Today is Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Church request, "Project Stones" rezoning approved

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A new project code-named "Stones" and a church's request top the list of items acted upon by the Lebanon Planning Commission Tuesday, as well as the site plan, preliminary and final plats for the proposed Music City Star station at Hamilton Springs.

"Project Stones" involves Cherry Group LTD's request to rezone a 17.27-acre strip of land adjoining the larger 148-acre plot which they own in Ward 6.

The commissioners unanimously approved the change from low-density single family (RS-20) to medium-density residential/professional office (RP-2), with Mayor Philip Craighead speaking in favor of the change.

The 148 acres, zoned planned business/industrial park (IP), to which the rezoned section is attached, fronts on Highway 109 to the west, and the Nashville & Eastern Railroad runs along the southeast side of the larger acreage.

"We're very excited about this project," Craighead told the commission. After the meeting, he said he really is not at liberty to say anything except that "Project Stones" is industrial and it may take several months before anything about it is settled.

Church wants right-of-way released
Immanuel Baptist Church on Castle Heights Avenue also asked the planning commissioners to approve a request that the city abandon its right-of-way to one block of Wildwood Avenue which runs through church property from Castle Heights to Crest Drive.

Pastor John Hunn said the church is concerned for the safety of people moving from the church's parking areas to the sanctuary and the fellowship hall when there are services or community events at the church.

Immanuel Baptist owns all the buildings facing Wildwood and uses them for a variety of purposes including a community food bank and a clothing bank, Hunn said.

He pointed out that his concerns are not just for his own church members, who number about 1,350, but for community members who attend the events that the church sponsors as well.

Hunn said the church doesn't intend to close the drive-through, but just to do some "traffic-calming" things.

"There are four crosswalks in the block of street," he said. "We want to raise those crosswalks a few inches. We also want to do some plantings along the street."

The church almost constantly sponsors activities that draw pedestrian traffic to cross the street, Hunn added. "We've had 47 events in the last 52 weeks," he said.

In response, the planning commission voted unanimously to recommend that the Lebanon City Council approve the church's request, and the 100 or so members who had come in support of it quietly left the meeting chamber.

In other action, the planning commission approved:

  • A final plat for The Reserve at Hillview Farms, a 41-lot, 19.93-acre development on Colchester Circle in Ward 4.
  • Preliminary and final plats for The Farm LLC at Five Oaks Commercial for a six-lot subdivision on 41.65 acres on Five Oaks Boulevard in Ward 6.

Finally, the commissioners also approved three amendments to the city's subdivision regulations which will simplify the regulations, according to City Planner Paul Corder, and which will make the city more appealing to developers, Craighead said.

The amendments will allow the city planning staff to reduce "letters of credit" from developers after satisfactory infrastructure is in place; to remove "critical lot" designations after problems are removed through mass grading; and to allow 3 percent cross slopes on residential streets.

Corder and his staff recommended all three amendments after several meetings with local contractors, developers, and architects who suggested the changes, the mayor said.

. . .

Site plan for Star station
Hamilton Springs developer Jack Bell presented an update to the master plan for the subdivision which will locate the planned railroad station on 4.25 acres on Gaston Drive. After the planning commissioners had unanimously approved the location, Bell also presented preliminary and final plats for the station, which the commissioners also approved. Following that, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), which operates the Music City Star, asked for and received site plan approval for the RTA Hamilton Springs Station, which will be located in Ward 6.

Writer Connie Esh can be contacted at

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