Murray withdraws controversial zoning bill

Monday, July 20, 2009 at 8:04pm

The zoning bill that divided an East Nashville neighborhood and put Councilwoman Pam Murray under intense scrutiny was withdrawn at Monday’s Metro Council planning and zoning committee meeting.

The bill would have turned a former junkyard building on Cleveland Street into an apartment complex, which neighbors worried would operate as a de facto slum.

Murray supported rezoning the property, even though many neighbors in close proximity to the property were in opposition.

The bill was deferred by Council last month so the those in favor and in opposition could work on a compromise. However, at a community meeting last week, it was clear the neighborhood was still divided.

The property’s owner, Sheridath Blackwood, sent an email to Council members asking for the bill to be withdrawn. Murray obliged at Monday’s committee meeting.

“It is obvious this has gone far beyond a rezoning issue,” Blackwood’s email said. “Councilmember Murray faces the impossible task of trying to represent the people in her district when there are those whose only goal is not what is best for the community, but to humiliate her before her colleagues in the Council.

“She is responding with class and dignity, but we have chosen not to ask her to endure further abuse on our behalf.”

Jamie Hollin, who is president of the Maxwell Heights Neighborhood Association and lives across the street from the property in question, called the withdrawal “a great outcome for our neighborhood and for the city of Nashville.”

Murray found herself in the news throughout the public discussion on the rezoning of the property.

At one point, District 8 Councilwoman Karen Bennett called Metro Police following an altercation with Murray and her supporters after a community meeting.

Then, after a NewsChannel 5 story showed that Murray lived a majority of the time in Detroit, where she works as a social worker, one constituent filed a complaint against her with the state ethics commission.

That complaint said Murray lied on her ethics disclosure forms, because she listed herself as self-employed and not as a social worker at the methadone clinic where she works.


6 Comments on this post:

By: eastnashville37207 on 7/21/09 at 6:42

Pam Murray never does anything with class or dignity. Kudos to the neighborhoods for fighting Murray all the way because slums are Murray's middle name.

By: karman37206 on 7/21/09 at 8:42

This bill withdrawal is nothing for our community to celebrate. We have let a group of East End "rejects" speak for us - people who can't even get jobs to match the titles they have given themselves.

By: alex24 on 7/21/09 at 9:38

you mean people like Mary Coplen, "president" of Greenwood Neighborhood Assoc?

By: Equanimity on 7/21/09 at 10:12

Hmmm...Councilmember Murray's e-mails do not seem to show class or dignity. They seem dismissive and arrogant. Her task is to represent all her constituents, in a safe environment, permitting a free exchange of ideas. While it makes for good intimidation and even better television, I'm afraid we may soon have to ban the wearing of brightly colored T-shirts signifying unity at Metro Council and other representative body meetings. This practice seems to have made Nashville - East and West alike - look like East Los Angeles with the "wearing of the colors" the gangs there find so vital in seeking some common security blanket.

Sadly, the Blackwoods are the real estate cicadas of our society. Let's see if the next election determines where Murray really lives and how well her district is really represented.

By: karman37206 on 7/21/09 at 10:12

I wasn't referring to one particular person. Sounds as though you have a personal vendetta or "problem". It took more than one person to get us to this. But the saying still holds true... those who rob Peter to pay Paul are always going to have the support of Paul.

By: sidneyames on 7/21/09 at 1:07

I don't live in her district, but my councilman lives here in Antioch, so he represents us as a councilman and neighbor. I would have a problem voting for him or supporting him if he was not "transparent" on his application and it sounds like she didn't do a full disclosure. There's a difference in being "self-employed" and working for a methodone clinic in an entirely different state. Maybe she should apply for a job in TN.