More May Town sparring at Planning meeting

Friday, May 29, 2009 at 12:27am
May Town Center - 07:08.jpg

The Metro Planning Commission's meeting Thursday night served as the scene for the latest round in the battle for the future of Bells Bend as the commissioners hosted a public meeting on May Town Center.

Featuring presentations by the development’s supporters and opponents, the meeting was largely an opportunity for those parties to reiterate the same points they've expressed all along — with one exception.

Following his endorsement of the project the previous day, Councilman Lonnell Matthews had his first opportunity last night to make public comments on May Town.

Acknowledging his initial suspicion of the project due to the unknown economic variables involved, Matthews said developers have answered his questions and that the economic benefits of the project will boost the future of the overall region.

“Nashville and the surrounding five-county region are posed to capture more corporate relocations which will bring high-paying jobs, higher tax revenue and increased private investment to the area,” Matthews said. “In order to compete … we must reposition ourselves and get back in the game.”

However, Matthews did say his support for May Town Center is “conditional.”

“I want the developers to know that they have a commitment to the city of Nashville to keep their promises.”

Among the opposition speakers, attorney David Briley made a case against the project with a reality check for Davidson County in terms of the feasibility of competing for the high-profile corporate tenants May Town looks to attract.

“Davidson County and Williamson County are not identical,” Briley said. “We wish, frankly, that we had the quality of schools that they have there. We don't. We wish we could keep the taxes as low as they have. We can't and we haven't. Those are competitive disadvantages for us when it comes to certain types of corporate relocations.”

Sumter Camp, an assistant federal defender and Bells Bend landowner, also spoke on behalf of the opposition. In favor of the project, Giarratana and members of his development team highlighted the plan's benefits to the community and region.

Matthews was not the only Metro Council member to speak, nor the only one to speak in favor of the project. Walter Hunt, Michael Craddock and Buddy Baker voiced their support for the project. On the flip side, Emily Evans, Jason Holleman and Mike Jameson all spoke against May Town.

The next public meeting in the May Town debate will take place June 3 at the Hermitage Police Precinct at 3701 James Kay Lane.

10 Comments on this post:

By: grapa on 5/29/09 at 8:10

Thank you Councilman Matthews for your support for My Town Center. Thank you for supporting the residents of the Bend who are in support of May Town Center.

At difficult times leaders are formed for being able to educate themselves on the matter at hand and make difficult and unpopular decisions. Our United States we live in would be quite different without such men.

First District Councilman matthews has the support of the residents of the Bend, thank you.

By: Demos on 5/29/09 at 8:56

Interesting hearing. Councilman Mathews very impressive remarks. Glad to hear more about the TSU role too.

Can't believe how negative some of the opponents were. And the Briley, Evans, Holleman seem so pessimistic about Nashville. Why so grim? Discouraging. And insulting to so many.

I like everything I've heard about his far. Nashville needs more of these businesess-- it's got to help our tax base-- which means helping our schools, etc.
I'm sick of Willamson County getting these companies. And I'm all for a research park.

By: girliegirl on 5/29/09 at 8:59

OH.... let me get this straight.... THOUSANDS of people will be laid off permanently just to the south of us (Saturn is being killed off by GM as of today) and you want to DEVELOP another area? You're going to have all those homes near Saturn sitting empty (there are already too many to count as of last week) and you're thinking what...?.... that someone will magically be able to sell down there, move to BB and just get through all this? This just doesn't make good economical sense....IMO. Shouldn't we wait to see if the economy CAN rebound, because it ain't smellin' too good right now.

By: grapa on 5/29/09 at 10:07

"If you are standing still, you are lcsing ground!"

"Trying to maintain our position in the economic world oly mans we are falling further behind."

The thousands or maybe millions of new residents to nashville in the next ten years will pay taxes, use city services, increase our emissions problems, and over-crowd our already over-crowded schools ither living in the Bend or else where. They have to be planned for, our unemployed workforce grows quickly!

By: NashvilleKnight on 5/29/09 at 11:04

Millions of new residents will NOT be moving to Nashville in the next ten years.
And thank you for stating that Councilman Matthews' decision was not the POPULAR decision. It is nice to see you admit that the MAJORITY of Bells Bend residents oppose the May Town Center. I am sure you know that the popular vote is the majority vote. We all know he only had support of SOME of the residents of the Bend, and SOME of those will be making quite a profit if this goes through.
Perhaps Briley, Evans and Holleman seem pessimistic to you because they are smart enough to realize that the plan has problems. They realize that the plan the people, as in 'We the People', of the Bend drafted has been hijacked by people who believe that whoever has the most land, or money, has more rights than everyone else. They realize that some members of the Planning Commission Staff and Commission aren't following the rules that govern them and are designed to protect the public from the sham that is the May Town Center.

By: gid on 5/29/09 at 11:21

Thank you Briley - you are very correct, even if MTC is built companies may still go to Williamson Co ...

By: girliegirl on 5/29/09 at 1:25

Briley is a brilliant man, and obviously can see through the smoke screen. Bells Bend folks are lucky to have him!

By: nashbeck on 5/29/09 at 1:39


With MTC corporations may come to Davidson County, some may still go to Williamson County. However, NONE will come without MTC. With MTC, some will come, and guess what? That will increase our tax base which will help our ... Schools!


By: girliegirl on 5/29/09 at 2:47

Gee... spoken like a true MTC representative.

By: frodo on 5/30/09 at 8:44

Let's see if I understand this. Because a factory 30 miles south of Bells Bend might be losing jobs, we should not develop May Town. Because some people might be making money on the deal (horrors!), we should not develop May Town. Because a majority of land owners close to the proposed May Town oppose it (certainly not all), then that settles it (with logic like that, we would have had no Interstate highways, no BRILEY Parkway, no airport, few universities and no downtown...if you asked the native inhabitants).

If you want to smell the fresh country air and cozy up to a pack of coyotes, go to any neighboring county. Nashville is a city. Bells Bend is in that city. Cities are for building things. If it weren't that way, you folks who oppose May Town probably wouldn't have a place to live or work, and downtown would still be patch of woods on a lonely river.