Apr 11, 2024 - News

Lawsuit filed to block Nashville fairgrounds referendum

Illustration of Nashville City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

A Nashville race car driver filed a lawsuit Thursday to prevent a November referendum about affordable housing at the fairgrounds.

Why it matters: A group opposing a racetrack improvement plan wants to amend the city charter to swap out racing for affordable housing on the list of required programming at the Metro-owned fairgrounds.

  • They need to gather thousands of voter signatures in order to put the proposal on the November ballot.

Yes, but: Chancery Court will have to consider a new challenge from Nashville resident and race car driver Jonathan Dishman before the affordable housing group can begin collecting signatures.

  • The Metro Charter Revision Commission approved the charter amendment proposal. Dishman's lawsuit challenges the commission's action.

Flashback: Previous Mayor John Cooper reached an agreement to improve the fairgrounds racetrack and bring NASCAR events back to Nashville.

State of play: The plan stalled at the end of his term, and there's no sense that Mayor Freddie O'Connell's administration will actively pursue a new deal until after the November transportation referendum.

  • Opponents of the NASCAR plan are pushing the ballot measure because they hope it convinces city leaders not to invest taxpayer money in racetrack improvements. There's already a small amount of affordable housing coming online at the fairgrounds.

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