RESIDENTS DELIVER MESSAGE AT PUBLIC HEARING:
“NO MORE HIGH DENSITY HOUSING!”
The night was cold, but that did not stop about 200 people from attending
the Public Hearing on senior housing and the City’s proposal for
government controlled, high density, age-restricted senior housing. The
message from the overwhelming majority was clear:
They were opposed to high density housing and in favor of keeping Brentwood’s one acre density.
Here is a summary:
- Speakers were opposed to the high density housing by a margin of over 2 to 1.
- All speakers supported senior downsizing options.
- The vast majority were for senior housing with small lots where the one acre density was maintained with greenspace.
- Relatively few were in favor of the City’s high density proposal.
- The majority opposed federal government controlled, age-restricted senior communities.
Noteworthy Resident Comments – In Their Own Words:
senior housing is to be built, and I voted for it, please add green
space to maintain one acre density. Do not sell out our future for
developer’s profits today. I would appreciate you living up to your
campaign promises of responsible growth – high density housing is not
2.“While I support senior housing and I
understand the need, I think we need to find a way to work within our
current zoning to accommodate our needs and stay with the one home per
acre. I don’t want to live in Green Hills and I don’t want to live in
Nashville, that’s why I live in Brentwood. I don’t think that we have
the infrastructure to support higher density housing and we certainly do
not have the traffic management to support more traffic.”
see the one acre density as a generational gift that’s been passed from
one generation to the next over the past four decades. Why change it
now? Why abandon this generational gift? It’s this gift that has been
passed on and now that I find we’re considering going away from it, it
seems like a betrayal of sorts.”
4.“When you exclude young
people and children you get a different environment that is very
different from what we like about Brentwood. I urge you not to do
age-restricted and stay away from high density.”
5.“I support one acre density. I think that is the character of Brentwood.”
95% of the Northumberland residents believe that the one house per acre
should be left alone. When we completed the 2020 survey I didn’t know
we would be changing the rules of one house per acre. It took me four
Saturdays to survey my neighborhood. I would hate for you to vote on
something the majority of people don’t want.”
discussing what is the best way to have affordable, adequate senior
housing. The proposal the City is looking at now is not the best
approach. There are better ways to address this question.”
oppose any change that would change the density or involve, or
potentially involve, the Federal Government. Once HUD gets a foothold
the character and core values of Brentwood will be severely damaged and
there will not be any going back.”
9.“I support one acre zoning. Brentwood’s infrastructure was not designed for high density housing.”
is already in a congested state but is fast approaching being in a
paralysis situation. Higher density housing would make things worse”
are younger people in their forties with small kids in this community
that will really be upset if you go away from one acre zoning. There’s a
level of trust that this one acre density was going to be there.”
you have the HOA enforce the “55 and older” that will be a colossal
disaster. It’s unworkable, there’s no enforcement capability with a
13.“In addition, you want the authority to negotiate
zoning standards with each developer which would create inconsistency
throughout the City. The City has done very well with what we have
today, so why do we want to change it.”
all of our commissioners have on numerous occasions pledged unwavering
support for one home per acre residential zoning. Commissioners I hope
you keep your promise to residents. If this plan was so good why didn’t
we talk about it during the last election so citizens could understand
where your position was. We don’t have to bust one acre zoning to
accomplish viable senior alternatives for downsizing. Commissioner
Gorman and Commissioner Travis have both said they do not support the
current proposal because of the density. If others of you have promised
citizens you will defend one acre zoning, I’m trying to decide who’s
going to vote for this.
15.“You all can very intelligently look at how we can put together an OSRD with adequate green space.”
do we continue this process of high density housing? Certainly not for
the benefit of seniors as has already been said. I think everyone in the
meeting has spoken of downsizing options and we can do that. OSRD has
not worked for senior housing because we let the developer opt out of
building smaller houses on the smaller lots. We can provide the product
seniors are looking for which is downsized options. I think we need to
start over and consider a plan that works within our current community
and current zoning standards. Commissioner Travis has presented one and
there have been others that have been presented from the community. We
can have other solutions without busting one acre zoning. If we press
toward this high density housing situation we’re going to end up with
many unintended consequences.”
Over 2,500 acres are suitable for residential development in Brentwood (of the 3,500 acres that remain undeveloped).
One acre zoning = projected 2,500 more homes.
High density housing = projected 6,000 more homes.
Which is best for our traffic situation? Our infrastructure? Our quality of life?
THE ZONING DECISIONS THAT ARE MADE TODAY WILL DETERMINE THE CHARACTER OF OUR COMMUNITY TOMORROW.
