Preserve Brentwood forum focuses on controversial topics
Plans Shelved For Major Brentwood Development
By Shannon Royster
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - One of the biggest commercial development
projects in the history of Brentwood is now history itself. Developers
were hoping to build the Streets of Brentwood where the Tennessee
Baptist Convention center now sits at Maryland Way and Franklin Road.
The 950,000 square foot development was set to include retail space, restaurants, a theater, offices, and residential living.
The plan was met with serious opposition from neighbors who formed a
group called Preserve Brentwood to put a stop to the project. Members
of the group were concerned the development would mean a huge increase
in traffic in an area that's already heavily congested.
Earlier this month, city leaders asked the developer, H.G. Hill
Company to revise plans for the site after residents voiced concerns
about traffic and crime issues during public meetings in January. The
company decided not to make revisions.
Company leaders sent Brentwood city manager Kirk Bednar a letter
Friday morning. "They notified us this morning that they'd made the
decision that they could not come up with a plan that they felt would be
supported and make them the return they needed. " said Bednar.
H.G. Hill Company says they didn't reach this decision lightly. They
say they are sad and disappointed about it, but they say the situation
is simply too volatile and the financial risk is too great.
Even though Phase 1 of the project has been scrapped, the developers
still have the option to move forward with Phase 2. "So they will
probably move forward with the development of the Murray site under it's
current zoning, which was essentially for office buildings," said
Streets of Brentwood plans scrapped:
Developers have withdrawn plans to build the mixed-use project
Written by Bonnie Burch Feb. 16, 2013 1:45 AM
Developer withdraws 'Streets of Brentwood' proposal
BRENTWOOD, TN (WSMV) -
Feb 15, 2013 7:16 PM CST
Reported by Jonathan Martin
A controversial development plan for Brentwood is
officially off the table. For months, people have taken sides over a
proposal to build condos, restaurants and even a movie theater on
Now, the developer has withdrawn those plans.
The so-called Streets of Brentwood project had been in the works for
about two years, and developers called it a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity for Brentwood, saying finally the city would have a true
The project's end is a disappointment for some but relief for others.
"Very excited. I think that it was going to be something that was too
much for Brentwood. I think that we already have a lot of shopping
centers," said resident Joanna West.
The plan called for more than 900,000 square feet of condos, offices,
restaurants and retail. Many neighbors felt it was too much for
Brentwood, fearing a new town center would increase crime and traffic.
A group called "Preserve Brentwood" took these concerns to city leaders, asking them not to re-zone the property.
"The things that were most concerning were the high density residences, the hotel, the theater," said resident Gerald Witcher.
After hearing so many concerns, developers promised to tweak their
plans and submit a new proposal this week. Instead, they scrapped the
project all together.
Developer Jimmy Granberry, in a letter to the city, said in part,
"Based on our analysis of the requested revised proposal, we have
determined the current situation is simply too volatile, and the
financial risk simply too great, to continue to proceed with the
While this project is now off the table, neighbors said they know another could come soon.
"It can come up again in six months. Developers can do site work and
bring it up again after our May elections, and we feel like that's one
of the strategies they may be entertaining," Witcher said.
Developers also mentioned in their letter that concerns about the
project came from a small, but admittedly loud section of Brentwood and
said there were many supporters.
They also mentioned they'd invested thousands of hours and millions
of dollars in this project so far, but it's not clear what they have
planned for the property now.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Brentwood developers envision big changes for downtown
Jan 31, 2013 6:53 PM CST
Jan 31, 2013 8:58 PM CST
A bold plan for downtown Brentwood would completely change
the look of a busy part of town. Developers say it's badly needed, but
those against it say it's just going to add more traffic to an already
The development would include retail, condos and restaurants, but some neighbors says it's too much.
Despite big growth in recent years, Michael Hindman says one thing is still missing in Brentwood: a town square.
"Brentwood has never had a central commercial district," said
Hindman, an architect and spokesman for the proposed "Streets of
The roughly 900,000-square-foot project is planned for 17 acres near the corner of Franklin Road and Maryland Farms.
