ORDINANCE NO. BL2016-161
An ordinance requiring the Metropolitan Board of Fair Commissioners to refrain from scheduling events or activities scheduled on or after January 1, 2017 until such time as a court of law or the Tennessee Attorney General determines whether the Board is in violation of the Metropolitan Charter or state or federal legislation.
WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government is the owner of real property commonly known as the Tennessee State Fairgrounds (hereinafter “Fairgrounds”); and
WHEREAS, the Fairgrounds property is currently operated by and under the control of the Metropolitan Board of Fair Commissioners (“the Fair Board”) which is an instrumentality of the Metropolitan Government, provided for under Chapter 6 of Article 11 of the Charter for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, and created by Chapter 515, Tennessee Private Acts of 1923; and
WHEREAS, the private acts referenced in Section 11.062 of the Metropolitan Charter provide that the Fair Board was created for the purpose of establishing, maintaining, and operating a fair for the people of Nashville and Davidson County; and
WHEREAS, on December 1, 2015, the Fair Board voted to terminate gun shows at the Fairgrounds after completion of existing operator contracts in 2016, pending adoption of new rules governing such shows; and
WHEREAS, at the following meeting of February 16, 2016, the Fair Board took no action to rescind their decision of December 1, 2015; and
WHEREAS, various vendors, including Bill Goodman’s Gun and Knife Show and the RK Gun Show, have conducted gun shows at the fairgrounds for over three (3) decades, remain parties to current vending contracts through 2016, and have conveyed their desire and intent to continue such operations after 2016; and
WHEREAS, Section 11.602(d) of the Metropolitan Charter states in relevant part: “All activities being conducted on the premises of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds as of December 31, 2010, including, but not limited to, the Tennessee State Fair, Expo Center Events, Flea Markets, and Auto Racing, shall be continued on the same site”; and
WHEREAS, Section 2.78.010 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws further provides, in part, that in addition to the duties provided in Section 11.601 of the Charter of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, the Fair Board shall continue to operate the Expo Center and related facilities on the Tennessee State Fairgrounds property at such times and in such ways as to not interfere with the operation of the Tennessee State Fair until another suitable location for these activities has been identified and approved by an ordinance of the Metropolitan Council; and
WHEREAS, Article II, Section 10 of the Related Private Laws to the Metropolitan Charter provides in part that the Fair Boar may lease the Fairgrounds property; and that “[t]he agricultural, mineral, livestock, commercial, industrial, and all other interests, shall be duly exhibited, and every reasonable effort shall be made to develop, improve, encourage and stimulate all lawful and substantial interests and industries.”
WHEREAS, the December 1, 2015 actions of the Fair Board potentially expose the Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County to legal liability and may constitute a violation of the Metropolitan Charter and/or other state and federal legislation; and
WHEREAS, on December 10, 2015, Tennessee Sen. Brian Kelsey submitted a formal request for a legal opinion from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery regarding the legality of the Fair Board’s action of December 1, 2015; and
WHEREAS, following the Fair Board meeting of February 16, 2016, legal representatives of current Fairgrounds gun show vendors indicated the “inevitability” of litigation if gun shows are not permitted after 2016; and
WHEREAS, by virtue of their actions of December 1, 2015, the Fair Board has thereby exposed the Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County to the potential risk of litigation by local vendors, as well as national organizations, resulting in potential and significant financial losses; and
WHEREAS, Section 11.602(c) of the Metropolitan Charter states that it “shall be the duty of the metropolitan board of fair commissioners to … perform such other duties as may be imposed upon the board by ordinance”; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that the Metropolitan Council take appropriate measures to avoid exposure to legal liability potentially incurred by the Fair Board.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:
Section 1. The Metropolitan Board of Fair Commissioners is hereby directed to reserve a sufficient number of weekend dates after January 1, 2017 for the scheduling of gun shows at the Expo Center, matching the frequency with which gun shows have been scheduled since passage of the Charter Amendment of August 4, 2011, until such time as a court of law or the Tennessee Attorney General determines the Fair Board’s compliance with the Metropolitan Charter, state and/or federal legislation in regard to its actions of December 1, 2015 regarding gun shows.
Section 2. In order to ensure the availability of sufficient dates, the Metropolitan Board of Fair Commissioners is hereby further directed to reserve after January 1, 2017 at least four (4) weekend dates in the first, second and third quarter of each calendar year, and to reserve at least five (5) weekend dates in the fourth quarter of each calendar year, for purposes of scheduling gun shows, and to reserve such dates until such time as a court of law or the Tennessee Attorney General determines the Fair Board’s compliance with the Metropolitan Charter, state and/or federal legislation in regard to its actions of December 1, 2015 regarding gun shows.
Section 3. The Metropolitan Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Resolution to the acting State Fair Director and to each member of the Board of Fair Commissioners.
Section 4. This Ordinance shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.
Sponsored by: Steve Glover
|Introduced:||March 1, 2016|
|Passed First Reading:||March 1, 2016|
|Referred to:||Codes, Fair, and Farmer's Market Committee|
|Deferred Indefinitely by Committee:||March 15, 2016|
|Placed back on Agenda for April 5, 2016:||March 15, 2016|
|Override Failed:||April 5, 2016|
Requests for ADA accommodation should be directed to the Metropolitan Clerk at 615/862-6770.