Metro Council passes second reading of Brown-Forman rezoning request

Brown-Forman plans to use a portion of their 290 acre lot (marked here in blue) located near Motlow Barns Road and Cashion Road to build a hotel. On Monday, the Metro Council passed the second of three required readings of their rezoning request. (Graphic from TN Property Assessor)

LOCAL NEWS — Brown-Forman is one step closer to getting a green light to built a new hotel on land they own near the Lynchburg Historic District. On Monday, the Metro Council approved the second but not the third reading of a rezoning request from Jack Daniel’s parent company after member Gordon Millsaps amended the motion to only included 130 acres instead of the entire 290 acre lot.

The Metro Planning Commission recommended the rezoning and sent it to the Council for consideration in November. Brown-Forman representatives appeared at the Planning Commission meeting and before the Council in both November and December to answer questions about the rezoning.

In the Planning Commission and November meeting, few details were available because all those working on the project were under a non-disclosure agreement. In December, Jack Daniel Assistant Manager Melvin Keebler announced that the distillery was in discussions with Hilton to use “roughly one third” of that property to build a new hotel.

On Monday night, the distillery’s Marsha Manley Hale appeared before the Council with a detailed map showing the approximate location of the proposed hotel.

“We need hotel rooms,” she stated. “According to the Brown-Forman travel agent, we spend about $300,000 a year for rooms in surrounding counties and Nashville. That’s just our corporate travel and doesn’t include tourists. That’s a lot of revenue that is leaving our county.”

Hale stated the proposed hotel would be located at the back of the acreage and “hidden from the public eye.”

“We want to keep Lynchburg the same. We’re not trying to hurt this town. When you think of Jack Daniel’s, you think of Lynchburg. When you think of Lynchburg, you think of Jack Daniel’s.”

Hale also explained that Brown-Forman planned to donate the land that abuts the hotel footprint to the Land Trust for Tennessee, an accredited conservation organization that seeks to protect the unique landscape of Tennessee – from rolling farmland to historic sites.

During open discussion member Sunny Rae Moorehead stated that she felt like approving the Brown-Forman rezoning and the R3A zoning category was “opening a gate” and requested that the item go back to the planning commission for more details before being voted on by the Council.

Her motion failed by a 8-6 votes with John Taylor, Meghan Bailey, Arvis Bobo, Denning Harder, Gerald Burnett, Shane Taylor, Houston Lindsey, and Gordon Millsaps voting against and Wayne Hawkins, Peggy Sue Blackburn, Bradley Dye, Amy Cashion, Moorehead, and Keith Moses voting yes.

With that, the motion returned to its original form. During open discussion, member Millsaps asked to amend the approval to the estimated hotel footprint or 130 acres. That motion passed by an 11-3 margin with Moses, Millsaps, Lindsey, Shane Taylor, Cashion, Harder, Dye, Blackburn, Bailey, Burnett, and John Taylor voting yes and Moorehead, Bobo, and Hawkins voting no.

Then Moorehead made a motion to defer the third reading until the February meeting. That motion passed by a 8-6 margin with Hawkins, John Taylor, Bailey, Dye, Cashion, Shane Taylor, Moorehead, and Moses voting yes and Blackburn, Bobo, Harder, Burnett, Lindsey, and Millsaps voting no.

The Metro Council will vote on the third and final reading at the February 21 meeting. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only locally-owned newspaper in Lynchburg and also the only woman-owned newspaper in Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}