"It will have retail. It will have offices. It will have residential," Hindman said.
It would also include a hotel and movie theater.
But neighbors like Gerald Withcer says it's not what the city needs.
"The real issue is you're trying to put too many people and too much stuff in a small area," Withcer said.
Withcer and about a dozen others have started the group "Preserve
Brentwood," which hopes to create a collective voice to take before the
city commission, who would have to approve the special town center
"We're going to have significant traffic issues. We're going to have
an undue burden on our schools and force some of our residents to be
rezoned. We may indeed have some crime issues associated with these
changes," Withcer said.
Hindman, also a Brentwood resident, said he's listened to neighbors'
concerns and as a result developers have reduced the project by 50,000
square feet, decreased the height of proposed buildings and agreed to
move the development further back from the property line.
"So we've tried to respond in several ways," Hindman said.
Folks with Preserve Brentwood say they are willing to compromise. One
suggestion they have are to keep the offices, retail and restaurants
and get rid of the hotel and condos.
Developers are expected to come up with a new proposal soon for the commission to vote on at its next meeting set for Feb. 25.
The Preserve Brentwood group is meeting Thursday to discuss the plans at the library branch on Concord Road at 8 p.m.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Preserve Brentwood group battles to end Streets of Brentwood project
Residents want to save 'traditional vision' of town
Calvin and Jeanette Dale stand in the backyard of their home in
Brentwood and explain their opposition to the Streets of Brentwood
project. Their main concerns are more traffic and density in an area
where those are already problems. / Steven S. Harman / The Tennessean
When Preserve Brentwood TN
formed recently to oppose a large mixed-use development, the
grass-roots group decided to galvanize the troops of residents in hopes
of defeating the upcoming rezoning request.
To amass more voices,
members gathered statistics from traffic surveys, combed through
projected student enrollment data for area schools and even looked into
crime statistics provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for
nearby areas including Antioch, Bellevue and Green Hills.
These numbers have hit the Web at www.preservebrentwoodtn.org,
landed in email inboxes for area homeowners associations and been
passed around several schools’ student pickup lines to persuade
Brentwood residents to mobilize against the project.
thing you can do besides showing up (to meetings) is spread the word.
People can make up their own minds down the road. We just want to
present facts, figures and research and concerns,” Preserve Brentwood TN
member John Calton told a full meeting room of involved residents at
the Brentwood Library on Thursday night for the group’s first
At the heart of their arguments, Calton
said, is the “traditional vision of Brentwood” — single-family homes on
1-acre lots and less-dense business developments within the town
The goal is to persuade Brentwood city commissioners to
turn down GBT Realty Corp. and H.G. Hill Realty Co.’s rezoning request
to build Streets of Brentwood,
a more than 900,000-square-foot project that would feature condominiums
with a majority for rent; office space; a hotel; and retail and
restaurants, including a CineBistro movie theater on 17 acres of land
that houses the Tennessee Baptist Convention Center and the
now-demolished Murray Ohio headquarters.
After making it through a
first reading and public hearing with the city commission and a
positive recommendation from the planning commission, developers have
asked for a deferral on the final vote so they can revise some aspects
of the plans, although they haven’t given an indication of what the new
proposal would entail. Final reading is scheduled for Feb. 25.
the group’s petition, which exists as both a hard copy and an online
document, has gathered more than 500 signatures in three weeks and will
be handed to city leaders.
“We have a voice in this community that
needs to be heard,” another Preserve Brentwood TN member, Ashley
McAnulty, told the assembly of more than 100 people.
You may read the remainder of the article here: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013302040016
'Preserve Brentwood' group organizes to oppose rezoning
John Calton addresses the large crowd at Thursday night's Preserve Brentwood community meeting.