Brentwood is not opposed to new senior housing in Brentwood. We feel
that it needs to be developed within our current zoning structure.
Don’t forget what happened in the recent past when city leaders
attempted to spur development by creating a new zoning classification.
It brought us C4 Zoning- with extreme high density! It brought us
Tapestry- with 393 Apartments!
Highlights from Moratorium Update Letter from Commissioner Dunn
dated June 22, 2013
I just wanted to keep you informed as to the status of the
proposed moratorium on C-4 rezonings in the expanded area. You may recall that the expanded area is NOT
zoned C-4 but has been designated as an area which could be considered for C-4
The second and final reading on the moratorium will be held
Tuesday, June 25th at 7:00 pm in the commission chambers. If it passes (note from PB: THE MORATORIUM DID PASS) it will remain in effect until
July 1, 2014. During this time no
applications will be accepted for rezonings to C-4 in the expanded area. That time period will be used to update the
2020 Plan and to conduct a joint traffic study with Metro-Nashville.
Residents have indicated that some aspects of the C-4 can be
applied in ways that would be beneficial to the city’s development while strongly objecting to other parts: proximity to residential
neighborhoods, density and especially the residential component allowing
condos/apartments. Our task is
feedback with the 2020 survey from the
community during this period,
complete the traffic study
this information to review the C-4
changes in the C-4 that need to occur.
If those goals are
reached prior to July 1, 2014, the moratorium will be lifted.
this time you may well see construction in the expanded area and if so it will
be construction that is occurring based on the current zoning. We are not “slipping” anything past anyone.I hope this information is helpful and feel free to contact
me if you have any questions.
Anne Dunn, City Commissioner
Brentwood zoning meeting switches to ethics review
Brentwood City Commissioner faces questions
Jun. 26, 2013
BRENTWOOD — A vote by the Brentwood City
Commission on Tuesday halted developers’ abilities to use C-4 zoning for
mixed-use projects outside the original Town Center district for a
But one Brentwood city commissioner might have felt as much
under fire as the recently maligned zoning classification, and
commissioners agreed to review their ethics policy.
meeting, Commissioner Rod Freeman faced questions about his ethical
integrity by several audience members, while fellow City Commissioner
Mark Gorman, who also serves on the Brentwood Planning Commission, asked
Freeman to resign his newly appointed post on the planning commission
based on an earlier comment that his vote on the moratorium “didn’t
“Those words struck a very deep chord with me from the
perspective that I think this commission appointed the wrong
commissioner on the planning commission as a representative,” Gorman
said. “The residents deserve better.”
Freeman, who didn’t step
down, admitted he presented a poor choice of words and only meant to say
that he knew he’d have another opportunity to vote on the matter as a
city commissioner. Planning commissioners make only recommendations to
rezoning ordinances while city commissioners make the ultimate
In their public comments, Brentwood resident Gerald
Witcher questioned Freeman’s past support of development projects and
his campaign contributions. Freeman was elected into office two years
But other commissioners leaped to Freeman’s defense.
don’t think that if you’re pro-commercial or pro-residential that
you’re necessarily a puppet. I think you just have strong feelings for
that type of vision for Brentwood. I may disagree with you tremendously.
It doesn’t mean you’re ethically challenged,” City Commissioner Anne
“One thing that I value deeply is principle. And I
value ethics deeply. So when folks talk about that, it does bother me,”
At one point during his comments, Freeman stopped
what he was saying and put his face in his hands. Mayor Betsy Crossley
called a 10-minute recess to allow Freeman to regain his composure.
2010, the city changed the C-4 ordinance to allow more density, higher
buildings and residential units to developers who request the special
zoning standards for commercial projects within a half-mile radius of
the traditional Town Center area.
Freeman, who was the only “no”
vote on the moratorium, said he didn’t want to “tie hands” in possibly
using the positive parts of C-4 development.
The moratorium isn’t in effect in the old Town Center, which already has C-4 designated over the entire area.
to their words but check their vote,” Gorman quoted a phrase he’d heard
about politics. “I’ve heard some concern surrounding the ethics
With that, the city commissioner who came into office in
the May election introduced a new business item to review and update the
city’s ethics policies. His fellow commissioners agreed unanimously and
encouraged the city staff to work on possible amendments or additions
to the policy for a future meeting vote.
Emotional meeting leads to C-4 moratorium
Jun. 25, 2013 10:14 PM
– Brentwood has halted requests by developers to use C-4 zoning on
property outside the original Town Center district for a year.
