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Mt. Juliet city commission repeals zoning ordinances

The Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners held a special called meeting on May 29 for the board’s final vote to repeal two zoning ordinances.

The two zoning ordinances, 2019-16 and 2020-08, limited the areas within city limits where surgical abortions services could be performed.

Carafem Health Center, an organization that provides abortion services that opened a location in Mt. Juliet in 2019, brought a complaint against the city.

Last month, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that barred Mt. Juliet officials from enforcing the ordinances, saying it placed “undue burden” and a “substantial obstacle” in the way of women seeking abortions in Mt. Juliet.

In the meeting, Mayor Ed Hagerty addressed why he made a motion to repeal the ordinances, refereeing the city’s financial challenges from storms and coronavirus.

“As all of you know, the city is facing major financial challenges given the tornados which struck our city in early March and the severe impact to our economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he read from a prepared statement.  “Given this preliminary opinion from the court, and in light of the strains of the city’s fiscal and manpower resources in the current environment, the advice from the attorneys who have represented the city in this litigation is that ordinances 2019-16 and 2020-08 be repealed so that the city’s limited resources can be preserved and focused on other areas of concern which are needed to serve our citizens. For the purpose of respecting the city’s limited resources and focusing on other needs of our citizens, I agree and it is why I have chosen to make a motion on this agenda item.”

The final vote to repeal the ordinances was approved 3-1-1.

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