Community Meeting brings large crowd to library
Updated 5 p.m. Friday
For months, Brentwood residents whose properties are most affected by
proposed Streets of Brentwood mixed-use development have been watching
the rezoning process unfold at community and public meetings and
On Thursday night, more than 100 others joined them at the Brentwood
Library for a “community meeting” sponsored by a new ad hoc group,
For almost two hours, a standing-room-only crowd listened intently as
opponents to the proposed rezoning of the 17-acre former Murray Ohio
and Tennessee Baptist Convention sites into the Town Center commercial
district laid out their side of the issue. Specifically addressed were
possible impacts on local schools, traffic, crime and city revenues.
Preserve Brentwood, which has not yet been formally chartered, is a
group of about 15 to 20 impacted neighbors and interested Brentwood
residents who came together following the Jan. 7 Brentwood Planning
Commission meeting. That board voted 6-4 to recommend that the
Brentwood City Commission approve the rezoning from C-1, commercial
office, to C-4/SR, Town Center commercial with special restrictions.
The Planning Commission added a request to its motion, however, that
the 950,000-square-foot development that is expected to include retail,
restaurants, residential, office and a cinema along with a 1700-plus
space parking garage be reduced 50,000 square feet to lessen the impact
on the Williamsburg Circle homes directly adjacent to the property line.
The city commission’s final vote on the rezoning request is planned
for Feb. 25, a date deferred one month by the developers, H.G. Hill
Realty and GBT Realty Co., to give them time to analyze the planning
commission’s request as well as comments made by city commissioners and
the public during the required public hearing held Jan. 11.
Among those attending Thursday night's meeting to hear the
presentation were all seven of the city commissions and at least one
member of the planning commission.
No one representing the development team (landowners, architects,
traffic analysts or engineers) or city planning staff were part of the
program. Instead, different Preserve Brentwood team members shared their
personal and/or the team's analysis of the issues and data that has
been part of the rezoning process.
Preserve Brentwood, said moderator John Calton, consists of people
who want to keep the “traditional vision of Brentwood” with its
one-house, one-acre residential flavor intact and to unite others in an
effort to influence city leaders to vote no to the rezoning later this
He said the group includes people of different age groups and
socioeconomic backgrounds who are empty nesters, parents of young
children and people with no children.
An 11-year Brentwood resident who lives on Williamsburg Circle, Calton's property backs up to the adjacent Hill Center.
Calton quoted a Brentwood Home Page story from 2010
concerning an amendment approved to the original C-4 zoning ordinance
that allowed commercial areas up to a half mile away from the district's
original boundaries to seek a reclassification to C-4. That story
stated that the city sought the input of several Brentwood area
builders, architects and developers for feedback on the amendments.
“‘Many developers had their input, but we feel residents did not,”
Calton said. “The citizens of Brentwood need a seat at the table.”
Team member Ashley Mcanulty offered a “non-developer view” of the Streets concept plan.
As currently zoned, he said, the 17 acres could contain five office
buildings, similar to the nearby Ramparts building. He showed a slide of
a concept plan the H.G. Hill/GBT team presented to the city for how it
might look if developed under current zoning. It shows five office
buildings with a total of 760,000 square feet.
As developed under C-4, the original concept plan calls for a
950,000-square-foot, multi-storied development, though it will likely be
reduced at the recommendation of the planning commission.
“This is a major, major development at the gateway to our city,”
Mcanulty said. He reviewed the residential component and shared
information about the Cinebistro, an 11-screen theater/restaurant that
caters to adults, the hotel and retail components.
He also mentioned the Hill Center, now anchored by Fresh Market and
REI, and hinted that it may be next to be rezoned. “This is a potential
site for C-4 in the future.” (No rezoning plans have been brought to the
city and the Hill Center, though owned by the same company, has no
bearing on the rezoning proposal being considered now).
Of the residential units, a majority of which would be rentals, he
said 45 percent would be 600- to 800-square-feet, one-bedroom units, or
“about the size of a lot of bathrooms in Brentwood.”
