Final public meeting set on 43rd Avenue alley controversy

Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 11:36am

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. 

Filed under: City News

3 Comments on this post:

By: bringingbackcom... on 7/15/10 at 10:01

"I do not live in this district, however I think the Councilman has done the proper thing by allowing for the meetings to be arranged and for people to voice their concerns in reference to this matter.!"

I also believe that if the meetings represent a majority of that area (Not the whole councilmatic district) then he should listen to the people that is the most impacted by his decision, and that would be the people that are perhaps five square blocks around this area.!"

"I have said in the past that it does impact the entire district as a whole, but the people from the five block radius could form a group to keep their part of the district clean if they really wanted too, and if they committed to that then I think the councilman should give them that opportunity.!"

By: nash615 on 7/15/10 at 2:36

For what it's worth, the neighborhood has been organizing since their July 1st meeting (which arguably was a sign of them organizing in and of itself), and so far:

- There's a Neighborhood Watch group starting up to help coordinate against crime and dumping in the area, the informational meeting will be on July 26th
- Metro Public Works will be placing 3 "no dumping" signs in and around the alley, we have a request # for this but no definite date (should be "soon")
- If dumping in the alley continues then Metro Public Works has offered to place a mobile camera unit in the alley to monitor for dumping to help catch dumpers (ditto)
- Neighbors have been driving the alley multiple times per day, documenting the dumping (pictures are posted online every day); with neighbors calling Metro Public Works and the Sheriff's department to report and track dumping incidents
- A new online site, being integrated with phone and text-messaging support, is up and running to collect and track dumping in the Nations neighborhood (, this will probably also be used for Neighborhood Watch purposes
- There are a number of distinct people considering a new Nations neighborhood group ramping up to be more effective than the basically defunct RUN group


More of this is documented at the website about the issue --

By: just a thought on 8/5/10 at 6:04

This has been a big mess. Why should a community stand behind something that does not affect them? Getting involved is a great thing if it in any way concerns you and youre property. No I do not think the alley should be given away -----but in all rights if he owns both sides in due time it will be his. This is an issue that just does not deserve all the attention that was afforded it. For all those that are getting involved it would best serve you to police the alley and the neighborhood. Pick up trash or watch with binoculars just whatever you think needs to be done. To tell people that own property how they are gonna use it is unconstitutional. Maybe you built a house there and were sold a promise that the neighborhood is gonna rebuild well that is simply not gonna happen. The people that have bought and have owned there for half a century also have rights. I am speaking as a commercial developer and I see this is as a prime place to build toward the new century. These people have gold in their back pocket and in due time will prosper. This is the american way...........Sorry if this offends but it is a reality. Buddy Baker did his job in what he thought is a step foreward for his district and should be commended for standing for his belief. If I had of been in town at the time I would have supported him. Ron Hunter had the option to ask and he did. All of this waste of time could have better been spent policing the streets and cleaning the alley and streeets if this was the suppossed concern.