Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Squires talk subdivision at Windtree

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It appears about 351 single-family homes are approved on first reading in the Nonaville Road area of Mt. Juliet, only after city commissioners axed a proposal for about 126 accompanying "town homes" in the proposed development. So, the proposed 339 single-family homes were replaced with 351 homes - sans the townhomes - in the development dubbed Windtree Pines.

Included in the perhaps 10-year build out of the development slated for the 184-acre long-time Windtree Golf Course is a "round about" to "calm traffic" situated at the entrance to the current golf course.

Recently the co-owner Danny Hale of Windtree Golf Course told The Wilson Post the golf course will remain open 2017 and the first turn of dirt on the subdivision is slated for early 2018.

Last week during discussion of the project contingent on first reading approval. tensions were high as developer spokespersons tangled with commissioners on concessions for approval. Early on, the townhomes were axed and then attentions turned toward developer concessions related to road improvements and "traffic calming" measures on the already busy Nonaville Road that empties north on Lebanon Road. Also debated was per lot $1,500 developer fees devoted to road improvements that were considered at one point in discussion elevated to $2,500.

Prior to the lengthy commission table negotiations to keep the project alive, a local resident voiced his concerns and objections during citizen's comments.

Mr. Brookover of Bradford Park pleaded with commissioners to kill the project.

"This project is an extreme determent to the citizens of north Mt. Juliet," he said. "It's going to be another major traffic headache, soon we won't be the 'City Between the Lakes," but rather 'Little Atlanta.'"

He noted the city's website lauded the number of attributes for quality of life in Mt. Juliet in recreational activities. He pushed for the permanence of Windtree Golf Course and said, "Windtree Golf Course is the only one in Mt. Juliet and the other two [in Wilson County] don't hold a candle to it...." He also noted the local schools use the course for their tournaments.

Windtree district City Commissioner rep Ray Justice commiserated with Brookover, but said the land owners have the right to do what is approved for their property. He noted golf course attendance is dwindling.

"I'm one of the reasons golf courses close," he said. "Too busy to go. It is a free enterprise society."

Most of the discussion for first approval was about a roundabout that won approval in the end. Deputy Public Works Director Andrew Barlow said he was the one who recommended a roundabout at the current property entrance in response to a traffic study result. Justice argued against the roundabout and noted the many large boats, vehicles and trailers heading to the lake that off Nonaville Road.

"It's not the best feature," he said. "It's an impediment."

However, Barlow explained a "truck apron" would be incorporated where there's room for bigger "hauls" that can navigate safely. He said he recommended a roundabout for the entrance to eliminate "T-bone crashes" for people trying to exit the area to Nonaville Road.

Another issue of debated was a second access to the development. City staff recommended Sports Road. But, Justice disagreed.

"A subdivision of $400,000-plus homes going through an economically depressed road seems like an after thought," he said.

He was concerned the access road right-of-way would eat into already small yards and driveways there. Mayor Ed Hagerty indicated he thought the road improvement through the side access might incentivize the area.

Justice indicated he might be able to convince adjoining property owners to allow an access road through their property near Cedar Creek Drive to alleviate the need to access through Sports Road. He has until second reading to explore that option.

Developers agreed to the $1,500 per lot fee to help construct the roundabout, a signal for the intersections, and other road upgrades in the affected area.

A second reading, with other concessions, is scheduled for May 10 in Mt. Juliet city chambers.

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