A Preservation Fight, Grease Recycling And 3 Other Takeaways From A 7-Hour Metro Council Meeting | Nashville Public Radio

A Preservation Fight, Grease Recycling And 3 Other Takeaways From A 7-Hour Metro Council Meeting

Aug 8, 2018

And then it was a Wednesday.

A marathon 7-hour meeting of the Metro Council forced members to flip their calendars from Tuesday night to the next morning, after more than 100 residents spoke during public hearings on an array of controversial subjects.

Here’s (some of) what happened, and how the council voted, on high-interest matters.

Edgehill Debate Intensifies

The most intense comments of the night showed how Nashville’s historic Edgehill neighborhood remains bitterly divided — as accusations flew about misinformation and what some see as a falsified community survey about their preferences.

At issue is a proposed overlay that would slow down demolitions and redevelopments in Edgehill, south of downtown.

More than 70 people addressed the Metro Council, most in opposition to the overlay, with some comments rising into passionate yells, and some tears.

The intensity of the public comments prompted Councilwoman Sharon Hurt to suggest that more work must be done to find a compromise proposal.

“I feel so divided myself,” Hurt said. “Is this what the council is about — dividing neighborhoods?”

Hurt ultimately abstained and the council voted 28 to 5 in favor of advancing the overlay, on what was the second of three votes. The final decision is scheduled for Aug. 21.

One of the overlay’s sponsors, Councilman Colby Sledge, acknowledged the disagreements but said there is a consensus in Edgehill: that historic structures should not be demolished.

To create that protection, Sledge defended the neighborhood conservation overlay.

“If we want to prevent the demo of significant structures in this area, this is the tool we need to consider,” he said.

Grease Recycling Plant Rankles Homeowners

A grease and oil recycling facility looking to open in northern Davidson County drew deep opposition with two dozen residents blasting what they worry would be a foul-smelling industrial use near the Haynes and Trinity neighborhoods along Whites Creek Pike.

One opponent, Mary Carver Patrick, cited state records that show the company’s current grease plant has spilled materials before.

“We are deeply suspicious of their past history of violations, foul odors, and unsanitary grounds,” she told the council, also decrying what she called “environmental racism,” because the new plant location would be near predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

Councilman DeCosta Hastings
Credit Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

The project’s representatives told the council that the community would benefit if they closed the existing 30-year-old grease plant to build a new, cleaner operation, and that they would like to free up property closer to the city for commercial use.

They emphasized that the new facility would be fully enclosed — as is standard in contemporary recycling facilities — to contain odors.

Several council members said they were troubled by the proposal and would be likely to vote against it on final reading. But the grease plant did advance through second consideration.

“If my community is not for this, I am not going for it,” said Councilman DeCosta Hastings, who represents the area that would house the plant.

Votes Continued Past 2 a.m.

In other business:

  • The council also advanced a proposal to allow Ivy Hall — a 1930s mansion in Inglewood — to allow commercial use of an in-home recording studio. Procedurally, the mansion is seeking recognition as a historic neighborhood landmark, a process that would allow the commercial recording usage under several restrictions.
  • The council also debated and advanced its heavily revised regulations for dockless standup scooters, which now go to a final vote on Aug. 21.
  • However, a set of six proposed amendments to the Metro Charter were deferred for a meeting. That sets up a firm deadline of Aug. 21 for the council to vote on the amendments, if they are to appear before voters on the November ballot.