City Council returns to Memphis 3.0 plan, Graceland development deal

By Published: April 02, 2019 6:35 PM CT

Memphis City Council members return Tuesday to two items delayed at their last meeting of March.

The council is to take the first of three votes on the Memphis 3.0 long-range land use and development plan that was delayed at the March 19 meeting. The council also votes on the agreement between the city administration and Graceland for further expansion of Graceland’s Whitehaven campus. That too was delayed at the previous council session.

Since that meeting, Graceland executives met with residents of the Bluebird Estates area who had expressed concern about the future plans, leading to the delay in the council vote.

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The plan covers an off-campus manufacturing center in Whitehaven and relocating the RV park that borders Bluebird Estates as well as plans for 30 new cabins. It also includes 80,000 square feet of new soundstages and expanded retail and exhibit space.

It does not include development of a 6,200-seat arena Graceland had planned earlier. The arena is awaiting a state appeals court ruling on whether it would violate Memphis and Shelby County governments’ noncompete clause with the Memphis Grizzlies to operate FedExForum for both local governments.

The 20-year Memphis 3.0 plan was delayed after a group of North Memphis activists led by Carnita Atwater, head of the community development corporation for the Firestone area, said they had not been consulted by city planners.

The city administration said they were consulted but planned to talk with the group further during the interim. At a weekend protest in North Memphis, Atwater said she and the group would be back at City Hall Tuesday calling for the body to vote down the citywide plan, the first long range land use and development plan the city has had since the early 1980s.

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Meanwhile, council members debated two weeks ago how the 3.0 plan would mesh with the process they use for considering and voting on planned developments and zoning changes.

Council members have questioned whether the new plan would change parts of the process. The plan would be another set of guidelines but would not change the process aside from adding another detailed recommendation to the Office of Planning and Development staff reports that council members rely on heavily in making such decisions.

The council meets at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St. Follow the council meeting @bdriesdm for live coverage and updates of council committee sessions earlier in the day.

At a 9:15 a.m. budget committee session, the council will consider $6.7 million in cash flow funding for the Memphis Area Transit Authority to be paid back to the city once federal funding is distributed to MATA.

In the only planning and zoning case on Tuesday’s agenda, the council considers a planned development on the northwest corner of Sycamore View and Pleasant View roads. Three single-family residential parcels on the 2.6 acres would be converted to a two-lot retail center that would include an O’Reilly auto parts store. Other retail is situated next to the property.

The council is expected to set an April 16 date to hear and decide an appeal of the townhouse development at 2115 Jefferson Ave., two blocks north of Overton Square. Critics have nicknamed the three-story infill development “Noah’s Ark.” The appeal is of a Land Use Control Board decision approving the development by Laurynas Petrauskas. Petrauskas has built a similar row of four townhouses across the street at 2112 Jefferson Ave.

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The council is also expected to set the same date to hear and vote on proposed modifications to the site plan for the City Cottages development by New Bellevue Baptist Church, Apple Partners and Eddie Kircher Construction. The set of 16 single-family cottages at 627 N. Trezevant St. and 643 McConnell St. would be changed to bigger lots, add two more homes to the original plan, and reconfigure the homes with new rear-access service drives.

The project originally drew vocal opposition from neighboring homeowners.


Memphis City Council Memphis 3.0 Graceland
Bill Dries

Bill Dries

Bill Dries covers city government and politics. He is a native Memphian and has been a reporter for more than 40 years.

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