Nolensville’s Town Manager Victor Lay Talks Growth and Managing Expectations of Blue State Refugees

Nolensville’s Town Manager Victor Lay Talks Growth and Managing Expectations of Blue State Refugees

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Nolensville, Tennessee Town Manager Victor Lay to the newsmaker line to discuss the consequences of growth and managing expectations of blue state transplants.

Leahy: Our guest on the newsmaker line, town manager Victor Lay. Victor, I know it’s good to do this via the phone, but I’m going to invite you to come in studio sometime. It’s not too far away from Nolensville.

Lay: I would love to take you up on that.

Leahy: We’ll get you in here at a better time (Lay laughs) because only the crazy people show up in person at 5:00 a.m. or thereafter. Let’s talk about all of the challenges facing Nolensville.

By the way, I love Nolensville. It’s a nice quaint little town that’s now in the process of experiencing explosive growth. What are the biggest challenges that you see there Victor Lay?

Lay: One of the biggest challenges, obviously, is the traffic that’s generated by the growth. Nolensville has one major north-south route. That’s Nolensville Road, 31A, 41 A, that’s running right through it.

It’s a two-lane road up until you get into the Metro Davidson area where they’re working on it now to become a four-lane road. That’s the primary challenge for that growth.

Leahy: How do you deal with that? Because it’s currently a two-lane road. And on either side of the road, right next to the road there are houses and there are businesses. That’s a challenge I think.

It’s a little bit like you had on Duplex Road in Spring Hill, right? Which was an old kind of two-lane farm road that’s been widened. But that’s been a lot of work on that one.

Lay: That’s correct. That process started in 2006 and took 14 years roughly to get it to where it was opened as a nice, safe, wide road with good transportation opportunities, multiple transportation opportunities with the sidewalks and bike pass, and things like that.

Nolensville has already started working with TDOT with regard to Nolensville Road. Actually, that process started back in the early 2000s. There are designs out there that TDOT has put together for a bypass around some of the historic areas of Nolensville that you physically cannot widen in.

And so one of the pieces that I’ll be doing over the next few years is really working with TDOT closely to determine the best route and what is a good, viable plan for that north-south traffic.

And it’s not just the north-south traffic, but we’re actually right at the beginning of the process of updating our major thoroughfare plan. And we’re looking at all of our connections – east-west connections, north-south connections – so that we can make sure that as the town grows we are incorporating that growth inside the roadway.

We’re requiring right-of-way dedication so that we have the opportunities to widen those roads and make those connections so that folks have alternative paths as well as the main route.

Leahy: I think you said today you expect that the 2020 census will show that the population of the town of Nolensville, about 10 square miles just south of Nashville, is about 14,000. If we look forward 10 years from today in the 2030 census, what do you think that number will be?

Lay: Good question. If we continue to go through the same type of growth that we’re experiencing today, you’re probably looking easily at another 5,000 people. 3,000 to 5,000, maybe.

And that may even be a very conservative number. It could be closer to seven. So it’s very likely that we’re going to be in that 20,000 range. Somewhere between 20 and 25, I can safely say.

Leahy: Let me ask you this, how many of those new people moving into Nolensville are coming from California?

Lay: There is a significant amount that is coming in from California. We see California, New York, and Illinois. Just a tremendous amount of influx into that area.

Leahy: People from California, New York, and Illinois, do they have trouble adjusting to the way things are done in Tennessee?

Lay: (Chuckles) In some cases, it’s just different. Most of the time what we have found is that they appreciate some of the ways that we do things in Tennessee. It’s not as arduous. It’s not as complex.

As long as we are straightforward and letting them know the process, they generally don’t have too difficult of a time transitioning. It’s when people don’t understand the processes and they feel like that they’re not getting the best answers that usually generate the problems.

Leahy: Have you had any of those experiences since you’ve joined the Nolensville town manager in January?

Lay: Not specifically in Nolensville. To date, I’ve not had anyone that has moved in and said, well, this is the way we did it in our particular state. I experienced that once or twice in Spring Hill.

Leahy: You did? (Laughs) Let me just roll play with you here, Victor. If somebody is coming from, I’m guessing I’ll just say it’s a blue state, right?

Somebody coming from a blue state, do they ever say now, Victor, that’s not the way we did it back in my blue state. Did you have that kind of a question?

