Developer’s poll claims public support for May Town Center

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 2:14pm

A poll released by May Town Center developer Tony Giarratana claims “wide public support for May Town Center rezoning,” one day before the Planning Commission will decide whether to reconsider the issue.

Giarratana’s poll was conducted by University of Alabama Birmingham communications studies professor Larry Powell.

According to the poll results, 50 percent are in favor of May Town Center, while 40 percent are opposed and 10 percent are unsure. According to a press release, Giarratana’s poll was conducted by calling 400 Davidson County voters at random.

May Town Center opponent and former Metro Councilman David Briley questioned the timing of Giarratana’s release and called the study a “push poll.”

“If you put misinformation for people in a poll about the circumstances, then they’re likely to come up with an answer that suits your need,” Briley said, adding that the poll questions presumed May Town Center would be an economic and job-creation success. “Virtually every word has been refuted by unbiased fact.”

Another poll question asked voters if Nashville should focus on economic development or preserving open spaces. According to the results, 61 percent said economic development and 24 percent said preserving open spaces, while 15 percent said they were unsure.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Giarratana said. “The plan we have developed for May Town Center reflects the best of both worlds. Those who cast this as a choice between development and land preservation are creating a false choice. We have created a plan that provides for environmentally sensitive development and preservation of 900 acres of green space and open land as well as meaningful economic development and job creation into the future.”

The poll results released by Giarratana come one day before the Planning Commission presumably will decide whether to consider May Town Center rezoning yet again.

“I think they’re desperate to figure out a way to move forward,” Briley said.

The MTC proposal first came before the commission a year ago and was deferred so more questions pertaining to infrastructure and density could be answered.

When it came before the Planning Commission again last month, it failed by a single vote, because commissioners were split on amending the Bells Bend/Scottsboro land use plan. The new plan required six votes, but only received five.

Giarratana sent a letter to Planning requesting the land use plan be reconsidered, claiming there was procedural confusion the night of the commission vote.

The Planning Commission would decide on Thursday whether to reconsider the motion at a later meeting.


22 Comments on this post:

By: gid on 7/22/09 at 1:05

Tony G is worse than a snake oil salesman. I am sure Granpa will be on here shortly saying we should all bow to the great and all powerful May

By: dogmrb on 7/22/09 at 2:02

I want to take what Tony G takes! Is it green, in the shape of a rectangle and fits in a wallet?

By: JeffF on 7/22/09 at 2:15

Glad to see that a majority of Nashvillians have the correct priorities on development. Wish the "leadership" did. But for now the no-growthers (except government built growth) will still call the shots.

By: shinestx on 7/22/09 at 2:21

He is going to build this development in Wilson County, near I-40 at the Davidson County line. Nashville had its chance. The benefits will go to Wilson.

By: courier37027 on 7/22/09 at 4:01

A building developer claims the public is behind his project? Wow. Let's see other startling projections. Unions back democrat candidates. National Rifle Association backs republican candidates. The Tennessean endorses a democrat. I know, these trends may be hard to believe especially when the source determines the outcome.

By: gal on 7/22/09 at 6:18

It certainly appears more relevant than the alleged poll results spouted by Attorney Briley and his clients early on. ..92% against May Town Center.... you are right right the source does speak volumns.

Representative Moore sure found out when he conducted his poll -76 against and 23 for his proposed law to overlay Bells Bend area as rural farm. And it died a sudden death..

It appears Briley and his clients continue their cavalier attitude towards land ownership- limited or/no right to the benefit and use your property. Next, there will be "a green space or a bike trail " along the edge of Old Hickory Blvd. Whose land will this affect? yours or mine.... You must stand up to the type of bullying and intimations as observed in the Planning Commission meetings or expect to be ran over by Briley and his clients. I do not oppose Briley and his clients doing whatever with their lands. The same consideration is my right of land ownership as is May Partnership.

There is about 6,000 acres in Bells Bend ; Metro owns about 800 acres; an utility company owns about 400; a company doing business as a sod farm out of Texas owns about 100 acres; May Partnership owns about 1,500 acres less acreage donated to TSU.; Ray Bell owns another 400 acres. Metro, the utility company, and the sod farm may view this as an opportunity for their business growth, certainly not a deterrent. Who knows? Ray Bell said May Town Center should be approved.

So, where are the Brileys and his clients? Oh, my, the "snake oil salesman" may be Briley and his clients. Briley is retained counsel for this group or his clients. Who are they? Not the landowners in the bend.... some doctor whose home and medical practice are located in the 37205 zip code. ..

It is interesting to note Metro's elected council who spoke against the proposed development . wonder iwhose zip code was 37218

Grandpa does live in the Bend and his zip code is 37218 ... thank you, grandpa for telling it like it is...

