An area quick-cash business has filed suit against Metro over zoning regulations that would prevent the company from opening a new store on Gallatin Pike in East Nashville.
Tennessee Quick Cash Inc. already operates one of its stores out of a building at 3225 Gallatin Pike. But plaintiffs Conoly Brown and David Hood are suing Metro because a set of recently adopted zoning guidelines prevent the company from using property just down the road at 3100 Gallatin for similar purposes.
At issue in the suit, filed in June in Davidson County Circuit Court, is the Gallatin Pike Specific Plan. Approved by the Metro Council in 2007, the urban-inspired zoning restrictions require future development along the road to abide by new landscaping, signage and street setback standards, while limiting future uses. Among future uses that are not allowed are check cashing, title loan and cash advance businesses.
Under the law, existing non-conforming businesses are grandfathered in and can continue to operate as they have. New development, however, must be built and operate in accordance with the Gallatin Pike Specific Plan –– hence, a new Tennessee Quick Cash store providing title loans along the corridor would not be allowed.
Plaintiffs have sued Metro in hopes that the Gallatin Pike Specific Plan will be “declared null and void.”
“There is no meaningful distinction between the operation of a bank, which is allowed in the district as a financial institution use, and plaintiffs’ current business operation of check cashing and check advances and his intended business of title loans,” the suit reads. “The only distinction that appears from these ordinances is their sponsors ‘perception’ that customers of the latter type businesses are ‘less desirable’ than bank customers and therefore should not be provided these financial services in their neighborhood.”
This isn’t the first time the disputed zoning restrictions have been under assault. The suit adds a new dimension to an ongoing battle waged behind the scenes by developers and publicly by Metro Councilman Jamie Hollin, who has called the Gallatin Pike SP a hindrance to future development in the area.
Hollin, elected to the council in November, has filed a bill that would exempt his East Nashville district from the zoning guidelines.
“It raises some interesting questions,” Hollin said of the suit. “Some of the same ones I’ve been asking.”