Mcanulty mentioned Tapestry, a new rental condominium development
under construction across Franklin Road on Centerview Drive that will
have close to 400 one- and two-bedroom units. “That morphed into
something we didn’t think it would become,” he said.
|From left, standing, Mayor Paul Webb, city commissioners
Rhea Little, Jill Burgin and Betsy Crossley and Planning Commissioner
Mark Gorman listen to the presentation.
Of the hotel, he asked, “do we really need another hotel at the Old
Hickory and I-65 exit” when 15 are already in operation nearby. That
number that will grow to 16 when the recently approved Hilton Garden Inn
is built around the historic Mooreland Mansion in the Synergy Center.
David Moss, a traffic engineer, reviewed the traffic study that was
conducted by RPM on behalf of the developer and reviewed by another firm
at the request of the city; Joy Day, a mother of a Scales Elementary
School kindergartener spoke about the rezoning's impact on schools;
Gerald Witcher shared studies on crime rates, and Page Robble, a CPA,
gave an overview of the city’s financial picture and expected revenue
from different types of development on the site.
Day claimed that while Williamson County Schools' administrators have
estimated approximately 50 students might live in the Streets of
Brentwood and it could accommodate them without issue, she believes the
potential number of children entering the public school system will be
much more and that it will have a “ripple effect.”
“The people on the fringes of those areas are going to be rezoned,” Day stated.
Witcher painted a bleak picture of the future if the Streets proposal is approved.
“I’m just a guy. But I do live here and I do have some personal
experience with crime,” he said, sharing he grew up in the Nolensville
Road and Antioch area which he said used to be a nice area.
He claimed if apartments are built, over time “it will change the demographics in our community forever.”
Witcher said Brentwood’s high home prices form a barrier to crime
elements today. Homeowners have “skin in the game,” he said. “Renters
don’t have much skin in the game. … They get to use all of our
facilities just because they are renters.”
He said that even though the units are supposed to be real nice and
expensive, that will not keep crime from increasing. “Nothing could be
future from the truth,” he claimed. “We have something really special
here that we are real close to screwing it up.
“... I don’t want to see Brentwood turn into the Antioch of Williamson County,” Witcher concluded to applause.
Page Robble, an accountant, reviewed the city’s financial standing, which he described as financially strong.
“We have a unique thing here; I think we have a lot to be thankful
for,” he said. “I think we’re all here because hopefully we’re all well
off and want to preserve that.”
Robble said that with the city’s $26.5 million in reserves and AAA
bond rating, “you’re not going to find a city that’s any better.”
He said that if the 17 acres is rezoned and developed under C-4, its
estimated value would be $210 million. Developed under C-1, its
estimated value would be $160 million. Both are significantly higher
than the $13,955 the Murray Ohio property currently brings to the city
“It’s obviously not a good thing to have abandoned property,” Robble noted.
Robble urged everyone to be concerned about the current proposal but
more importantly to be more involved in all aspects of the city, not
just “my little house in my neighborhood.”
Calton closed the official part of the program by urging all
attending to become engaged, study the plans, contact members of the
city commission and remember the upcoming Municipal Election in May.
UPDATED: 'Streets' developers ask to defer final rezoning vote
On Thursday, the team working with developers H.G. Hill Realty
Company and GBT Realty Corporation met and “realized we needed time to
re-evaluate everything we’d heard,” spokesman Michael Hindman told
Brentwood Home Page Friday. “Those decisions don’t happen quickly, so
rather than rush to iron them all out, we decided to take the time to
Hindman would not elaborate on what changes might be made to the
concept plan submitted as part of the rezoning request, but said they
included “a number of things,” including the requested reduction of
50,000 square feet from the 950,000-square foot concept plan and
“rumblings of requests for further reductions.”
Asked about the residential units and if they could all be
owner-occupied rather than rentals – a request heard in multiple
meetings concerning the project, Hindman said that, of course, would be
the ideal, but that financing simply is not available for that type of
condominium project currently.
Developers are caught in a Catch 22 situation. The concept plan
submitted as part of the rezoning request is not the actual site plan
that must be approved and followed if the rezoning is passed.
