Court of Appeals reverses decision on East Nashville waste transfer station

Monday, April 1, 2013 at 1:34pm

A contentious proposal for a waste transfer station in East Nashville could be back on the board following the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruling to set aside a Metro Council decision, stating that the council didn’t “conduct its meetings pursuant to the proper legal standards.”

Waste Connections Inc. applied for several zoning variances and a special zoning exception to make a waste transfer station out of a vacant 100,000-square-foot warehouse at 1000 Apex St. in the Cleveland Park neighborhood. The Metro Council disapproved the land use by a 37-1 vote, citing strong public opposition.

Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy also tossed out an appeal by Waste Connections in October 2012.

But the Court of Appeals reversed the Chancery Court dismissal of the Waste Connections appeal and remanded the application to the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals for a final decision. The opinion claims that the Council, while acting as an administrative board, based their disapproval solely on public opinion, which they claim is an “inadequate” reason under Metro Code.

The Court of Appeals pointed out that Metro didn’t consider any of the technical aspects of the applications, like street setbacks or other standards. Metro argued that they did consider two committee reports from Public Works and Planning and Zoning committees which both unanimously recommended to disapprove the waste transfer use.

But the Court of Appeals contends that there was no discussion about those contents of those reports and that the Council decision was “arbitrary and capricious.”

“We respect the Council’s concerns for the residents who logically opposed the location of the waste transfer station and empathize with the residents,” stated the opinion, delivered by Frank G. Clement Jr.

“However, the Council is required by its own ordinances to make its decisions based upon the factors and criteria set forth in the Metro Code... and to provide an administrative record that contains substantial and material evidence that supports its decision.”

Metro attorney Lora Fox said the Department of Law is reviewing the court opinion to see if there are any criteria for an appeal. Attorneys for Waste Connection Inc. didn’t return calls on Monday morning.

But questions still remain about the future of the 1000 Apex St. site.

Waste Connections never owned the land and Nashville Inner City Ministry, a nonprofit organization, purchased the property for $2.9 million on March 14.

NICM board chairman Buck Dozier, who is also chair of the Metro fair board, told The City Paper that he wasn’t aware of Waste Connections lawsuit prior to purchasing the property. However, Waste Connections has approached him about leasing the site, he said.

4 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 4/1/13 at 3:53

If it is nasty, it comes to East Nashviille. I think not.

By: Ask01 on 4/2/13 at 5:28

Metro Council finally listens to the public and the decision is reversed.

What's even scarier is the revelation that according to Metro Code, public opinion is an "inadequate" reason upon which to base a decision. Perhaps the voters should change that when they change the entire council.

By: Kosh III on 4/2/13 at 6:26

I'm sure that if this had been in Clement's neighborhood the resident's opposition would have been the only criterion.

By: JeffF on 4/2/13 at 8:38

Ask, honestly, when it comes to private property rights it should take a little more than public opinion to block fair use. Zoning and planning are supposed to be apolitical processes and nothing is more political than the use of public opinion for individual decisions. The court's (another supposed apolitical operation) hands were tied because of a failure by Metro to document non-political reasons for it's decision.