3 Lebanon planning commissioners resign after mayor takes vote - WSMV News 4

3 Lebanon planning commissioners resign after mayor takes vote

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A Middle Tennessee mayor did not like how a vote was going to go, so he exercised a rarely used provision to be able to change the outcome.

Some in Lebanon said he over stepped his bounds and quit as commissioners.

The controversial vote happened regarding the four-story My Place Hotel, a hotel Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead said the city needs and wants.

However, it is now the reason three planning commissioners resigned.

It was last week when the mayor used a legal option to vote instead of city commissioner Dan Mack.

"Having the authority is one thing but exercising this is another. I know of no other time this occurred," said Mack. "Under the circumstances, after the mayor decided to actually replace my vote that day with his own, I felt I had little choice other than to resign my seat on the commission."

Mack, unlike the mayor, said he wanted to vote against the proposed hotel.

Pamela Black and Beulah Garrett also resigned on Friday.

Black told Channel 4 News, "Some recent decisions have shown me that the Planning Commission that I have volunteered for the past 12 years has moved in a direction where opposing opinions are not welcome."

Channel 4 News did talk to Craighead who said the reason he took Mack's vote was for the best interest of the city. 

He said the Wilson County Expo Center is opening this year and the city needs more rooms. 

Mack said he was not against the hotel but wanted it to be turned another direction on the lot which would have delayed the process, something he felt the mayor was not willing to wait for.

"I do have a strong belief that the provision in the City Charter allowing the mayor to replace a commissioner's vote at his discretion be removed permanently. Why would anyone volunteer serving on the Planning Commission want to have their vote replaced or diminished by such a maneuver,? said Mack.

Craighead said he is shocked the three resigned because he considers them friends. He will be appointing three new members of the planning commission.

The hotel is expected to be completed by spring.

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