BZA defers Bellevue landfill vote, awaits further input

Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 11:46pm

The Board of Zoning Appeals meeting was standing room only on Thursday afternoon for the consideration of a controversial Bellevue landfill project. But after a two-hour hearing, the BZA deferred a decision until July 19 to allow for a traffic study and Metro Public Works input.

At the center of the discussion is the proposed 81-acre landfill surrounded by residential properties. Mickey Mitchell, the developer, is attempting to change the zoning of the site, at 7739 Charlotte Pike, for disposing of “construction and demolition” products like dry wall, shingles, lumber and other waste.

Mitchell offered Public Works three acres of the land to be used as a public recycling facility.

At a meeting hosted by Metro Councilwoman Sheri Weiner earlier this year, the developers and other members of Metro government discussed the project. Weiner said there was no opposition from her constituency at that meeting.

But a few weeks ago, Weiner switched her position after residents started to grumble about the proposed plans. So the councilwoman withdrew her support of the project, claiming it always “hinged on neighborhood response.” She showed up wearing an anti-landfill sticker at the hearing.

BZA chairman Chris Whitson said the board received 140 letters opposing the project — and the capacity crowd sporting green T-shirts numbered more than 150.

Mitchell’s attorney Tom White told the board that they had received approval through all the necessary avenues — including Metro’s Planning Commission and Solid Waste Region Board.

Former Metro councilman and attorney Jamie Hollin represented several neighbors who oppose the project and called Mitchell’s plan “the ultimate Trojan horse.” According to Hollin, the Public Works department backed the plan because it included a much-needed “recycling convenience center.” However, later documents mention the separate recycling center as only a “drop-off facility,” according to Hollin.

There are currently 13 drop-off facilities in Davidson County and only three collection centers — meaning there seemingly isn't much need for another drop.

“Drop-off site, collection centers, convenience centers, recycling facilities, all of this is simply word soup designed to disguise why we are here today,” Hollin said. “The reason we are here is to determine whether or not we need a third C and D landfill in Davidson County.”

In other words, Hollin maintains that Public Works signed off on the plan under false premonitions of what they were getting. The wording also matters when it comes to zoning. If the proposed recycling facility is a convenience center, it has to be zoned industrial, according to Hollin.

Whitson suggested that he’d like to hear from Public Works before he made a decision.

The debate also surrounded the “general” conditions the plan has to abide by, which includes broad questions of whether the project is compatible with the surrounding area.

Hollin suggested that some of the waste could contain asbestos and might be a health hazard to the community. BZA member David Harper countered that argument by saying the board signs off on house construction projects by requiring — not enforcing — that the builders don’t use lead-based paint.

Whitson suggested before the meeting even began that it would be up to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to decide specific environmental issues related to the project.

The opposers of the landfill also requested that the BZA complete a traffic study before approving it. White previously mentioned the expected traffic of 50 dump trucks wouldn’t have much of an impact on the 4,000 vehicles traveling that stretch of Charlotte Pike in a day.

At the end of the hearing, Whitson motioned for the board to defer the meeting until July 19 in order to receive input from Public Works and complete the traffic study. Richard King, David Ewing, Whitson, and Mercedes Jones voted in favor of the motion, while Harper abstained. BZA members David Taylor and Stacey Garrett were absent from the meeting.

The final vote on the landfill issue will be at 1 p.m. on July 19.

3 Comments on this post:

By: Rocket99 on 6/22/12 at 7:05

This appears to be another "Not in MY back yard" thing. Har to say who's right in all of this.

