If you’ve ever tried to run a business out of your home in Nashville, such as a beauty shop, a small recording studio, or even a simple tutoring business, you’ve probably received a notice from Metro Codes that you have to immediately stop and close up show. This is usually because a neighbor complains because a client parks in their spot, or you just happen to have a nosy neighbor – and that’s actually the law. Metro Code (17.16.250) states that even if you have a ‘Home Occupation’ permit (aka a work-from-home office), that:
“No clients or patrons may be served on the property”.
About those work from home permits? You have to pay a fee, get a letter from your landlord, send in some drawings, and wait for approval – just to work from your own home office with no clients visiting. Metro has banned virtually all home based, for profit, businesses.
There does appear to be an exception to the rule – you just have to have to know a Metro Council member. Specifically Council Member Russ Pulley. Email records obtained from Russ Pulley’s personal email account (from which he conducts official city business) show he helped a resident, who admitted she was breaking the law, and would continue to do so, get a break from codes – and receive an illegal home occupation permit – despite her serving clients from her $669,000.00 residence near Woodmont Boulevard, in direct violation of her permit, which codes approved at the behest of Pulley, and overlooked her false statement on the application.
The citizens in question are Clay Bailey, a department chair at Montgomery Bell Academy, and Sally Bailey. In an email to Council Member Russ Pulley on November 16th, Clay writes in an email, acknowledging Sally has run a tutoring business out of the home for over 20 years illegally:
Council Member Russ Pulley forwarded that email to a Metro Codes attorney, Emily Lamb, noting this was the address of the issue in question, indicating they had a prior conversation about the matter, and email records do indicate an exchange via phone about the issue, and that codes was taking care of it:
Two weeks later, the Bailey’s got another notice on their door about their illegal home business, and Russ again emailed the Metro attorney, Emily Lamb. In the email he acknowledged it was a ‘tutoring permit’ – which is specifically not allowed, as it requires a client in the home.
After some further exchange, Emily replies to Russ that she’ll check with Richard & Chuck at Metro Codes:
The Metro Codes audit log does show that Richard and others took care of it, and issued the permit knowing its illegal purpose:
In the end, despite Emily, Russ, and the codes department all knowing the resident was requesting a home occupation permit for an illegal use, a permit was issued by the codes department, as Sally signed the application, saying that she would comply with code of no clients coming to her in-home tutoring business:
HAVE READ AND WILL COMPLY WITH ZONING CODE CONCERNING HOME OCCUPATIONS…17.16.250 D
POC: SARAH BAILEY 615-319-6528 firstname.lastname@example.org
And what about all of those repeated complaints of the Bailey’s running a business from their home?
Each and every one was closed out by Chuck Rice, with no cause for action. Chuck is one of the two people who Emily followed up with to get things resolved, per her email, and hours before the permit was issued, against metro law, this email was sent to Russ, as a last follow-up. What happened on the call we’ll never know, but the next action was that the Bailey’s received their permit from codes.
At the end of the day, the Bailey’s are operating a business with in-home clients from their home after codes issued a ‘home occupation’ permit to allow it. All they had to do was get their council person involved, who then conspired with Metro Codes to make it happen. Welcome to the ‘new’ Nashville – it’s just as corrupt as the old one.