At-large councilman's support of waste transfer station runs afoul of district

Monday, July 2, 2012 at 4:07pm

A proposed waste transfer station in Cleveland Park has neighbors up in arms and a councilman trying to clarify his position ahead of Tuesday's Metro Council meeting.

In a letter to fellow council members last week, Councilman At-Large Jerry Maynard came out strongly in support of a resolution that would recommend a Waste Connections facility be allowed at 1000 Apex St. in East Nashville.

"I believe that blighted urban areas that are filled with high volumes of crime, illegal dumping and abandoned buildings must be transformed into areas of commerce, safe neighborhoods and economic engines when the opportunity arises," he wrote.

But the councilman for the area where the facility would be located, District 5’s Scott Davis, told The City Paper that his district "overwhelmingly" opposes the move.

Confusing the matter even more is the fact that Davis said originally he had no position on the resolution — and sought Maynard's advice — before a series of neighborhood meetings led him to oppose it. Maynard's letter makes it sound as though Davis supported the project. And some neighbors are still angry that Davis' name is still attached to the resolution, something Davis said is a quirk of the council's resolution process. By remaining the sponsor, he said, he controls the resolution.

"The average citizen doesn't know that," he said. "If I don't take ownership of it, I can't control it. If I didn't sign it, it would have gone straight to the BZA (Board of Zoning Appeals). Then we would have a fight like they had in Bellevue. The Council is the best place to stop this."

"This" is a 100,000-square-foot warehouse, which Waste Connections would use as a drop-off point for small trucks hauling garbage. Up to 600 tons of waste would then be transferred to larger trucks and carried to a landfill in Kentucky. Area residents and neighborhood groups have been vocal in their opposition to the facility, citing concerns about traffic, smell, sewer lines and effects on property value. An online petition to oppose the project had received more than 500 signatures as of Monday afternoon.

"I've read the same letter you've read, which contains several inaccuracies," said Cleveland Park resident Sarah Martin. "Councilman Maynard isn't a resident in this district, so that's not surprising because he doesn't have a clear understanding of the bigger picture and the profoundly negative impact this facility will have on the growth of the surrounding area."

Maynard said that he's talked to a few residents who live closest to the project and he values their opinion over others who live further away from the warehouse.

"I met the residents who live adjacent to the Apex site and they complained about the crime that was going on and the illegal dumping," he said. "And so, when I was asked to support it, I agreed that if this company could come in and transform this site — it's already zoned industrial, it's an abandoned warehouse. This is not some undeveloped, pristine, undisturbed land. This is a warehouse, which has been abandoned, which is allowing crime and illegal dumping to take place."

Martin said that the traffic plan would trap portions of the neighborhood with trucks.

"We have numerous traffic concerns with the route that Waste Connections has mapped out and how narrow those streets are," she said. "There's the fact that McFerrin and Apex are the only streets that are the primary route in and out of a residential area. There are about five dead-end cross streets that run east to west and that is the only way those people get out of that neighborhood. We're talking 65 to 100 trucks a day, according to the information that was provided to us [at an informational meeting] on June 14."

Not a single hand of the more than 100 in attendance at that meeting was raised in support of the project, Martin said.

Maynard told The City Paper that he supports the project no matter the neighborhood's concerns or what Davis recommends at the Tuesday meeting.

"If the motion is for disapproval, I'll be voting no. If the motion is for approval, I'll be voting yes," he said.

Davis said he'll be "moving strongly for disapproval," putting him at odds with Maynard. "The people don't want this."

9 Comments on this post:

By: arbors101 on 7/2/12 at 3:57

More than 600 residents of east nashville have signed a petition against this. Sam McCullough and Jerry Maynard are all for this. WHY??

By: Shane Smiley on 7/2/12 at 11:50

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$?

By: treehugger7 on 7/3/12 at 7:35

Beat me to it, Shane...that's the only reason to do this. Are people really this stupid?! We work hard to improve neighborhoods and then they put a dump there! If people are dumping stuff somewhere, there's a way to stop it without turning a decent neighborhood into a dump! It's called policing!

By: sally.sue on 7/3/12 at 9:32

I agree with Councilman At-Large Jerry Maynard. The proposed waste transfer station will be a great benefit to the neighborhood. The abandoned warehouse has been a magnet for dumping, drugs, prostitution and other illegal activities. Putting the warehouse to good use will not only improve property values, it will also help deter illegal activity. I know for a fact that many other people in the district agree with me and that over 200 people, including people who live adjacent to the abandoned warehouse, have signed petitions indicating their approval of the facility. In fact, Councilman Davis was also in favor of the facility until he received a death threat.

By: duckfaulkner@gm... on 7/3/12 at 10:22

sally.sue - do you live in the district? I just signed a petition with 987 signatures in opposition. That far outweighs the 200 signature petition you mentioned. The Council members should represent the majority of the district residents. East Nashville has made leaps and bounds in progress and is hands-down one of the neighborhoods attracting the most national attention and media. This would be one GIANT step back. I hope Councilman Maynard has a change of mind and puts the desire of the neighborhood ahead of his own needs. I'm certain there are some options around 35th Avenue North.

By: scruggs on 7/3/12 at 10:27

Another point to add it is in a floodplain, the reason the lumber yard is gone was due to the flood that sent all of the lumber throughout the neighborhoods, what is going to happen when it floods again and we have trash in this area?

By: ladyday1 on 7/3/12 at 11:51

ladyday7

Somewhere I read that the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Association supported the waste transfer station. Usually at neighborhood association meetings you are lucky if you have 20 people. They can make decisions that are not good for all. Councilman Maynard should respect the rights of a majority.
Can we sign the petition((987 names) online?

By: cynthiamc77 on 7/3/12 at 12:31

Treehugger 7, this facility will not be a dump at all. In all actuality it is waste transfer facility, in which the trash that is thrown out on a daily basis will properly disposed of. Not only will this facility assist in cleaning up this area, it will also cut down on the criminal activity that current exist. There are hundreds of people that currently live in this community that have signed petitions in support of this facility.

By: scruggs on 7/3/12 at 2:30

It was also purposed that the people of this neighborhood would be given jobs, this new waste facility will consist of three new jobs for the community, Verizon was going to put a call center in the same spot however the zoning board would not allow it. To cut down on criminal activity why not put something in location that would help the area such as Verizon, community center, anything that would increase the value of this area. I do not care how you paint this picture it will decrease the value of this area and adjacent areas.