NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On Wednesday, a special meeting was held inside Nashville’s Historic Courthouse. The focus was on the long-debated regulation of Entertainment Transportation Vehicles.
“Really, what we’re asking is that the folks that have a permit to operate their transportainment that they follow the regulations that are established. If they turn the noise down and we didn’t have these complaints, we probably would not be in this position and this conversation, but they’re not doing that,” said Diana Alarcon, the director of the Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT).
A new bill would put more regulations on these “party buses.” For months, the argument in favor of the vehicles has pointed to the number of tourists who travel to Music City to ride them, with it bringing in an increase in money flowing into the city.
However, there are those who are hoping city leaders will officially pump the brakes on some of the vehicles.
“I urge you to support this bill for all those who live and work in Nashville. Over the past nearly two years, I’ve attended various Metro government meetings where I’ve heard countless times that party vehicles don’t belong in neighborhoods,” said Jim Schmitz with Safe Fun Nashville.
During Wednesday’s meeting, owners and stakeholders around the downtown area had the chance to give their opinions.
“I am consistently every week, after a weekend and beginning on a Wednesday, I hate to say night, especially if the weather’s good through Sunday, I’m walking into a hub report of close to 75-100, if not more complaints and a majority of them are about noise. I would say about 90 percent of them are about noise,” said Alacron.
Some clarification came from Alacron on whether or not permits that have already been issued could possibly be taken away.
“It gives the TLC the authority to regulate the number of vehicles, to drop the number of vehicles, and to establish the criteria by which they will use to guide that decision?” asked Metro Council member Russ Pulley.
“Right now they cannot reduce the number of permits. Once they give a permit out, they have to renew it annually. This is giving them the ability and the authority to consider it. So, if they do have someone who is consistently a violator of noise and they are continually doing it, it would allow them to be up for consideration,” answered Alacron.
However, owners and operators argue the proposed regulation is unfair.
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“Someone talked a minute ago about noise in The Gulch. Half of those complaints are coming from vehicles that don’t even have permits with the city of Nashville, so we as operators are being lumped into non-permitted operators,” said Michael Winter, owner of Nashville Tractor.
Similar stories were heard from those like Chris Sizemore, who said, “If our company is reduced anymore, I have no idea what the future holds for me and my employees. This is a drastic change that will hurt more than it will help.”
No vote was made during the special meeting, but the committee plans on giving its recommendations in June.