Rocker loses appeal over driveway parking

Friday, May 20, 2011

NASHVILLE -- A Columbia resident who was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame two months ago lost his appeal in a Maury County Chancery Court case over his driveway and parking for his touring band.

Claude Russell Bridges - better known as Leon Russell, the long bearded musician and singer who's played with The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, two Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan and, most recently, Sir Elton John - was taken to court by his Steelebrook Acres neighbors.

The neighbors complained that Bridges' driveway is too big and has commercial sized curbs. They also complained that Bridges had his concert tour bus and other vehicles parked at the house when he was home, and, while he was touring, his band members' cars were parked there. Commercial use of residential property was at the crux of the complaint.

In a decision released this week by Tennessee's Administrative Office of the Courts, the Court of Appeals ruled that Bridges may keep his big driveway, but shouldn't be parking his bus and trucks there, nor should his driveway be a parking lot for the band during tours.

That reverses Chancellor Robert Jones' decision after a non-jury trial with regard to the driveway. Jones also had the musician and his partner paying costs for the case, but the appeals court judges ruled both sides must pay.

The neighbors who complained are Lonnie E and Renae Roberts, Judy and John Wood, Barbara and Robert Herklotz, Charles E. and Kathy Coggins, John Lewis and the Tennessee Rural Health Improvement Association. The defendants were listed as Bridges and Jan Bridges.