TVA Wells, Old Neil’s Site, Bad Lawyer 

Aquifer wells appealed, new project for Midtown site, judge candidate disbarred

TVA wells appealed

click to enlarge The TVA’s old Allen coal plant
  • The TVA’s old Allen coal plant

The Sierra Club is appealing two permits issued from the Shelby County Health Department to the Tennessee Valley Authority that will allow them to drill into crystalline sand aquifers in order to syphon cooling water for a power plant currently under construction in Southwest Memphis.

TVA has filed five permits for five wells, three of which are no longer eligible for appeal. According to Tennessee chapter coordinator Scott Banbury, the power plant will need a minimum of four functional wells to draw in 3.5 million gallons daily of would-be Memphis drinking water. Should the last two permits be denied, TVA may be forced to explore alternative options.

In a letter to the Shelby County Groundwater Quality Control Board, the Sierra Club cited the board's own regulations for its opposition.

"Water pumped by private and/or quasi-public water supplies for residential, commercial and industrial purposes shall be limited to reasonable use," reads the regulation cited by the Sierra Club.

It's now up to the health department to evaluate whether or not 3.5 million gallons of drinking water a day is a "reasonable use."

Old Neil's site transformed

A developer wants to transform the southwest corner of Madison and McLean into a brand-new, five-story apartment building.

A development group called Madison and McLean Partners was slated to ask a Downtown Memphis Commission board this week for an eight-year tax deal worth $474,820.

The $12.4 million project would include 108 apartments (four studios, 72 one-bedroom units, and 32 two-bedroom units), a fitness room, a common room, and bike parking. It would also include about 130 on-site parking spaces.

click to enlarge Proposed apartment building
  • Proposed apartment building

The project would be built on the land once occupied by Neil's, a favorite Midtown bar which burned to the ground in 2011. The development group also purchased the book-ending properties, now the sites of a banquet hall and Midtown Nursery. The group would demolish everything and build from the ground up.

If the deal is approved, construction could begin in August 2017, and the building would be completed by December 2018.

Former judge candidate disbarred

click to enlarge Venita Marie Martin
  • Venita Marie Martin

A Memphis attorney who ran for a circuit court judge seat in 2014 has been disbarred for, among other things, not showing up to court and not telling her clients she'd shuttered her law practice.

Venita Marie Martin's law license was pulled last month by an order of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The action comes after the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility (TBPR), a branch of the Tennessee Supreme Court that oversees the state's attorneys, reviewed seven complaints of misconduct against Martin.

Martin has a history of misconduct, according to the TBPR, going back to 2011. The board disbarred her this year because she failed to show up in court, failed to tell her clients she was closing her office and terminating her law practice, and more.

In 2014, Martin ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for Shelby County Circuit Court Judge, Division 8.

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