Update 11 a.m.: A Metro email may explain why many East Nashville residents thought they were in for a discussion on the Gallatin Pike Specific Plan.
An email sent by Billy Fields of the mayor’s office on Sept. 22 reads “Metropolitan Council representatives Jamie Hollin, Mike Jameson, Erik Cole and Karen Bennett want to meet to discuss ‘SP’ zoning on Gallatin Road prior to the next Metropolitan Council meeting.”
More than 150 people attended the East Nashville caucus meeting last night. Most seemed ready to have a large discussion about the pros and cons of SP zoning guidelines.
The meeting instead turned into a discussion about an amendment that addresses only a limited portion of the East Nashville corridor.
A standing-room-only crowd filled the Metro police East Precinct Thursday night to weigh in on the suddenly controversial set of zoning guidelines known as the Gallatin Pike Specific Plan.
But that debate never happened.
Instead, the audience discussed an amendment to rezone only a limited stretch of the Gallatin Pike corridor near Cahal Avenue from mixed housing to mixed use –– that, and a separate bill that would create a special exemption for a “doggie daycare.”
Passed in 2007 after a series of community meetings, the Gallatin Pike SP requires future development along the road to abide by new landscaping, signage, and street setback standards, while limiting future uses.
Metro Councilman Jamie Hollin, who represents parts of East Nashville, has called the guidelines a hindrance to future growth and a nuisance for developers to navigate. Hollin has filed a bill that would exempt his council district from the SP’s guidelines.
At first, it appeared like the Gallatin Pike SP would drive the discussion. Hollin started off the meeting with an impassioned appeal on why he isn’t against specific plans on principle, but is only against this particular set of guidelines because he believes it’s not consistent with the market demand of the area.
But Councilman Mike Jameson, who also represents East Nashville but supports the Gallatin Pike SP, spoke next and stopped Hollin in his tracks.
Citing an email from Hollin, Jameson said the original purpose of the meeting was to discuss only the amendment and the doggie-daycare exemption.
“I’m going to gather, based on the pre-printed signs with the SP and the slash-mark drawn up ... that you got a notice somewhat to the contrary,” Jameson told the crowd before going through an equally impassioned appeal on how the Gallatin Pike SP has not thwarted development.
“If you want to have a debate about the merits of the SP, let me bring my people, too,” Jameson concluded.
The crowd eventually got back on agenda.