Business owners sue Metro over restrictive East Nashville zoning

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 12:41am

An area quick-cash business has filed suit against Metro over zoning regulations that would prevent the company from opening a new store on Gallatin Pike in East Nashville.

Tennessee Quick Cash Inc. already operates one of its stores out of a building at 3225 Gallatin Pike. But plaintiffs Conoly Brown and David Hood are suing Metro because a set of recently adopted zoning guidelines prevent the company from using property just down the road at 3100 Gallatin for similar purposes.

At issue in the suit, filed in June in Davidson County Circuit Court, is the Gallatin Pike Specific Plan. Approved by the Metro Council in 2007, the urban-inspired zoning restrictions require future development along the road to abide by new landscaping, signage and street setback standards, while limiting future uses. Among future uses that are not allowed are check cashing, title loan and cash advance businesses.

Under the law, existing non-conforming businesses are grandfathered in and can continue to operate as they have. New development, however, must be built and operate in accordance with the Gallatin Pike Specific Plan –– hence, a new Tennessee Quick Cash store providing title loans along the corridor would not be allowed.

Plaintiffs have sued Metro in hopes that the Gallatin Pike Specific Plan will be “declared null and void.”

“There is no meaningful distinction between the operation of a bank, which is allowed in the district as a financial institution use, and plaintiffs’ current business operation of check cashing and check advances and his intended business of title loans,” the suit reads. “The only distinction that appears from these ordinances is their sponsors ‘perception’ that customers of the latter type businesses are ‘less desirable’ than bank customers and therefore should not be provided these financial services in their neighborhood.”

This isn’t the first time the disputed zoning restrictions have been under assault. The suit adds a new dimension to an ongoing battle waged behind the scenes by developers and publicly by Metro Councilman Jamie Hollin, who has called the Gallatin Pike SP a hindrance to future development in the area.

Hollin, elected to the council in November, has filed a bill that would exempt his East Nashville district from the zoning guidelines.

“It raises some interesting questions,” Hollin said of the suit. “Some of the same ones I’ve been asking.”


6 Comments on this post:

By: bruingeek on 9/14/10 at 6:39

“There is no meaningful distinction between the operation of a bank, which is allowed in the district as a financial institution use, and plaintiffs’ current business operation of check cashing and check advances and his intended business of title loans,”
I hope the plaintiffs have a stronger argument than this....well, not really.

By: weescot on 9/14/10 at 6:49

They want to put another one just down the street... Looks like they want to have one at every bus stop.
I don't want any more of these businesses, there are too many of them to begin with.
It seems not to matter what the residents of the area want. You can take your business and move it somewhere else, I won't be offended or hurt in any way.

By: Myth_of_the_Nob... on 9/14/10 at 8:19

The only difference that matters is that these businesses like these are routinely guilty of predatory lending (charging interest rates in excess of 20%) to people who already facing economic challenges.

By: mhodge on 9/14/10 at 8:55

These businesses actually charge 400% interest, once fees are factored in. they wanted to locate another one down the street because they let people pay off one payday loan with the proceeds from the other store, digging the borrower deeper in debt.

By: fallwheretheymay on 9/14/10 at 11:30

Yeah, and let’s get rid of some of the other undesirable business while we’re at it. And what about the unsightly private residences throughout the neighborhood, maybe we should have the city restrict those too. Oh, and there are some objectionable people walking around this area that we should ban.

Hey this is fun! We could get the government to restrict and ban everything WE don’t like. After all, it’s obvious the poor saps who utilize those types of businesses are uneducated, unenlightened simpletons who need people like us to keep them from harming themselves.

Man we could really make this town a utopia if only we could make everyone else do what we want them too. Darn the Constitution, Capitalism and Freedom!

By: weescot on 9/14/10 at 1:19

fallwheretheymay, you are taking it to the extreme and making yourself seem rather idiotic in the process. Besides the "unsightly private residences throughout the neighborhood" you mentioned would be grandfathered in under the current plan.
They are talking about another branch down the street, not even an competing business, how does that help anyone or the area.
Maybe you're one of the trash merchants that has no interest in improving the area.
I believe the plan was brought by the council and approved by the people, but then you probably like the way "business" has no regard for the will of the people, or the "Darn the Constitution"