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VOL. 132 | NO. 12 | Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Council Could Delay Turner Dairy Vote Again

By Bill Dries

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Memphis City Council members are likely to delay a vote Tuesday, Jan. 17, on a parking lot for Turner Dairy Holdings LLC in Overton Square that is part of the dairy’s expansion.

The planned development request was delayed by the council in December and Turner Dairy is expected to seek another delay at a 1:45 p.m. council committee session. Such delays are routinely granted by the council.

The development item is part of an expansion that Turner Dairy executives have said they intend to move forward with even if they don’t get approval for the parking lot at 2018 Court Ave., the site of the old Backstreet Night Club.

Turner Dairy is expanding in Overton Square and wants a new parking lot north of the facility. It is expected to ask the city council to delay voting on that until March. 

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

The development has drawn opposition from citizens who contend the dairy, which has been there since before the development of the entertainment district in the 1970s, is incompatible with Overton Square in its current resurgence.

The dairy is seeking a delay to the March 21 council session.

The council meets at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St. Follow the meeting @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols for live coverage and updates on committee sessions earlier in the council day.

On the agenda for third and final reading Tuesday is an ordinance that would amend the city’s policy for selling surplus city property.

The proposal by council member Kemp Conrad comes after the city of Whiteville came to Conrad with an offer to buy two surplus used garbage vehicles for $1,000 each.

The council rejected the offer at its last meeting of 2016 after council members raised questions about the value of the two 20-year-old trucks.

Conrad’s proposal requires the city’s real estate manager to take bids after a public notice conveys that items are for sale. The manager would make a recommendation to the council on such sales, including a valuation of the property from the real estate manager if the estimated value appears to be $10,000 or less, and a valuation from an qualified independent appraiser if the estimated value appears to be more than $10,000.

In a 9:15 a.m. committee session, the council gets its first detailed look at a $1 million plan for an overhaul of Morris Park in the Victorian Village area between Poplar and Washington avenues. The city has been working toward a redesign of the park for several years.

And council members discuss the future of the Beale Street entertainment district at a 11:15 a.m. committee session.

The council discussion is likely to take in a recent federal court lawsuit disputing that the late director of the Beale Street Development Corp., Randle Catron, agreed to a settlement with the city and Performa Entertainment in which BSDC gave up the master lease with the city for control of the district.

Performa, headed by John Elkington, is the company that developed and ran the district since its 1983 reopening in a sublease with the BSDC.

The lawsuit also seeks to overturn the district’s use of a $10 cover charge this past summer, alleging it is racially discriminatory.

The lawsuit by Catron’s widow, Lucille Catron, was cited by the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority in December as the reason it can’t move ahead with hiring a day-to-day management firm for the district.

The authority, under terms of the disputed 2013 settlement, holds the master lease with the city and the BSDC becomes a cultural organization based at the Historic Daisy Theater that focuses on tours of the district and highlighting the history and heritage of Beale Street.

Meanwhile, the 21 Beale Street group that was among those seeking the management contract through two rounds of requests for proposal, or RFPs, said last month it is considering all options to get the contract.

The authority broke off contract talks with 21 Beale in October and voted to continue using the Downtown Memphis Commission to run the district for the authority indefinitely.

The DMC has been running the district for three years.

PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751