Friday, June 12, 2009

May Town Overview

MAY TOWN: It's back and why you should be worried

What they want:

May Town is the gigantic city-in-a-pasture proposed by landowners Jack and Frank May and downtown developer Tony Giarratana. Their proposal calls for a city the size of downtown; Nashville, with 40,000 workers (downtown has 47,000 right now), 5000 condos (downtown has about 3000, with many vacancies), a 15-story hotel, and all the related amenities - all on 600 acres of cowpasture in Bells Bend. They say this will make lots of tax income for the city, largely by attracting all those companies who go to Cool Springs.

There has been NO projection, either by the land speculators or by the city, of infrastructure costs. No one has any idea of the potential cost to you, the taxpayer.

What we want:
We want to keep it country.

The Corridor between Bells Bend and Beaman Park is Nashville's back yard, inside Davidson County, but still rural. We already have a new cooperative organic farm project, an long-standing commercial turnip patch, two sod farms, free-range chicken eggs, a commercial cut flower business, a number of beef cattle, and an endless array of personal gardens. We have two knock-out city parks, and have had a rare pair of whooping cranes spend several weeks here over the last two years.

You get the idea - we can make money, support workers, and make Nashville a cool place to live.

There are NO taxpayer costs for this version of Bells Bend.


Current access is only by a tiny two-lane country road, which both the Maytown people and the neighborhood plan say will not be widened or disturbed. So no access at all.

Maytown landowners say they will build the first bridge across the Cumberland, free near the prison off Briley Parkway and Centennial Boulevard. For a long time they said the whole thing would only need one bridge. Anyone who has been downtown during rushhour, with its dozen interstate exits and its more than 50 surface street access points, finds this claim simply not believable.

We have a hard time believing that Homeland Security, the police, emergency response vehicles, or firefighters would agree with a plan for a single exit for a city of this size.

They might give us one bridge free, but you, the taxpayer, will pay for bridges two, three, and four, plus all the connectors, plus widening Briley Parkway and I-40, plus, maybe a rail line. Plus, plus, plus...

The May brothers bought the 1500 acres after another proposal, this one for 2000, then 1200 condos, was not approved by the planning commission, largely due to inaccessibility—the property can be reached only by a tiny two-lane country road stretching 6 miles off Highway 12.

The small neighborhood, totaling about 350 households, worked for nearly two years with the planning commission staff on a neighborhood plan, which would help maintain the rural character of the area. This plan is now in place, and Maytown, grotesquely out of character for the plan, is trying to obtain a special designation to allow it to be built. In August, 2008 the Planning Commission, voted to put this request on hold to allow more information. The request to support Maytown’s development is again before the Planning Commission, and will then go to Metro Council.

The Planning Commission staff is recommending that the Commission approve the Maytown proposal at its June 25  meeting. The proposal then goes to Metro Council. If the Commission votes it down, it will require a larger majority for approval at the Council.

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