But the final vote Tuesday night came with heat generated toward City Commissioner Rod Freeman.
audience members questioned his integrity while fellow City
Commissioner Mark Gorman, who also serves on the Brentwood Planning
Commission, asked Freeman to resign his newly appointed post on the
planning commission based on an earlier comment that his vote on the
moratorium “didn’t matter.”
who refused to step down, admitted he presented a poor choice in words.
Planning commissioners only make recommendations to rezoning ordinances
such as C-4 while city commissioners make the ultimate decisions.
2010, the city changed the C-4 ordinance to allow more density, higher
buildings and residential units to developers who request the special
zoning standards for commercial projects within a half mile radius of
the traditional Town Center area.
who was the only “no” vote to the moratorium, didn’t want to “tie
hands” in possibly using the positive parts of C-4 development.
The moratorium isn’t in affect in the old Town Center, which already has C-4 designated over the entire area.
Special zoning may be revised
Commissioners want input on expanded C-4 district
Recognizing that components of C4 were problematic for citizens,
Commissioner Regina Smithson requested that the city address C4 zoning
immediately while citizens are engaged in the issue. Below is an update from her:
From: Smithson, Regina <email@example.com>
Sent: Mon, Apr 22, 2013 10:23 pm
Subject: Re: C-4 Ordinances
How do we change C4?
Hi Everyone –
Tonight at our city commission meeting the
commission directed our City Manager Kirk Bednar to have an ordinance
written up for the commission to consider a moratorium on ALL C-4
rezoning proposals until the C-4 Ordinance is revised. In order for the
moratorium to be implemented the process would be as follows:
1. First reading would be on May 13th before the City Commission
2. It would then go to the Planning Meeting on June 3rd for their recommendation.
3. Public Hearing on June 10th.
4. Second and Final Reading on June 24th.
The moratorium would be in place until July,
2014 which would give us time to have a 2020 Plan update and the MPO
traffic study with Metro and Franklin. NO REZONINGS to C-4 would be
allowed with the moratorium in place. Again, I will work to remove ALL
residential from the C-4 zoning. This process will take time, but
again with the moratorium in place all C-4 rezoning proposals will be
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.
615-512-2779 – c
615-377-0115 - h
Commissioner Anne Dunn sent out this email after the April 18 workshop with a synopsis of the feedback, and her own feelings on the topic to close out the letter. She also invites your input:
On April 18th the City
Commission and Planning Commission, City manager and director of planning
participated in a workshop to discuss the C-4 zoning district and the expanded
C-4 zoning district.
You probably know that the original
Town Center is currently zoned C-4 while the expanded area is only ELIGIBLE on a case by case basis
to be considered for this zoning classification. Many of the aspects of the TSOB project created
cause for concern as to the density, residential component, etc. This workshop was designed to discuss these
issues and determine how to move forward
I felt there was good feedback at
the workshop . This needs to be done correctly
and certain steps need to be taken to make sure it is. I will try to give you an accurate picture of
how I saw the discussion. In my view, these are the thoughts I heard
city must complete the 2020 Plan update to include community input.
MPO/Franklin/ Brentwood joint comprehensive traffic study must be completed to
get a broader picture of the traffic
FAR when in place served to limit density.
The elimination of that needs to be re-evaluated.
city attorney advised that condominiums cannot by law be required to be owner
occupied and therefore there is no
guarantee that they would not become rentals.
The residential component is a
strong source of contention and this must
did not hear anyone voice any disagreement with making sure that no residential
is abutted by the C-4
To get the information from the
2020 survey and the traffic study should take about 12 months. Knowing that there is considerable concern in
the meantime about someone bringing
forth a rezoning request in the expanded area , there was discussion about how
to allay those concerns. Commissioner
Betsy Crossley recommended that we place a moratorium on those requests and not allow any C-4 rezoning until all of these items have
been addressed. At the meeting Monday,
April 22,2013, the city commission will ask the staff to draft wording to that
effect which will be voted on at the May 13 meeting.
My personal thinking to date is described
below in italics.
I completely support removing the residential component from the C-4
zoning. With no guarantee that they have
to be owner occupied, it opened a door that we don’t want opened.
I also do not feel this zoning should abut any residential neighborhood
and I agree that the FAR needs to be lowered.
That would help control the traffic and the density of any proposed
I don’t believe anyone who wants these changes is
anti-development. I believe they just
want the growth to be on a scale the city can handle and not overly dense or
containing condos or rentals. I think we
can amend the C-4 to remove those objectionable parts.
