Former Tiger basketball star Burks defends Buehler homes - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Former Tiger basketball star Burks defends Buehler homes

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A well known face lined up Monday on the side of a controversial home developer.

Despite suffering critical injuries recently in a shooting, former Tigers and Grizzlies basketball star Antonio Burks spoke out about a controversy involving the type of home his mother lives in.  Burks' mother has lived in a Buehler home for 10 years. 

"I think it can make a lot of difference for families who are struggling, trying to get homes and trying to get out the apartment environment," Burkes said Monday.

Burks added that he feels the homes are great for mothers like his who need safe and affordable housing.

"Everybody can't buy a house," he said. "My mother, she couldn't buy her first house."

Currently, plans to transfer 125 vacant parcels of land to housing developer Harold Buehler are on hold.  Shelby County Commissioners delayed Buehler's efforts to obtain the lots to build rental houses on them because there was no public announcement, as the law requires. 

"The county attorney said there was no notice," Brooks said. "We failed to comply with a notice."

But critics are worried Buehler's homes are not safe.

"These are dangerous structures," Brooks said. "These are death traps.  That's the part that concerns me."

People against the plan also say Buehler builds homes that don't fit in with their neighborhoods, and that he owes back taxes to the county.

"We paid over 726 thousand dollars in county taxes in the last 12 months," Buehler said. "They keep saying we owe taxes, but we've paid the taxes."

However, supporters say Buehler is only trying to help build up inner-city neighborhoods.

"The inner city looks like a war zone," community activist Darrell Wright said. "If Mr. Buehler wants to build this community up, then let him do it."

Shelby County Commissioners will hold a special hearing on the Buehler Homes Project this Wednesday.  A final vote could take place next Monday.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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