By: dogmrb on 7/22/09 at 10:03

Gal: duh.

By: dogmrb on 7/22/09 at 10:12

Oh by the way: I'm from Alabama and went to Uof A, graduate school. Excellent restaurants though in B'ham and polls can be bought over dinners at FS's restaurants.

By: imdyinhere on 7/23/09 at 5:11

RS40 (low density residential, requiring a minimum 40,000 square foot lot and intended for single-family dwellings)

R40 (low density residential, requiring a minimum 40,000 square foot lot and intended for single and two-family dwellings)

"An ordinance to amend Title 17 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws, the Zoning Ordinance of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, by changing from R40 to RS40 zoning along Ensworth Place."

People MAY wonder who lives there.

By: Kosh III on 7/23/09 at 6:00

MTC is a good idea in the wrong location.

By: wildwillie on 7/23/09 at 6:03

- Ray Bell wants approval because he's going to build all 3 bridges, and cash
in again, once his 400 acres have been zoned the same as the Mays.
- the Mays have at least 3 paid lobbying firms on their books, not even
mentioning pollsters, pr companies, media relation experts etc etc
- it is naive to imply that zip code 37218 is the only zip to be affected
by the requested zoning change - this ordinance will have development
implications city wide and cost implications for all taxpayers.

By: MeretriciousCreation on 7/23/09 at 8:12

I live in The Nations (37209) one of the proposed bridges comes right into my neighborhood. (literally a few blocks from my house) There is proposed widening of several roads in this immediate area all of which will affect the homes & business (negatively) of myself and my neighbors. I am not anti-development (we have a downtown desperately needing redevelopment, why build a "2nd downtown?") nor am I anti-jobs (my boyfriend was laid off last fall and has only found part time work since, I work 3 jobs) but I am not willing to sacrifice my quality of life to line someone's pockets with a project that has echoes of Fountain Square and we all know how well that worked. There is a lot of creative editing going on as to how this project will affect Nashville. Public parks will potentially be butchered for new roads, exponential traffic increases in residential areas, not to mention the infrastructure needed to support this place. There are neighborhoods in West Nashville where pipes have all but collapsed underground, roads need repaving, the list goes on & on, but somehow while there is no money budgeted for that we will come up with enough to support this new center. This project is not just about Bells Bend, it is about the entirety of West Nashville, scratch that, all of Nashville. I am all for well thought out, mutually beneficial projects developing preexisting empty urban areas that are dotted all over the city. I am tired of Nashville rolling over for anyone with a fat wallet and sacrificing the happiness of its residents as well as the character of this city.
I bought my house over a year ago in the Nations with every intention of growing old there (I am 32 now), seeing the neighborhood rehabbed and grow into something wonderful, now that is all in jeopardy because of May Town. I shudder to think of the noise and pollution that will be brought practically to my front door by this plan. I never dreamed that within 2 years of buying I would be thinking of selling my home to escape this disaster. I am not some crazy-hippie-activist-treehugger-fringe-liberal-nut job who hates everything to do with money and "the Man," I am just a concerned resident who doesn't want the people with the money and the power to be able to arbitrarily decide what goes on in my neighborhood and affect my quality of life. I support my community and my hometown, I want what is best and I just can not see a way that May Town is for the best.
Also I hardly think that 400 people out of 1 million plus residents is a fair sampling of public opinion.

By: gruntz on 7/23/09 at 10:57

I've got to side with the residents of 37209. They have the most to lose. I know I would like the same consideration if a millionaire wanted to ruin my neighborhood so that he could grow richer. Thank you leaders of Nashville!

By: govskeptic on 7/23/09 at 11:28

Tony and the May's are damned and determined to get their way on this, especially since they have some money invested. They or someone has the Planning Commission turning flips over themselves to oblige every request. Wrong project, especially wrong location, bad timing, and against will of large majority number of citizens being most affected.

By: grapa on 7/23/09 at 11:47

Gid, sorry I was late, I have been working the Tennessean, first. Thanks for the call out.

Polls do what they are suppose to do, get people talking. They are suppose to be indicators, though. Not exact science but show there is support to some degree for the topic.

In this discussion, MTC, opponents have betrayed the issue to have NO support and especially from Scottsboro and Bells Bend. They too have attempted to throw two(2) polls at the citizens of Nashville, saying 92% and 75% of BB residents were in opposition to MTC.

Using such high numbers is a RED light to begin with. At least make it close to believable and these were not. They got caught and have not been mentioned since.