There is one aspect of it that could be very positive and I would like
to bring it to your attention and get your feedback on it.
I have heard from so many people who have specific concerns with the
C-4. They want those things handled but also want any
new development to be a bit more creative in design and site layout for office
and retail—more user friendly so to speak.
While our current C-2 zoning does allow the mix of office and retail,
the setbacks in the C-2 usually result in a “strip mall” look with a sea of
concrete parking in the middle or in the front facing the road.
The C-4 setbacks offer the opportunity to be a bit more creative and I
want to be open minded about that aspect of it and how we can best use it. I would like the result of revisiting this
to be something that Brentwood can feel good about. Change those items that we don’t like and
look at keeping the parts that may serve
I hope for those of you who were
not able to attend this will help to keep you updated. Feel free to call me, 370-3702 or email me.
What is C4, and why can the
developments be so large?
C4 is commercial zoning that originated in Brentwood's
original Town Center, which is basically north of Church St, much of it
in the "roundabout" area. It was designed to allow
higher density mixed use with some residential (think lofts above retail
stores) to spur redevelopment and create a more "downtown" feel.
Because the zoning didn't really catch on in that area, in 2010 the C4 zoning area expanded by ½ mile in each direction. Now this expanded area may allow a greater height and size of buildings, large underground
parking garages, and an increase in the possible number
of condo/rental/residential units. It may now also exist next to low-density
The C-4 commercial town center district
allows a wide variety of uses, including retail, professional office,
service-oriented business, residential and/or combinations of the above
uses, but encourages a more compact arrangement, greater building height, parking garages, with a pedestrian-oriented
approach in mind for development activity as compared to other commercial
districts. The C-4 Code does not specify which uses are
included as part of a mixed use development plan. Residential units
are not required to be a part of a plan.
However, if a plan within the C-4 district is to include residential,
it must also include commercial uses. (Per Section 78-252(12)a. of the
Zoning Ordinance.) This section also speaks about the Condo units.
Division 9. C-4 Commercial Town Center document link:
Residential units are permitted provided that:
Residential units must be integrated within a
planned development containing commercial uses. If a planned development
contains more than four residential units, such units must be
condominium units, and a unit owners association for the development
must be established and operated pursuant to the requirements of T.C.A. §
66-27-401 et seq., or any other applicable state statute.
Increased traffic, overcrowding and re-zoning of schools, and the presence of a large number of apartments
were the biggest
issues expressed by citizens regarding the Streets of Brentwood and
development projects. Although the developer withdrew the rezoning
the Streets of Brentwood project on the Murray Ohio/TBC properties,
Brentwood still has a large area for potential C4 (Town Center) zoning,
which allows for high density and rental condo/apartment complexes with
retail/office on the first floor.
We prefer development in keeping with the
traditional character of our city. Large apartment buildings have never been
part of Brentwood and will have a negative impact on our schools, traffic,
crime, and city infrastructure, thus leading to decreased property values and quality of life. Until C4 is returned to its parameters set forth prior to 2010, developers can and will return with requests for C4 zoning. We all must remain watchful as these types of rezoning requests come before the city for consideration.
Continue to VOTE for candidates who will act and support our schools and the traditional residential vision of Brentwood.
Also, if you believe -- as we do -- that problems exist with the
current C4 zoning, consider putting a "No C4" sign in your yard, along with election campaign signs for Commissioner candidates you feel share this vision of traditional residential
zoning. The “No C4” signs are only $10 each. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a “No C4” sign.
Below is a zoning map with the area originally intended for C-4 in bright red. It is in a small underdeveloped area nowhere near residential areas.
The red cross-hatched areas were opened to potential C-4 zoning in November 2010. THIS MAP DOES NOT SHOW THE NOW C-4 AREA OF SYNERGY PARK AND THE TAPESTRY DEVELOPMENT. Only 4 of the 7 commissioners showed up for the zoning expansion vote and it passed.
The 393 unit Tapestry project next to Staples was rezoned to C-4 and was approved for CONDOS.
So why are they now rental apartments? A loophole. The developer of
that project made itself the "owner" of each unit and can rent them out. C-4 needs fixing before it goes any further. C-4 has been creeping down and across Brentwood and high density housing and increased traffic are creeping along with it.
The Brentwood Hompage reported that the Planning Commission passed a recommendation to send the
moratorium on C4-Town Center zoning to the City Commission during their June 3 meeting.
Planning Commissioners Bob Powers and Neal McBrayer voted against sending the moratorium to the city commission.