Community group protests transfer of properties to developer - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Community group protests transfer of properties to developer

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) – Citizens circulated an email protesting the transfer of more than 100 properties to a developer in Memphis they say is behind on his own taxes.

Competing developers, citizens and members of several community groups showed up at Monday's Shelby County Commission meeting to debate if those 140 parcels of land should be transferred to affordable housing developer Harold Buehler.

The land would be converted into rentals.

"I know him," Community development leader Jeffrey Higgs said. "He does some good stuff, and he does some other stuff as well."

Some wanted in on the business to develop homes for purchase instead of homes for rent.

"At the least we should slow this down because others would like to have these lots," developer Eddie Hayes said.

Neighbors said it would be disastrous to have more rentals instead of homeowners.

"We've got a lot of homeowner dwellings in our neighborhood.  We'd like to have more of those," homeowner Scott Banberry said.

Others said the county must be strategic.

"Maybe we could do them in an intentional manner, where we should make sure there's a balance between renters and home ownership," community development leader Eric Robertson said.

Then there were those who came to Buehler's defense.

"I’ve stayed in a Buehler home nine years, almost 10, and I love what he's doing," renter Connie Burkes said.

"If Mr. Buehler had not had these properties, can you imagine what they'd look like?" North Memphis resident Eddie Starks added.

Commissioners were concerned that Buehler is behind on taxes on more than 700 properties he currently owns, but they talked about a payment plan.

After exhaustive talks, commissioners decided to delay the vote for two weeks so they could gather more information.

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