Bordeaux and the rest of District 1 residents are alarmed after they discovered that a bill has passed two readings, approving plans for a solid waste processing facility there. The facility is scheduled to be opened at 4648 Ashland City Highway.
According to District 54 candidate Scott Davis who helped hit the brakes on the project: “It is a good project, but not a good project for Bordeaux. We’ve gotten enough landfills”
According to the bill that will be on third reading Tuesday night, Resource Capture, Inc. has submitted an application, with plans, for a solid waste processing facility to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Division of Solid Waste Management. The proposed facility would consist of a processing facility with the amount of waste to be handled, processed and/or stored by the proposed facility to total 30 tons per day, with a maximum storage capacity of 30 cubic yards.
Residents were shocked to find that they were almost subjected to the facility without community input, and were only made aware because of a requirement for notification thanks to the Jackson Law.
Designed to keep the landfill owned by Waste Management from expanding, the Jackson law requires approval from the Metro Council for a new landfill or landfill expansion.
“Without the hard fought Jackson law, the community would surely have been subjected to another waste facility,” said Davis. “I’m glad I voted for the Jackson law (twice), because it made this go public.”
The waste facility project is being spearheaded by Seema Prasad, owner of the high-end, farm-to-table restaurant, Miel.
Prasad says that she spoke to many community leaders and has gotten nothing but positive responses until now and that the facility should not be subject to the Jackson Law because it will be used for composting.
However, a study of the area states that part of what has made the community ‘blighted’ is a compost facility.
According to the Metropolitan Development Housing Agency, “The area is blighted with a number of deleterious land uses, including a closed landfill, which has been converted into a nature preserve. Other deleterious land uses in the vicinity include a county cemetery, a compost facility, a women’s prison, a juvenile detention center, and the county’s drug court. As a result, new development has been nearly non-existent in this area for decades.”
Newly elected Rep. Jonathan Hall, who has only been the District 1 representative for a few days, heard about the facility and called emergency meetings, on Tuesday—with another to be held on Saturday at 11 am at the Northwest Family YMCA.
“I found out [for] the first time when everyone else did,” said Hall.
“Why are we just hearing about it,” said a meeting attendee. How does it go through Metro Council reading without anyone hearing about it? We’re tired of being dumped on.”
“We’re making sure that on third reading, which is Tuesday at 6 pm, that the people have their say and are allowed to have a public hearing to express their feelings on the matter,” said Scott Davis, who along with being the councilman for District 5 is also the Minority Caucus chairman.
Davis was able to employ a rarely used move with the help of acting Vice Mayor Sheri Weiner to make sure the bill will be subject to a public hearing.
According to council rules, public hearings on zoning bills may be held at any council meeting if the vice mayor determines circumstances warrant holding additional public hearings.
Without the move, the bill very likely would have gone through council without public comment.
Prasad says that having the public discussion puts the project in jeopardy because she may lose her TDEC grant, which makes the project possible.
“This doesn’t make any sense. This is not something that has to go through the Jackson law, because it is recycling,” said Prasad. “At literally the very 11th hour, TDEC and Public Works decided to take this through the Jackson Law—such that it would take me up to the very deadline of TDEC’s grant that supports the first part of the project. It’s meant to be a community benefit.”
“It’s very similar to the fight years ago,” said Bordeaux resident. “Problem is we’ve been 20 years trying to protect this area. This is just one thing after another that people are trying to dump on this neighborhood.”