For the second time in as many tries, a rezoning for a property in northern Maury County near Spring Hill has been denied. The Maury County Regional Planning Commission voted 5-4 not to approve this rezoning request at its May meeting.
First denied in February as Mitchum Meadows, developers once again stood before the Commission asking the board to approve a change in zoning to allow up to 800 units to be built on the 350-plus acre plot. An additional 10 acres would have been designated for retail development that would target local services such as restaurants, salons and boutique shops.
Lynnville developer David Buschmann of Insight Properties said the density level would actually be 2.3 units per acre with all single-family, detached homes with 45% of the land being green space or parks.
A heavy contingency of Spring Hill residents, including Mayor Jim Hagaman, however, were on hand during the meeting to express their hesitancy to support the rezoning of the land. Hagaman wrote a letter noting his objections, including the availability of water to the development and the stress to the city’s infrastructure.
“The city will not be able to serve the proposed development,” he said. “We do not want any high-density residential at this time because the infrastructure will not support it.”
No city water services or sewer services from Spring Hill or Columbia are available to the site, which would certainly complicate development on the property.
Buschmann said that’s not an uncommon problem anywhere in the county currently, which is why the developers are proposing to pay for the entire cost to improve the county’s water system in the area.
“The whole region has a problem with the water,” Buschmann said. “When you go somewhere and you’re going to build a subdivision… you’ve got to bring up those utilities. To say you can’t get approved because it’s not there and isn’t able to be built, then I agree. But all of it has to be able to be built to service what you’re trying to do.”
Buschmann went on to say the development, which abuts to Kedron Road, is intended to be part of a solution, rather than part of the problem, by donating land, money and resources to surrounding communities.
He noted developers would contribute $800,000 to the school budget, along with $500,000 and 1.5 acres of land to emergency services in order to service the community with fire and rescue.
The contribution to school funding comes after state leaders voted not to allow the county to impose impact fees on developers, and the county’s Budget Committee voted the next night to send a recommendation to the County Commission for a 31-cent property tax increase.
Buschmann estimated the amount of contributions to the public to be around $30 million by the time the development is finished. The eight-phase project would not be complete for several years, he estimated.
“All these people are not coming tomorrow,” he said. “It’ll take six to eight years to fill that subdivision up. These kids won’t be in schools tomorrow.”
School Board chair Michael Fulbright noted the school system is nearing capacity, and said people moving to Maury County for better lifestyles could – ironically – end up sending their children to classrooms located in portable trailers.
Near the end of the discussion, Planning Commission chair Harold Delk took a poll of citizens in attendance on who would support the rezoning of the development against those who were in opposition by a show of hands.
Zero hands were raised in support, while nearly every person quickly raised their hands when asked who was opposed.
Planning Commission member Matheiu Poag of Culleoka, however, said this is exactly the type of development the county should be approving.
“They’re upgrading 20,000 feet of water. That’s not a small amount of water for anybody,” he said. “2.25 units to an acre is small compared to what we’re seeing in Columbia and Spring Hill right now. This is a PUD that gives the county an opportunity to control and limit the growth considerably.
“I don’t understand what we’re looking for in PUDs and subdivisions if it’s not something similar to this.”
Delk advised the development group they could take their proposal to the County Commission for further consideration.