than biking," he added.
When asked whether he had voiced his concerns during four previous public hearings before the Greenway Commission, Planning Commission, or Parks & Recreation Committee, he said he had not.
"I missed the one in January because of a family emergency," he said. "And, quite honestly, I didn't know about the others even though they say they put it in the newspaper."
"Not everybody reads the Daily News Journal," he said. "Its just a biased newspaper that caters only to those who support spending other people's money."
Councilman Eddie Smotherman echoed Robinson's concerns, and said he was worried about the long-term fiscal impact of funding the plan.
Councilman Doug Young then noted that approving the plan would not commit the city to any fiscal responsibility.
"It's just a set of long term goals to go by as our city grows," Young said. "It reflects the direction our citizens want to go as we move forward, and it is better to have long term plans than to do these things piecemeal as we have in he past."
On a motion by Young to approve the plan as presented, which was seconded by Washington, the council approved the proposal by a 4-3 vote, with Smotherman, Councilman Toby Gilley, and Councilwoman Madelyn Scales-Harris voting in the negative.