After putting nearly 800 properties into a special zoning area, Metro Nashville's plan to improve Gallatin Road was thrown out by an appeals court ruling.
That move to elevate standards in the area was controversial. There were fights along with support, but now those businesses can say goodbye to the so-called "special zoning" plan which has been found unconstitutional.
Chad Baker, owner of The Dog Spot, was so mad at the city for telling him how to arrange parking and landscaping at his east Nashville doggie daycare business, he nearly went to jail.
He was in violation of Metro's SP plan for the Gallatin Road area - the same plan a judge has tossed out.
"What it means is that the special zoning in effect in that area has been dissolved as of Monday afternoon and all of those 700-plus parcels go back to the original zoning," said Craig Owensby, with Metro Planning.
Now, Baker feels like this proves he was right.
"I was fined over $5,000 by the city. I was sentenced to jail for five nights, which I appealed and won. Legal fees were upwards of $10,000, so I would love to get that money back. If [Mayor] Karl Dean wants to send me a check, I would certainly appreciate that, but it feels good to be on the winning side," Baker said.
Down the street, Courtney Webb opened up the Hey Rooster General Store two months ago, but there's still no sign on the front of the business. She's been waiting for special zoning permits.
"Now, I can do that, which is great for my business, but I also want to follow the intention of SP," Webb said.
Webb is left with mixed feelings, and the city is left with figuring out what's next. At one point, it felt like special zoning was going to revitalize Gallatin Road.
"It's like a lot of the pikes, the outlying streets, were basically done to accommodate car traffic, not to make them more walkable or make a neighborhood situation," Owensby said.
But for The Dog Spot, it was just too much government in the business of small business.
"I just feel like it's un-American," Baker said.
The Metro Planning Department admits the ruling creates a mess. Some 766 properties now revert back to their original zoning, so how should codes be enforced now?
That will take the city more time to answer.
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