EAST NASHVILLIAN OF THE YEAR – Brett Withers
On a chilly December night, Brett Withers stands in front of the last Eastwood Neighbors meeting of the year, his last as president of the neighborhood association. “It’s time for this benevolent dictatorship to come to an end,” he joked, noting that he had served as president for five years, exceeding the technical term limit of the position by two years. Not that anyone at the meeting was complaining. Instead, the two dozen or so neighbors present gave Withers a round of applause and thanked him for his service.
For the past five years, and during 2014 in particular, Withers has provided invaluable leadership to Eastwood Neighbors, and all of East Nashville, as it adjusts to the growing pains of rapid redevelopment. Where some people might see a problem, sigh, and say, “Oh well,” Withers is the guy who is already figuring out the solution. Deeply concerned about protecting the historic character of the neighborhood, and dismayed by the recent spate of poorly designed tall-skinny umbilical-cord duplexes crammed on postage-sized lots, he decided to do something about it.
First, Withers guided the effort to expand the Conservation Zoning Overlay District in Eastwood Neighbors, and then he worked closely with Lockeland Springs to expand theirs.