By: Vuenbelvue on 6/22/12 at 7:42

Rocket99 It isn't "not in my backyard" complaining. The landfill site is 2/3 up a 2 mile incline around blind curves with a passing lane approximately 1/4 mile long with the old entrance to the site on the left heading up. From the west traffic goes up a 3/4 mile hill and reaches that summitt and starts going down the 2 mile hill unable to see in front of them. And this is on a sunny day. I don't understand how a reporter could not describe this in their article unless they are writing from their desk.
The site was slowly filled to its 1 or 2 acre level, if that much, in the 1990's if I recall. The owners of the site then never created a entrance or ramps and cars would find themselves facing dump trucks and grinding to a halt to avoid collisions. There is a large rock from the original cut in the mountain never taken out by state of Tennessee when the highway was routed there sometime during the 1950's. So the trucks have a 20 to 30 foot wide entrance to come in and out.
The construction fill supposedly would be flowing down the hill toward a few yards until the weight begins filling back to the top increasing the level site that exists today. Not level but sloping downward.
I don't think the authorities at zoning ever paid a physical visit though I would have to think public works did. Mayor Dean's signature signs off on the April zoning agreement. It is a typical property you drive by anywhere in Nashville and you see red zoning appeal signs. The only way you can find out about what is happening is to attend a zoning meeting or go to the zoning office and ask them. I don't know if they will tell you and may just say you have to attend the meeting. Unless the council person knows, it runs on it's provided data. In this case, it appears that the council person wasn't even told the truth about what the use of the site was and the zoning change goes against the areas Master plan that they themselves approved.
At the least, the large rock needs to be taken out and extra lanes for the drivers put in to help them safely enter and exit. They need to be working in a safe situation also. I would guess someone needs to spend $500,000 or more before opening it up to this type of business. It is a State Highway not a county road.
I assisted a woman, who died in her car one morning, after I took my sons to school, from hitting a dump truck head on coming off the hill. I also assisted the driver who was saved because his truck eventually came to a stop against a tree on the right side of the road and didn't flip.

By: dgentry on 6/22/12 at 10:15

I attended the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting yesterday and was shocked to see how our government operates. This proposed C & D Landfill is illegal so I thought it would be a NO BRAINER to deny the Landfill. Boy did I get an eye opener. It appears that Local government does not care about State government, hence the LAWS OF OUR STATE. I understand that the Zoning Board may not be able to enforce a State Law (or at least I do after the meeting) but they should be able to find out if it truly is illegal and defer a zoning decision until the State can step forward. Why would elected officials continue to support something that is illegal?
The proposed site is illegal according to…………….. The TN State Scenic Rivers Act.
11-13-111: Land Use Permitted
(b) (1) No Landfill for the disposal of solid or hazardous waste shall be permitted within two (2) miles from the center of a Class II river on each side nor within two (2) miles of the center of such river on each side in any county which is adjacent to such Class II river, notwithstanding the fact that the river is not designated as a scenic river in such adjacent county, if the river in such adjacent county flows into the county in which such river is designated as a Class II river.
Almost the entire area proposed for the C & D Landfill is in the prohibition zone!!
2. The Traffic
There is already a problem with the “double blind curve” which is where the entrance to the Charlotte Pike Landfill would be located. There have been numerous times vehicles have gone off the road when coming around the curve. As I sit on a hill overlooking the last curve I have seen numerous vehicles drive off the road. So far, I have not had to witness a fatality but it is only a matter of time. If traffic increases due to the fill (and it will if the Landfill is successful) this area of Charlotte Pike cannot handle it.
I do not know who is doing the Traffic Study, proposed by the Zoning Boars. I can only hope their information is more accurate than the present. There are NOT 4,000 vehicles a day travelling this stretch of Charlotte Pike. I would be shocked to learn there are 1,000 a day. As to 50 more being nothing, who is Mr. Mitchell trying to fool? If this Landfill is successful 50 a day is ridiculous. He is a successful business man is he truly trying to tell us he doesn’t intend to grow his business!
Charlotte Pike cannot handle the current traffic much less additional traffic!
3. The community was NOT notified
We would have fought this from the beginning if we had been made aware. Mitchell is shocked at the current opposition saying they followed procedure and we were all notified in advance. Just look at the number of community people that took off work to go to the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. We were NOT notified in advance. From the number of people in opposition do you really think it would have gotten this far if we had all known all along what was happening?