A week before the Metro Council is set to vote on a controversial alley abandonment proposal in west Nashville’s Nations neighborhood, the area’s councilman has organized a final meeting to hear from constituents.
An ordinance sponsored by Councilman Buddy Baker would abandon an alley that connects 43rd and 44th avenues near George Avenue. It would also clear a small portion of 43rd Avenue that dead-ends into a railroad track.
Baker has said the abandonment is a way to get rid of an alley that has become a dumping ground for tires and other debris. Many neighbors, however, believe the abandonment is the first step in an overarching plan to bring industrial uses to property zoned for residential. More than 160 people have signed a petition urging Baker to withdraw the bill.
The meeting will take place Saturday, July 17, at 4 p.m. at 4300 Georgia Ave. The ordinance is to be considered on third and final reading by the council on July 20.
“I have always tried to do what I feel is the best for all of my district as a whole,” Baker wrote in a letter to council members. “I know that there will always be a small faction of those that will oppose me no matter what I do, and that I cannot help.”
At issue is an alley that currently splits land that belongs to property owner Ron Hunter. On the northern side of the alley is property he owns that is already zoned and used for industrial purposes. On the southern side of the alley are six parcels he owns that are zoned for residential.
Originally, the alley-abandonment bill was proposed alongside another ordinance that sought to change the southern property from residential to industrial. The second bill was later pulled.
Opponents say the fact that the companion bill was ever proposed suggests the alley’s removal would signal the first step in a larger plan to convert adjacent property, which is currently zoned for residential construction, into industrial uses.
In the letter sent to council members, Baker acknowledged that Hunter has previously contributed $250 to his election campaign.
“Neither I nor you have control over who comes to a fundraiser,” Baker wrote to his council colleagues.