Lay: I did have that kind of a question. I have not had it in Nolensville. I did have that statement made in Spring Hill a couple of times.

Leahy: You know what my response, Victor, to that would be? My response would be, well, that’s great. Why don’t you go back to that blue state and leave us alone? Of course, you can’t say that.

Lay: I can’t say that. I don’t say that.

Leahy: But you might think it. (Chuckles)

Lay: I usually try to drill down with them to understand what it is that they have difficulty with or that they think is an error in the way that we are doing business.

Leahy: This is why you are so well suited to that job because you’ve got an understanding of human behavior and you have patience. Victor, thanks so much for joining us today, and come in studio sometime.

Lay: I would love to do that.

Listen to the first hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Nolensville Town Hall” by Skye Marthaler. CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Talks Booming Growth Ignited by Manufacturing Industry in the County

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Talks Booming Growth Ignited by Manufacturing Industry in the County

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to discuss the current economic growth his county is experiencing due to an influx of manufacturing and supply chain demand.

Leahy: We are joined in studio by the mayor of Maury County, that bastion of economic freedom, the turbocharged engine of economic growth. The mayor, Andy Ogles. Good morning, Andy.

Ogles: Good morning. How are you today?

Leahy: Well, I am delighted to have you in studio here. And, you know, we kind of joke about that little tagline we have for Maury County, except it’s no joke.

It’s actually true. It is the bastion of freedom and the turbocharged engine of economic growth. And I think you have some proof of that to share with us today.

Ogles: Obviously, all you have to do is drive around Spring Hill, Columbia, or even on the Southside down in Mount Pleasant and see the growth.

The Chamber gave an update yesterday at our commission meeting. And when you look at population growth in the state of Tennessee, our growth rate, of course, that’s a per capita number, we’re number one in the state of Tennessee.

We’re also the number one creator of manufacturing jobs in the state of Tennessee. So it’s a crazy time to be mayor of such a growth in the county because that comes with a lot of challenges.

And that’s one of the things that we’re working through now as we pass our budget and get ready for the next school year deciding, do we build a school this year or next year.

Because there’s a borrowing that’s associated with it. But it’s crazy. So it truly is not only a bastion of freedom, but we’re turbocharged. And again, it’s a cool community.

Leahy: One thing I really like about what you just said is you’re a source of new manufacturing jobs. Now, that’s interesting.

In the city of Nashville itself, there has been job growth because companies, tech companies from California come in, and they bring all the people that are associated with tech companies in California. And then financial services companies from New York come in and they bring all the people that work for financial services companies. They don’t always necessarily have the same kind of Tennessee values, right?

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: Sometimes. I don’t know when one of the financial services companies came in before they got a bunch of money from the state of Tennessee before they even opened up, they were trying to tell Tennesseeans and what they should do about various social issues. It kind of rubbed me the wrong way that they did that.

Ogles: Well, at the same time, obviously, the state of Tennessee landed a big operation of Facebook here in Middle Tennessee. And so at the same time that Facebook is censoring former President Trump, the state is giving Facebook tens of millions of dollars and incentives. So not necessarily the right fit for our state.

Leahy: Facebook. The guys that are like the big tech oligarchs, the guys that are suppressing the First Amendment. The state of Tennessee is giving them money? Really?

Ogles: Tens of millions of dollars. I saw Marjorie Taylor-Green, the representative out of Georgia. She was just suspended on Twitter for 12 hours or something, but she quoted factual data about COVID and who is at risk.

Leahy: You can’t do that. (Laughs)

Ogles: And she was censored because of it. And I granted it was for 12 hours. But again, it just shows the authority and the power that these tech companies have or have assumed.

And we the people and the government have allowed them to do that. And it’s really this situation now where you have social media companies dictating health care policy, and that’s a scary place.

Leahy: Because nothing says healthcare knowledge like a 24-year tech geek in a basement in Palo Alto, California.

Ogles: Right. You go back to Brave New World or 1984, those books that were science fiction back way back when I read them in school.

And it’s all coming to fruition. So we’re in an interesting place. But going back, Maury County is known for its automotive base.

Leahy: General Motors and Saturn way back when in 1990, I guess Saturn moved to Maury County.

Ogles: In the mid-late 80s that plan came to fruition, was announced. And of course, they had to implement it, but also automotive related.

