Nashville council OKs land sale

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The Nashville Town Council voted 3-1 to sell a vacant municipally-owned lot at the northwest corner of South Boddie and West Church streets to Ashley Whitley.

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Staff Writer

Saturday, February 9, 2019

NASHVILLE — A man who's relocating his business from one part of Nashville into downtown got the go-ahead from the Town Council majority to purchase an adjacent, municipally-owned vacant corner lot, but not without dissent from one of the council members.

Councilwoman Louise Hinton at Tuesday evening's council meeting stated "a resounding no" in voting against selling the lot as surplus for $32,680 to Ashley Whitley.

The lot is at the northwest corner of South Boddie and West Church streets and Whitley plans to move his business, the Scooter Station, into a building adjacent to the lot.

Hinton argued she believes the lot is too valuable to the town to be listed as surplus.

Specifically, she cited a need for more available parking downtown due to the limited number of spaces along Washington Street, which is the town's main thoroughfare.

She said many years ago the town made a trade with Nash County by selling the county the old library building, with the deal calling for receiving the old book depository lots.

Additionally, she noted the county took down the old library building and mitigated environmental concerns there.

"And we were so thrilled that we thought that we had a piece of property that could be used for parking at some point," she said.

She said a revitalization of South Boddie from Washington has never materialized, but she said to sell the property for $32,000, "I feel like we've just given it away."

She said business owners in Nashville have asked many times about what the town is going to do about parking because of the situation along East Washington.

"So, in the future, I'd like for someone to tell me: What will we do about parking?" she said. "We've let this go for $32,000."

The council voted 3 to 1 in favor of selling the lot because no one after a 10-day published notice period had offered a higher bid on the property.

The subject was extensively discussed at the council's Jan. 8 meeting.

Whitley, of Momeyer, intends to relocate his scooter sales and service business from the 700 block of South Alston Street just off the railroad line.

Whitley told the council in January the sale of the building off South Boddie "is pretty much a done deal."

Whitley said he needed to acquire the municipally-owned land so his employees could park their vehicles and for them to be able to offload scooters from trailers.

Whitley also said he might display a couple of the new scooters outside around the corner.

Mayor Donald Street, noting the lot has a slope, asked Whitley whether he plans to do land leveling.

Whitley replied in the affirmative.

"I just need to get in there and get to work so I can make the money to do all that," he said.

Hinton argued this was the last piece of property the town has available to convert into a parking area.

"I just think we're making a big mistake surplusing this piece of land,” she said. “Where else are we going to find a piece of land for parking?"

Councilman Larry Taylor asked Whitley whether he’d have any objection to allowing parking on the lot when the business isn’t open and an event, such as the Nashville Blooming Festival, is going on.

"Absolutely not," he said. "It's no problem. I'd be more than willing to do that."

Under questioning from Councilwoman Kate Burns, Whitley said the lack of having the lot would be detrimental to his business because there's only a small open area in front of the building off South Boddie.

Street noted there was once a plan to convert South Boddie into a one-lane street with angled parking, which would have created approximately a dozen parking places.

He said the reconfiguration depended on another business locating along the street, but he said the proposal didn't materialize.

He also said in obtaining the lot from Nash County, the plan was at some point in the future for the town to sell the land to someone to use for something.

"And now we’ve got a viable offer here," he said.