The Metro Council last night unanimously approved Mayor Karl Dean’s plan to spend a portion of the city’s hotel taxes to repair $20 million in flood-related damages to Gaylord Opryland’s Grand Ole Opry House.
The plan, now approved on third and final reading, redirects a portion of the city’s hotel taxes the council had already earmarked to Gaylord in 2007, revenue collected through Gaylord’s tourism development zone.
Originally, Gaylord was to use the tax collections for the expansion of its convention center, but the project is currently on hold. Under the plan, tax revenue is to pay for repairs to the Opry House over the next 15 years.
In a separate vote — but also part of Dean’s flood-recovery effort — the council authorized $200,000 to be allocated to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau to help with tourism and promotion efforts in the Music Valley area, which surrounds the still-closed Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.
Other council items:
• Metro scrapped a plan to reimburse owners of car washes and plant nurseries who lost business when they were forced to shut down for 30 days during May’s flood.
The bill, which the council deferred indefinitely, would have taken $200,000 out of Metro’s general fund.
Mayor Karl Dean and his administration met with affected car wash owners two weeks ago to discuss financial losses accrued by their businesses when they were ordered to temporarily shut down while one of Nashville’s water treatment plants wasn’t operating.
Department of Law Director Sue Cain, who attended the meeting, said the administration and car wash owners discussed the possibility of federal grants that could be available for businesses forced to shut down during Nashville’s water conservation efforts.
“That is the discussion,” Cain said. “They did not leave with any agreement.”
• A bill that would overhaul the way some restaurants apply for beer permits advanced through the Metro Council on second reading.
The bill, sponsored by Councilman Jamie Hollin, targets restaurants that are within 100 feet of residences, which by Metro law are not allowed to sell beer. To receive a beer license, a restaurant owner must currently go through a seven-month long approval process, which is dragged out by trips to Metro commissions and three council votes.
Hollin’s bill would streamline the process, requiring that restaurants 100 feet from residences only receive approval from the beer board, as well as the council through a single-resolution vote. The council would also hold public hearings on restaurants that are seeking such exemptions.