East Nashville Metro Councilman Erik Cole weighed in on the May Town Center proposal on Thursday, cautioning that the potential failure of the proposed development would leave Nashville with “an environmental blemish.”
Cole joined the ranks of other Metro Council members to have weighed in on the $4 billion May Town Center proposal for rural Bells Bend.
In his letter to the Planning Commission, which Cole posted on his Facebook page, he painted the picture of May Town Center as a risk, which could have a long-term negative impact.
“And if it fails, it leaves behind a string of massive infrastructure ‘improvements that really benefit no one as well as an environmental blemish or scar situated between two of our greatest park assets,” Cole’s letter stated.
The public hearing for the May Town Center proposal continues this afternoon. The entire Cole letter is pasted below.
Planning Commission Members:
Thank you to each of you for your diligent work on the Bells Bend/Maytown proposal. I know, for each of you, this has been a long and arduous process, and it likely does not end today.
I am writing to simply explain why I will be voting no once this proposal comes to the Council. To me, I cannot get comfortable with a change of this magnitude to the subarea plan of this part of the county. Particularly, it concerns me that this IS one of the last rural and relatively undisturbed portions of the County.
When compared to past large-scale developments (Metro Center, the Gaylord properties, Nashville West, etc.) there is a greater level of risk in this idea than those projects. The uncertainty of the corporate headquarters climate coupled with the lack of transportation access and existing markets make this a proposal that is almost entirely built on future speculation.
In these other cases, existing markets, population, or under-utilized (or even brownfield) property contributed to the eventual success of each development. These developments may have been altered or changed over time to reflect market forces, but their locations allowed for them to succeed once they were altered. With Bells Bend, there is no safety net, no flexibility. Either this proposal flies as it is designed or it fails. And if it fails, it leaves behind a string of massive infrastructure “improvements” that really benefit no one as well as an environmental blemish or scar situated between two of our greatest park assets.
This proposal may have merit and it may succeed, if approved and developed as planned. However, if it doesn’t, and no one has been able to adequately disprove that possibility to me, we will pay the consequences for generations.
As always, I appreciate your service to Nashville and its residents.
- Erik Cole
7th District, Metro Council