Thursday, July 9, 2009

Metro Council takes May Town off table

Unanimous vote defers proposal indefinitely By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • July 8, 2009 The Metro Council deferred the controversial May Town Center development plan indefinitely Tuesday, taking it out of the public debate for now, if not for good. The council voted unanimously for the deferral less than two weeks after the Metro Planning Commission rejected the potentially $4 billion development for the Bells Bend area of western Davidson County. Councilman Lonnell Matthews, who represents the area, said he moved to defer the rezoning request rather than simply withdraw it so he could hold the developers accountable for their pledge to donate 250 acres and $400,000 to Tennessee State University. "I want the promises the developers made to stay on solid ground," Matthews said, adding that he plans to meet with TSU administrators today. The May family asked for a rezoning that would let it build corporate headquarters, office space, condominiums, hotels and stores on about 550 acres. The Mays also planned to preserve about 900 acres they own in rural Bells Bend. The proposal roiled the bend and the nearby Scottsboro area for more than a year. Some residents welcomed the chance for major economic development, but others said May Town Center would spoil one of the county's last large open spaces. Many residents of neighboring areas in West Nashville also expressed concerns about the traffic the development would create. Regarding the action of the Metro Council on Tuesday night, Bells Landing Partnership issued the following statement: "We respect Councilman Matthews' course of action." In other business, the council started accepting nominations to replace Alan Coverstone on the Metro school board. Coverstone was hired Tuesday to be the school district's executive director for charter and private schools; he had already resigned from the board. The council is expected to decide who fills the District 9 vacancy from among a half-dozen or so candidates on July 21. Coverstone represented the Belle Meade, Bellevue and Hillwood areas. Voters will get a chance to choose their school board representative at the next general election, in August 2010.

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