Vote on transferring land to controversial developer delayed - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Vote on transferring land to controversial developer delayed

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Talks about transferring 140 vacant parcels of land to affordable housing developer Harold Buehler came to a dead stop during a Shelby County Commission meeting Monday.

Commissioners had to delay voting on the matter because of a legal loophole.

"All we're asking for is a two week delay so we can have a closer look and make sure we are not creating death traps," Commissioner Henri Brooks said.

Brooks, who expressed concerns about the safety of Buehler's homes, said the discussion about transferring the land should not go on because there was no public announcement of the meeting, as the law requires.

The Commission's attorney said Brooks was right, but Commissioner Steve Mulroy argued against a delay.

"I think that we have given this item more accumulated attention, discussion, detail, debate, dissection and community input than just about any item we've done since I don't know how long," Mulroy said.

Before the discussion was delayed, a group of women, all dressed in red, sat in protest of Buehler's project.  Resident Irene Pryor said Buehler is turning North Memphis and Klondike into a rental communities

"We would like to have some houses in our community that are affordable houses for people to buy, not to rent," she said.

Others, like resident Karen Nelson, argued that no other developer is willing to invest in those areas, and said Buehler has helped stop crime.

"Before Mr. Buehler started purchasing these lots, they were vacant or dilapidated homes," Nelson said.

Commissioners will either continue the discussion at a special meeting in a week, or at their next regularly scheduled commission meeting in two weeks.    

Meanwhile, Buehler says the delays could interfere with his deadline on a federal grant to fund the project.

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