By: grapa on 7/23/09 at 11:56

getting your way is not characterized by compromise and that is what Mr. G. and Developers have and are doing by down sizing all aspects of this project. Demanding is not providing MILLIONS of $$$$$$$ to build what they propose. They have not asked for anything but rezoning. developers of all the new development along Charlotte Pike and Bellevue Mall asked for incentives and also they had the nerve to ask for and got MONEY back from Metro Gov. That is what demanding is all about.

By: grapa on 7/23/09 at 12:21

I live really close to you across the river, but I would have to drive 15 miles to get to your house. I could walk one mile and see it, though.
That is just part of "our" reasoning to support MTC. Our property has less value because we can not get across 'that' river to spend our money in your neighborhood.
We were promised access across that river 2 decades ago and have not gotten that promise, yet. There goes 'our' property values. We were promised a good road two decades ago and have gotten that promise, yet. We have crime, deaths and live with tractor trailers hogging the road.

We want the things you are after, we have been here decades(oldest living resident in the same home his entire 84 years lives nest to May property and supports MTC) and still have empty promises. We do not have the city services you have and yet we pay for them.

Maam, I am over 60, medically unable to work, and still looking for the quality of life that over 30 years teaching in public school classrooms should afford me.
Do you know where the dump is at Briley and Highway 12 is, it is that huge manmade mountain with the dozers on the top. That was to be built in front of my house and 300 feet behind a relatives' house. What would that have done to my value of life, that was the city trying to do that to us in Bells Bend.
As I have been told there are hundreds of residents of West Nashville and Bellevue eager to get to Bells Bend to walk and ride and use the Corridor to Beaman Park. Having an easy access across the river at the end of Old Hickory Blvd. would do just this and would improve property value in your part of town. Recreational access on the level of warner Park is what is said. BB Park is $16 million dollars of park not being used!!

By: grapa on 7/23/09 at 12:32


I can't imagine living near a rock quarry and compost business and having a main cut through road through your neighborhood could get much worse with MTC being built across the Cumberland River. The water, trees, and distance will buffer much of what you fear. I would fear those trucks rolling past my house and that rock dust is the worst to clean.
You have I-40 and Briley Parkway and the new I-40 West ramp and new White Bridge Road Bridge is to be replaced. These make worse noise, but will aid the traffic problems I have been hearing about. By the way, someone mentioned Ray Bell, guess who is buliding most of that for the city and state? Yes, Ray Bell Construction. NOONE has the right to fault another person for working hard and being successful, without showing your own greed and jealously.

By: gid on 7/23/09 at 1:26

Granpa - good afternoon.
I could probably see your house from mine.
-- The City would still have to pay 26+M to support MTC (schoo, police, fire, etc)
-- Downtown has only a 37% occupancy rate (so why is MTC needed?)
-- Three bridges would be needed - who will pay for the other two? And the third bridge would go thru my house, or within 100 yrs of it, which is the same
--- If My May wants to build a Statue of himself why not do as M. Carrel did and give millions to build a child hospital (or pick any needy cause)
--- You say this will bring HQ's to Metro...what about our crappy schools, higher taxes, etc...If I were in charge I would not move a HQ to Metro
-- IF business do come; will Metro do as they did for Dell (no property taxes for 20 yrs, $500 to hire local folks, etc)?

By: grapa on 7/23/09 at 2:40

GID, I am confused about the constant questions about schools fire and police. These are all mentioned in the SP as being privided for by the developer when building and papulation gets to that point. These have been in since the beginning.

I will not say that the occupnacey rate will be complete with the coming of the MCC, but it will be addressed. Buildout of the MTC is 20-30 years and I would think that occupancy would improve by itself in that time period. IREALLY believe that much of those that would choose MTC would not elect to go downtown. Yes, there would be some lost from downtown, but there would also be some drawn to downtown by the building of MTC.

IF bridges are to be built, developers have said THEY would pay for them. I was at a meeting and heard another person, a bridge builder, say if the third was needed he too would build it. This is without local, state, and stimulus money(which will run out someday).

NO hidden r=packages have been mentioned on either side. Will it occur in 10 or 15 years, I can not guess, but when it is successful wouldn't it be deserving?

Education, I am retired as public school teacher. I know local schools are in bad shape. We can not use that as a reason not do this. That does not make sense. "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Doesn't it make sense that if we had more money sources we would have more money to put toward education.? This may be too simple to even say for me, but not all school system start out being the best. They have to work and keep improving, which means new ideas programs and paying teachers. This is a sound tax base that is always increasing. I can not see how believing in regionalism pays as much as if corporations were located in Davidson.

By: grapa on 7/23/09 at 5:21

GID, I think in other conversations I assume you do might make a triangle shape with me and M.........Creation. You must be down river some. I am on the East side of OHB.

By: grapa on 7/23/09 at 5:44

Sorry about that last message.