And a lot of people don’t realize this. And so LG Chem, which is a South Korean company, partnered with General Motors. They’ve created a battery brand that will be a supplier to most of the other car manufacturers.

So again, you have General Motors, who will be one of the drivers of battery technology as you go into the future because they have such a large market share.

And this battery plant that we built in Maury County, it’s sized to be built, currently has more capacity than all the other battery manufacturers in North America.

And that puts the EV or electric vehicle technology – the center of that universe is in Middle Tennessee, specifically Maury County. So now we have this – General Motors expanding.

We have this new $2.3 billion plant with the LG Chem. And with that will come technology and RND and all that sort of stuff to Middle Tennessee.

So it’s exciting. And you’re seeing a shift in that space not only for Tennessee but for Maury County.

Leahy: And the other thing about – that is I found out that apparently, if you have sort of a supply chain, shall we say, for automotive parts and automotive assembly, which is what we have here in Middle Tennessee, there are other industries that use those same skills like firearm manufacturers, from what I hear.

Ogles: Because as you’re building out your infrastructure and supply chain, which that’s an important part of that and distribution capabilities, any industry that needs those types of services like trucking, et cetera, they can piggyback off of one another.

And so with that again, Maury County, known for its automotive and manufacturing jobs, are now creating a new layer of distribution for Middle Tennessee.

Leahy: This means more economic growth in Maury County and Middle Tennessee.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crom Carmichael Weighs in on Oracle Move and Middle Tennessee’s Real Estate Quandary

Crom Carmichael Weighs in on Oracle Move and Middle Tennessee’s Real Estate Quandary

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio who weighed in on the recent announcement of Oracle’s big move to Nashville’s East Bank and a harried Tennessee real estate market.

Leahy: In studio the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael. Crom, big news last night. This is from WSMV. Oracle is coming to Nashville, the big software company. Big big software company after the Metro Council approved plans to install the new headquarters in Music City. Tuesday night in a unanimous vote, City Council has approved Oracle’s bid that they presented to the Metro Finance Committee on Monday night, where they promised to bring 8,500 jobs to the city within a decade.

After the Metro Council passive vote, Mayor John Cooper expressed his optimism for the project, calling it, “the largest private investment and largest job creation deal in our history.” Oracle, Crom, looks to install a bridge over the Cumberland River as access to their new facility. The bridge still requires two more rounds of voting by the City Council, but past its initial round of voting on Tuesday night. Crom?

Carmichael: Well, given our city-state of finances, that’s a bridge over troubled waters.

Leahy: Ohhh, that Crom, Crom.

Carmichael: Kaboom.

Leahy: That’s very good Crom. People don’t realize. (Laughter) People don’t really people don’t know this, but Crom used to be a standup comedian, and that just shows his capabilities there. It’s still funny. (Laughs)

Carmichael: Thank you. I have a friend of mine who’s in real estate that sends me a column that comes from The Tennessee Ledger. And this is a writer who writes about Tennessee real estate. And he will generally pick a particular house that has sold, and then he’ll build his story around it on what’s going on in Nashville.

Leahy: So he’ll go into one of the neighborhoods and say a house in this neighborhood sold.

Carmichael: A particular house. You’re looking at a particular house here. This one is at 1104 Lenore Street. That house sold. Now it went on the market. This is instructive. It went on the market for $750,000. It sold for $950,000 and $175,000 above the asking price.

Leahy: Wow.

Carmichael: This same house in 2018 sold for $194,000. It was gutted and fixed up.

Leahy: Somebody made some money.

Carmichael: But then that house after it was gutted and rebuilt, it then sold for $550,000. So that $550,000 converted into $950,000.

This is $440 a foot, $440 a foot! Right now in Nashville, and these numbers may be slightly off because they’re one month old, but only slightly. There were 2,500 single-family residences on the market at the end of March. There were 200 single-family homes that closed in March. There’s a three-week supply.

Leahy: Wow.

Carmichael: Now a seller’s market is 60 days of supply. A three-week supply, if a house goes on the market, it sells almost immediately. A typical Realtor will have nine buyers for every listing. For every listing, then they have nine buyers. And so if you’re listing a house, you say I am scheduling appointments every 15 minutes, (Leahy chuckles) and I’m doing it over these two days. And then I will be accepting offers, and the negotiations will then begin.

