Neighborhood association leaders stepping into Belle Meade Plaza development controversy

Leaders send letter to Metro Council members asking for answers
WSMV's Sharon Danquah reports what could be next for Belle Meade Plaza.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:52 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 9:17 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The plan to redevelop Belle Meade Plaza is still raising concerns to community members.

Neighborhood leaders said they have sent a letter to Metro Council members asking for answers to a long list of questions.

It’s a situation neighborhood leaders said they don’t understand. They’ve asked to see a traffic plan on the development at the intersection of White Bridge Pike and Harding Pike, but instead they’re constantly given something else.

“To move forward with a huge development without addressing the infrastructure is a terrible disservice to the community,” Bell Newton said.

After attending all three community meetings about the Belle Meade Plaza development plans, Newton, president of a West Nashville neighborhood association, said she’s frustrated.

“They say that traffic will be less because they are removing the Kroger, but the Kroger is actually being relocated three-tenths of a mile down the street, so that still is a net increase in traffic for the overall area,” Newton said.

She’s not the only one up in arms. More than 30 neighborhood association leaders have now sent a letter to Metro Councilwoman Kathleen Murphy asking for a detailed plan on the new development.

“The letter was intended to get a deferral at the Feb. 9 Metro Planning Commission meeting so she has said that she will make that happen,” neighborhood association partner Kate Parrish said. “We also want more in-person community meetings so that we can hear from the developers and from Council Woman Murphy what their plans are.”

City leaders said a development company is requesting rezoning to build a high-rise hotel, condos, a large green space and a retail area at the site of the current Belle Meade Plaza.

“We are very excited for the redevelopment of Belle Meade Plaza, but from what we have seen or the current proposal, we don’t think that it is mindful development,” Newton said.

After constantly asking for answers and instead being given more opportunities to voice concerns, Newton and many others believe the approval of this rezoning request may mean more issues for other areas.

“If this development moves through then, wouldn’t all the other developers be allowed to do that too?” Newton said. “That would be so much more traffic and this intersection is already going from a D to and E and soon an F rating.”

A spokesperson for AJ Development says they are working with Councilwoman Murphy to create the best plan for the area, while listening to community concerns. WSMV4 reached out to Murphy for comment about the plans but have not heard back from her.

Neighborhood leaders are now hoping for the announcement of another community meeting focused on Belle Meade Plaza.