East Nashville zoning feud spreads to meeting location

Monday, July 13, 2009 at 3:29pm

East Nashville residents will get one more opportunity to discuss the rezoning of a Cleveland Street property, which has become the epicenter of a bitter neighborhood feud.

The only problem is, the two sides could barely agree on where to hold their community meeting much less whether or not to rezone the small tract.

At the center of the drama is East Nashville Metro Councilwoman Pam Murray, who has been on the losing end of a series of controversial issues this year.

Murray’s latest difficulties have come in scheduling a community meeting for the property located at 837 Cleveland St. Those who oppose the rezoning say they’ve been the victims of intimidation tactics by Murray supporters.

The opposition, led by Nashville attorney and District 5 resident Jamie Hollin, scheduled a community meeting for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the East Precinct Police headquarters. But Murray has scheduled a meeting of her own for Thursday at 6 p.m. at the East Branch Public Library.

After a back-and-forth e-mail exchange between Murray and Hollin, the 6 p.m. meeting at the library location was finally agreed upon. Read their entire email exchange here.

At last week’s Council meeting, the bill was deferred following public hearing so the two sides could talk more and work toward a compromise. The property’s owner Sheridath Blackwood wants to turn the former junkyard building into affordable apartments. But many neighbors say the building doesn’t make sense as an apartment and doesn’t fit with the area’s community plan.

In a letter to Murray, Hollin said constituents chose the police precinct because they have felt intimidated in the past.

“This location was selected due to the fact many of the people in opposition to this bill have expressed genuine concern for their physical safety because they were cursed, intimidated and physically threatened [by Murray supporters after last week’s Council meeting],” Hollin said in a letter to Murray.

But Murray responded with a letter of her own, in which she denies the intimidation claims and states the actual meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at the library.

“Regarding a incident of intimidation, I know this to be untrue,” Murray’s response stated.

Murray has been at the center of controversy in recent months. First came a report by News Channel 5’s Phil Williams, which showed Murray lived a majority of the time in Detroit, where she works as a social worker at a methadone clinic.

Then came an ugly incident between Murray and District 8 Councilwoman Karen Bennett, in which the police were called following a community meeting. In the police report, Bennett said she was threatened by Murray supporters. No charges were ever filed as a result of the incident and Murray denied the claims.

Additionally, a complaint was filed against Murray by a constituent with the state Ethics Commission. The constituent claimed Murray lied on her state ethics disclosure form.

The consensus among Council members following last week’s public hearing was that the bill would likely be defeated, but the two sides should try to work out their differences.

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3 Comments on this post:

By: eastnashville37207 on 7/14/09 at 3:33

I hope Hollin and Bennett drag Murray out of East as she is the most unethical person I have ever seen. Murray and her thug friends have keep that place a haven for crime. Her hatred towards white people is illegal and Murray has been practicing her hatred for years. She needs to go.

By: Alphadog7 on 7/14/09 at 6:41

"...myself scheduled
the meeting...."

Nice grammar.

By: worldwidechuck on 7/14/09 at 8:04

Where's the beef? I don't see where this old junk yard building would be a great place for anyone to live more less four families... However, after Google mapping the address and looking around I don't see where it would much hurt. I'd suggest the owners doll up the front of the building to try and at least make it look somewhat less depressing and more attractive.

Choose your fights wisely; I don't see where this is a good one. It seems the issue here is the Council Seat. Get organized and vote for someone else if you are wanting a change...