Leahy: It’s not just in Nashville, it’s in Williamson County. All around Middle Tennessee.

Carmichael: Yes. All around Middle Tennessee. Now, there are some areas where there’s still lots of land where you can build new developments, but the cost of the dirt in those areas, is what is going up, the cost of buying the land. But it’s really interesting to see what is going on in Nashville with the growth. Now I was down in Naples, Florida.

Leahy: In Florida.

Carmichael: Yes. Naples, Florida, is very similar. It used to be that you drive down a highway called 41, which is a six-lane wide highway. And then if you went inland on one Street, it was four lanes. Now if you go inland one street it was four lanes. Now you go inland four or five streets before you get to two-lane highways.

So Naples is growing East. It’s also growing North, but it’s growing East inland at an incredible rate. And so when you have that and in Nashville, the difference is in Naples, they’re able to build the infrastructure. They’re able to widen the roads because as they’re moving inland these are two-lane roads and the development hasn’t happened yet. Nashville is already developed. Now Oracle I think, is locating on the East Bank.

Leahy: I think that’s correct. Of the Cumberland Yes.

Carmichael: And so they’re going to build the bridge.

Leahy: The bridge over troubled waters. (Laughter)

Carmichael: But what this is going to do to East Nashville…

Leahy: Boom. And East Nashville has been re gentrifying over the last five or six years. But this will even accelerate that pace.

Leahy: Now the story at WSMV, Oracle promised to bring wait for it…8,500 jobs to the city within a decade. It’s a big company. What’s that going to do to the real estate market in Middle Tennessee?

Carmichael: Well, the real estate market in Tennessee is going to stay red hot until you get the supply of houses back up to 90 days. This means there will have to be nine to 10 single-family homes on the market available to buy. And I don’t see that happening anytime soon because building 3,000 homes a month is a lot of homes to be built. And all that does is keep you at the three-week supply. So you’ve got to get up to where you’re building 5,000 homes a month. I’ve been here since 1967 and I’ve never seen anything like that.

Leahy: Nothing like this.

Carmichael: Nothing like this.

Leahy: Here’s the other part about this, which is interesting. There are two elements to talk about. First, the underlying economics of migration within the United States. I see that trend continuing away from high tax blue states to really the three leading no state income tax states in the country. Texas, Florida, and Tennessee.

Carmichael: Private schools are getting 15 to 20 inquiries a week from just people moving here from California. That’s just from one state. There are all kinds of issues that are being created because it takes a while to plan and build a new school or even to do a major expansion of an existing school. And most private schools don’t want to have more than 100 or maybe 120 per class.

Leahy: It’s hard to make them fit together.

Carmichael: The private schools want to keep themselves small enough so that they are meeting the needs of each child which is my big beef with the government-run schools because there’s no reason that a government-run school ought to have 1,500 or 2,000 students in high school. There’s no reason for that. It’s just that way because that’s how the system likes it.

Leahy: The other issue I want to chat with you about that comes along with this huge growth, the huge increase in home prices and real estate prices in Middle Tennessee is for people who have lived in Tennessee all their lives and who perhaps are not homeowners, they’re being priced out of the market.

Carmichael: Yes. And that’s what I’m saying. That’s one of the examples. There are three or four. There are three or four pressure points that are going on. One is the demand for private school education exploding. And the number of private schools is not. And so there’s a huge imbalance there than what you just brought up.

If you don’t own a home, and if you don’t have $50,000 in cash, maybe even $100,000 in cash to put down on a house because they’re still requiring 20 percent down on most houses unless it’s an FHA-type thing. And even those, it’s almost impossible to get the mortgage if you don’t make a substantial down payment.

Leahy: And this does lead to, I think, resentment towards newcomers who have more cash because they live in states where they can sell their houses for very high prices. They come here and even with this increase, they’re able to pocket some money from the sale of the house in California.

Carmichael: If it was a really expensive house in California. But the trick is selling expensive houses in California now is finding buyers who buy an expensive house in California because California is losing a congressional seat.

Leahy: I’m so sad about that too by the way.

Carmichael: It’s the first time. It’s the first time, I think ever.

Leahy: I think you’re right.

Carmichael: It’s shrinking.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.