Photograph: Jeremy Harris; From the “It Looks Good On You“ PSA sponsored by The East Nashvillian

East Side Buzz, Friday, July 10

New Life for Home Businesses and New COVID Concerns 

Be Seen in the Pages of The East Nashvillian!
A new issue of The East Nashvillian is now in the works! Just like our city, we’re still standing proud and ready to bring you the exclusive coverage of how recent events — the aftermath of the March 3 tornado, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new push for racial justice — are affecting your neighbors. To place your ad in our new issue, contact our sales team today at sales@theeasnashvillian.com.

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COVID-19 Cases Continues to Surge
With Nashville back in Phase Two of the Roadmap to Reopening Nashville and a continuing rise in new cases, the Mayor and Metro Health Department continue to emphasize the need for all Nashvillians to follow Public Health Order 8 that took effect on June 29, mandating the use of facial coverings or masks in indoor and outdoor public spaces.

On Thursday, July 9 the Metro Health Department officials announced an increase of 688 COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the highest one day increase since the pandemic began. Both the Transmission Rate and the 14-Day New Case Trend condition warning are now red as the number of new cases continues to escalate.

Downtown Nashville has now become one of the hotspots for transmission. Last weekend, large crowds flocked to Nashville’s bar district on Lower Broadway and crowded into “transportainment” vehicles despite the cancellation of the Independence Day fireworks and the closure of many bars.

In an effort to slow transmission of COVID-19, Metro announced that Metro police are now authorized to cite people with a Class C misdemeanor and a fine up to $50 for not wearing a mask in public. The announcement came on the heels of Gov. Bill Lee granting mayors in 89 Tennessee counties the authority to issue mask mandates related to COVID-19.

As of Thursday morning, there have been a total of 13,440 cases of COVID-19 reported in Davidson County, an increase of 2,326 cases over last week’s total. More information and updates on Metro’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic are available at asafenashville.org.

Home Businesses Open For Business!
Metro Council members voted at their July 7 meeting to approve a new ordinance that would allow Nashville home-based businesses — including recording studios, music instructors, beauty shops, and tutors — to operate legally. The vote was 26 to 13 in favor, with one abstention. The bill is now in the hands of Mayor John Cooper awaiting his signature.

The long-waged battle over the legality of home businesses, and particularly home recording studios, has been embodied in East Nashvillian Lij Shaw’s personal story over the last five years. Shaw’s business, Toy Box Studio, located in a detached garage at his Renraw neighborhood home, was shut down by Metro in the fall of 2015. Years of appeals and failed applications for waivers, along with several attempts to amend the law, including a lawsuit, made Shaw the de facto spokesperson for one of Nashville’s most ubiquitous but off-the-radar home businesses.

Liz Shaw pictured at Toy Box Studios

“It just feels so good to see so many people affected by this in a positive way,” Shaw told The East Nashvillian. “I got so many messages from people who are appreciative in the music community, hairstylists, people who work in the healing arts, and more. Everyone was thanking me, but this is everyone’s celebration. I just feel great about coming to the end of this long race.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and a recognition of an increase in many individuals working from home helped boost the bill toward its passage.  However, opponents have argued that the bill may open loopholes leading to disruptions in neighborhoods similar to the problems caused in recent years by the proliferation of absentee, short-term-rental landlords. Shaw disagrees with this argument. “Some people are comparing this to Airbnbs but this is not the case,“ he says. “You have to be a Nashville resident to work from your home. People who choose to work from home do so because it’s the right thing for them to do. Now they don’t have to do it in the shadows. They can breathe easy that their time, investment, and energy is not going into a business that will be pulled out from under them.”

Under the law, permits for home businesses must be renewed each year. The law applies to the following types of businesses:

  • Personal instruction in the arts, academic tutoring, fitness or crafts classes
  • Video and audio production. Staging, and recording (inside work only with noise restrictions)
  • Artisan and small manufacturing, including storage, sales, and distribution of such products as
    beauty, barber, and spa services
  • General office work

(Auto and equipment repair and manufacturing and construction work are specifically banned)
Allowed home businesses must follow these rules:

  • Businesses are limited to 1000 square feet and no more than 20 percent of the home
  • Only one non-resident employee will be allowed on-site
  • A maximum of six customers per day will be allowed, with no more than three customers per hour, Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., by appointment only.
  • No business signs or other outdoor indications of commercial activity are permitted, and the residential character of the home must be maintained
  • Commercial vehicles may not be parked outside the residence and only one passenger vehicle associated with the business is allowed on-site

The current practice of limiting investigations and closures in response to specific complaints will continue. Metro Codes officials do not have the authority to enter a residence without the owner’s permission unless they are investigating a complaint.

