‘Environmental Racism’ Protested

Holding tanks are seen at Onsite Environmental on Baptist World Center Drive. Area residents want Onsite moved far away. Photo by Winnie Forrester

By Clint Confehr

NASHVILLE, TN — The Haynes-Trinity Neighborhood Coalition protested a grease and oil disposal business Tuesday at the Metro Police North Precinct building an hour before Councilman DeCosta Hastings’ district meeting there.

Residents oppose relocation of Onsite Environmental, 1421 Baptist World Center Drive (previously known as Combs Industrial Service) to 2832 Whites Creek Pike, and prefer that the business move far away from their homes, neighborhood coalition leaders said.

“This move would clear the way for up to 15-story buildings to be built on its present Baptist World Center Drive site, gentrifying the existing minority neighborhood,” the coalition alleged.

Last weekend, Hastings said, “They’re looking to bring some retail to that part of the community.” They, the 2nd District councilman said, are Dale & Associates, including Roy Dale, an engineer and former councilman. “They’re doing the site work and engineering.”

Retail is OK, but the grease plant must go, the coalition protested; “We deserve commercial and retail shops that complement … neighborhoods …[but]… It is no longer appropriate to have industrial waste plants located in … our community.”

Haynes Manor Neighborhood Association Vice President Perlie Murray-Dunn, a representative to the coalition, says the grease plant “will cause homes to be decreased in value. We also think it will affect our health. We feel like we’re being dumped on. We oppose it from being moved and we want it gone totally. There are other places that they can put that grease plant. Mr. Hastings, at one point, told me that he would pull the bill, but he didn’t and at a meeting he said that if his constituents opposed it then he would be against it.”

Aug. 7, Hastings voted to give the grease plant a second of three required votes toward permitting the move.

“The relocation will make millions for the owners in the sale of their property and line the pockets of the developers, land engineers and attorneys, but offer nothing to the long-time residents in the community except a steady stream of trucks causing noise, air pollution and safety concerns,” the coalition states.

The coalition uses a 2017 Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency assessment of fair housing to support its position. North Nashville and Bordeaux (including District 2, that’s predominantly African-American) suffer disparities … by the location of environmental health hazards and have less access to environmentally healthy neighborhoods. MDHA “references one of the contributing factors as the land use and zoning laws,” the coalition states, complaining, “We host a rock quarry, asphalt plant, the existing grease plant and many industrial companies next door to our residential communities.”

Coalition members include people at Haynes Manor, Haynes Heights, Brooklyn Heights, Resha Heights, Chateau Valley, Trinity Hills, Haynes Garden, Lock One Park, and Riverside Seventh Day Adventist and Born Again Church.

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