About SPNA

The Sylvan Park Neighborhood Association (SPNA) is the collective community voice for addressing neighborhood issues such as zoning, security, beautification, traffic, metropolitan services, and environment.

SPNA members meet on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Senior Renaissance Center of Cohn Adult Learning Center at 4805 Park Avenue.

About Sylvan Park

Welcome to Sylvan Park! We hope you love this neighborhood as much as we do. Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for newcomers to learn more.

Friday, October 09, 2009

SPNA members to vote on new by-laws at meeting Monday (Oct. 12)

SPNA members will decide whether to adopt new by-laws at the upcoming membership meeting on Monday, October 12, at 7 p.m. The revised by-laws are intended to replace the existing by-laws and better conform to the standards for non-profit organizations that are required by Tennessee state law.

The meeting will be held in the basement of the Cohn Adult Learning Center at the intersection of 48th and Park Avenues. Please make plans to attend this important event.


  1. Beth Kindig10:09 PM

    Unfortunately, I think that people underestimated the importance of this meeting. Only 25 people showed up to vote on the new by-laws, which passed by a few votes.

    As I understand it (and please correct me if I'm wrong), what this means is...

    You will only be allowed to vote at the Dec. meeting. That vote is for up to 21 members for a Board of Directors.

    This Board will hold monthly meetings which are open to the members of the association unless closed for a specific business purpose.

    SPNA membership will be allowed to propose amendments to the by-laws at this Dec. meeting.

    As we learned at the meeting last night, it might be advisable to consult with a lawyer on the verbage that you submit. One member who submitted an amendment meant to change one sentence. Being a layperson, she inadvertently changed the meaning of other sentences in that section. She was unable to make any changes at the meeting.

    Her amendment failed and the by-law that withholds voting rights for 30 days after a new member joins still stands.

    I know the committee that wrote the new by-laws worked very hard on this, but I feel that an information session would have been in order since most of the SPNA membership rarely, if ever deals with neighborhood association models, by-laws and amendments.

    It was suggested several times at the meeting to slow the process down, but apparently after almost 20 yrs. we've discovered that we're not in compliance with state law or protected from liability. The people in attendance were told by John Summers that if we didn't pass the by-laws last night, we were going to have to shut the whole Neighborhood Association down, split up the bank balance between the members and go home.

    We were also told that there are no legal Neighborhood Association models in TN, non-profit or otherwise, that involve the membership having the right to vote on issues (as opposed to a Board).

    In all honesty, the 20 people that usually show up at SPNA meetings have been making the decisions for years.

    Obviously, the part where it gets tricky for our neighborhood is the (dreaded) conservation overlay issue. I think it's pretty safe to say that this divisive issue will be back on the table before too long and this time, unless you're on the Board, you won't get a vote.

  2. Beth, thank you for taking time to comment. This has been a challenging process, and the law is proving quite tough for most of us (including me) to understand.

    I think it will be important for all of us who care about SPNA to keep talking about these new by-laws and how and whether we amend them further to deal with the concerns have been raised.