A proposed waste transfer facility has become a campaign issue in the Metro Council’s hotly contested District 20 race, with one challenger calling the proposal “another apparent backdoor deal” by her incumbent.
But Metro Councilman Buddy Baker, campaigning to hold onto the West Nashville-area seat, said he’s simply trying to allow a company build a new recycling facility that would be entirely covered, under a council resolution he has sponsored. Waste Services of Tennessee would operate the center, which requires a special exemption use permit.
“They keep hollering, ‘Recycle, recycle, recycle,’ ” Baker said. “This company is going to put a state-of-the-art, fully enclosed waste transfer station down on Centennial Boulevard, way out there on the other side of Ford Glass Plant.
“To my understanding, she’s making it sound like that they’re going to put a dump out there,” he said. “It’s nothing like a dump whatsoever.”
Baker is referring to Mary Carolyn Roberts, one of two opponents he’s facing in the upcoming general election. Roberts emailed supporters Thursday morning alerting them to the proposal, which goes before the council next week on a single-vote resolution.
“This is NOT something we want to put there,” Roberts wrote. “Nor is it something I imagine any of you have even heard was being proposed before now.”
Contacted by The City Paper, Roberts said the waste transfer facility is another example of constituents not having a voice.
“There’s been a series of things where we don’t know anything until it’s already there,” Roberts said. “That’s really frustrating. The second thing is, the waste treatment plant doesn’t need to be in the middle of a neighborhood.
“This had already come up a while back, and we shot it down,” she said. “Somehow, we’ve backdoored it in again.”
The facility would be located at 7320 Centennial Blvd.
In a letter dated July 15 and addressed to Baker, Bob Watson, senior vice president of legal affairs and government relations for the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, voices various concerns regarding the proposed operation. (Read letter here.) The authority's John C. Tune Airport is located near the site of the proposed waste transfer facility.
According to the council’s agenda, the council must “make a finding” that the proposed use is consistent with specific requirements outlined in the Metro Code. The council has 60 days to approve or disapprove the facility.
Baker said the proposal requires “no zoning changes whatsoever.”
“There’s no backdoor deal,” Baker said when told of Roberts’ email. “I’m not trying to run anything over on anybody. There shouldn’t have to be any meetings on this because there are no houses around whatsoever.”
Roberts said she would appreciate discussion on the resolution to help decide whether it’s the best move.
This story has been updated.