State Sen. Douglas Henry (D-Nashville) filed a bill with the state legislature Wednesday that he says would prevent the urbanization of rural Bells Bend — an area of the city where the $4 billion May Town Center proposal hangs in the balance.
The bill would create a Rural and Natural Resources Area to run from Beaman Park to the bottom of Bells Bend, Henry said. Development within that area would be limited to 10 acres per house or primary structure, Henry said. Plans for May Town Center called for 5,000 housing units ranging from garden homes to townhomes and mid-rise condos.
Henry’s bill comes while a zoning change that would allow a 500-acre development in rural Bells Bend remains deferred indefinitely by the Metro Planning Commission. In the meantime, traffic and economic impact studies are being conducted to study the effect the proposed May Town Center would have.
“The people in that affected area, 92 percent said they want this and it would say you couldn’t urbanize Bells Bend,” Henry said, adding that he doesn’t have a quarrel with the developers proposing the deal, the May family and Tony Giarratana.
“If I’m correct that 92 percent of the people want this arrangement, then my obligation is to proceed with that arrangement unless it mistreats somebody and I don’t think it would mistreat anybody. It doesn’t affect the value of the existing land out there. In fact, the report I have shows it increases the value.”
District 1 Metro Councilman Lonnell Matthews Jr. said he would have to see the bill and study its impact before he commented. Messages seeking comment from Giarratana were not immediately returned.