The complete text of the bill, as amended, is available at nashville.gov.

Blackberry Picking Time!
A reminder that submissions for the first Friends of Shelby Park & Bottoms Blackberry Recipe Competition end today! For this virtual event, everyone in the community is invited to submit their favorite or most ambitious blackberry recipe for a chance to some sweet prizes. Entries must be submitted via social media or email and will be judged on photographic presentation, recipe originality, and creative use of blackberries.

For more information and complete contest rules, visit the Shelby Bottoms Blackberry Recipe Contest webpage and follow  Friends of Shelby Park and Bottoms on Facebook and Instagram.

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Tough Times Means Musically Fed
With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing an almost total kibosh to the live music industry, many musicians and industry support personnel can use a helping hand. In response, the non-profit Musically Fed, which typically focuses on re-purposing backstage catering to feed veterans and homeless, has partnered with Rhino Staging and Just a Bunch of Roadies to help feed their musical brethren.

On Monday, July 13, Musically Fed will hold its first drive-through food distribution in Nashville. The 18th Musically Fed food distribution event nationwide will feed 100 families in Nashville, with any remaining supplies donated to the free grocery store, The Store, and other nonprofits. Each family will receive three boxes: dry goods, produce, and frozen food to help lighten the burden of tough economic times.

The event takes place Monday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at SoundCheck, 740 Cowan St. Interested families can apply to receive assistance by calling 480.951.1882. For more information and to make donations visit musicallyfed.org.

New Bridge is On the Way for Shelby Park
Construction on the new Shelby Park pedestrian bridge began with an official groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, July 8. The new bridge will complete a one-mile walking loop around Sevier Lake, designed to safely separate bike and foot traffic from vehicle traffic.

The work is being done by the Nashville-based Bell & Associates Construction who will also be rehabilitating two vehicular bridges in the park. Last week Bell announced that they are donating the costs of the new bridge construction to Friends of Shelby Park and Bottoms. The estimated completion date for the work was not announced.

ReLeaf Nashville Back on Schedule
In late March, The Nashville Tree Foundation was set to kick off its 2020 ReLeaf Nashville campaign to raise $1 million to replant 10,000 trees destroyed by the March 3 tornado.  But the COVID-19 pandemic brought a delay in plans. The organization now back on schedule with 990 trees targeted for November plantings at sites in North Nashville, East Nashville, Hermitage, and Mt. Juliet.

Although ReLeaf Nashville campaign is specifically targeted at replacing trees in neighborhoods damaged by the March 3 tornado, The Nashville Tree Foundation also continues to partner with Root Nashville and their long-term campaign of expanding the tree canopy of Nashville with a citywide goal of planting 500,000 trees by 2050.

To donate to the ReLeaf Nashville campaign or volunteer for tree plantings visit nashvilletreefoundation.org, and for information on the Root Nashville campaign visit rootnashville.org.

Quick Bits

  • HiFi Cookies in East Nashville opened its doors last week after postponing its initial opening date in April. A veteran of several pop-up shops, HiFi announced their plans for their new permanent home at 733 Porter Road. For more information and a look at their menu visit them online at hificookies.com.
  • Crazy Gnome Brewery at 948 Main St. was on the verge of opening when the March 3 tornado struck, inflicting heavy damage to their building. After several months of rebuilding, they’re now nearing their new opening date. For updates, keep an eye on them on Facebook and Instagram.
  • The former Bill Martin’s Grocery property at 1105 Fatherland St. has sold for $4.5 million. The nonprofit sexual health and wellness provider Music City Prep Clinic, currently operating at 615 Main St., is the new owner. The organization plans to consolidate their clinic and administrative offices (now at 901 Woodland St,) into the new property but have not announced a projected moving date yet.

Shop the East Nashvillian!
Looking for a way to display your East Side Pride? Then check out the new webstore for The East Nashvillian! Grab yourself a swank Shelby Bottoms shirt featuring the one and only Golden Pheasant or pay tribute to the East Side’s most famous Street (or is that Avenue? Or Pike?) Or score an East Side pride bandanna that can serve double duty as both a handy face covering or a high-flying freak flag!  And you can also add a copy of the print edition of The East Nashvillian to your order. Place your order today!

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