A concept plan must be submitted as part of a rezoning request so
that the city can make any special restrictions to its standard
restrictions specific to a particular type of zoning. Once a rezoning
request passes, a developer then submits the real site plan to the city
that must be approved by the planning commission with no guarantee the
plans will be approved as submitted, if at all.
“There are so many unknowns, it makes developers wary,” Hindman said.
That’s why developers work so closely with city staff to make sure
projects pass muster and win staff recommendation before going to city
commission for a rezoning request and later for site plan approval.
“We’re all trying to do the right thing by Brentwood,” Vice Mayor Rod Freeman said.
“Overall the plan is a good plan and I hope we can see it through. I
think the developers have the best interest of Brentwood at heart just
as we have the best interest of Brentwood at heart. “
Citizens speak out, mostly against Streets of Brentwood
A resident speaks out against the proposed rezoning and mixed-use development planned on the corner of Franklin Road and Maryland Way.
Corrected 8:15 a.m. Tuesday
Opponents turned out 2 to 1 to share concerns about the proposed
rezoning and related Streets of Brentwood mixed- use development at a
public hearing Monday night. The Brentwood City Commission listened,
but did not respond to the comments made prior to its regular meeting.
The commission’s final vote on the ordinance that would rezone 17
acres on the southwest corner of one of the city’s busiest and most
visible intersections, Franklin Road and Maryland Way, will be on Jan.
Proponents, who Mayor Paul Webb allowed to speak first, noted the
900,000-plus square foot development would bring retail, restaurants, a
cinema, office buildings and residential units to an expanded Town
Center district. They cited the “pedestrian experience,” “street scene,”
‘shopping” and the ability to downsize to a condominium-style community
in Brentwood as reasons to allow the rezoning.
The two parcels, the former Murray Ohio headquarters and the current
Tennessee Baptist Convention sites, are currently zoned C-1 (Commercial
office). Property owners H.G. Hill Realty Company and GBT Realty
Corporation want it rezoned C-4 (Town Center district with special
restrictions), which allows a much higher density and mixed used that
“I am thrilled to see a town center become a reality,” Amy B. Wyatt,
a 19-year Brentwood resident and local Realtor, told the board. She
urged the commission to require the residential units to be “actual
condos,” not rental units.
“I know I could sell them,” she said, adding that she knows many people who would like to live there.
Wyatt (who provides real estate statistics to Brentwood Home Page)
noted, however, that she would prefer the large parking structure
located in the center of the property in the current concept plan to be
moved to another location to allow people to walk through the
Cindi Parmenter, speaking on behalf of the Williamson County Chamber
of Commerce, and Nelson Andrews, general manager of Andrews Cadillac,
both mentioned the economic benefits the rezoning and development could
bring to the city.
Parmenter noted that the retail component could bring 250 to 275
jobs, while the proposed offices could add 1,000 to 1400 employment
opportunities. She added the development could bring $10 million
annually to the city and county in sales and property taxes.
Eight individuals spoke in favor of the rezoning. After just over 15
of the allotted 30 minutes for favorable comments had passed and no one
else stepped up to speak, Webb invited opponents to begin.
Residents of Williamsburg Estates, Iroquois Estates and Meadowlake –
three subdivisions that most commonly are referred to as Meadowlake and
are the closest to the site – made up the largest contingent of those
speaking against the rezoning, though others from throughout the city
also shared their feelings with the board. Crime, noise, traffic and a
lack of green space were common themes voiced.
A misinterpretation of the original intent of the Town Center concept and C-4 zoning was also a topic of concern.
Tawn Albright, who lives in Belle Rive II, came with three
suggestions for the board. He asked that a comprehensive traffic plan
for the entire city be put into place before more development is
approved and he suggested the number of residential units be reduced and
that all of the units be owner occupied. Finally, he asked that the
development be redesigned to incorporate adjacent Maryland Farms Park,
to accommodate the green space and make it more palatable to the entire
Barbara Wilkins, a Williamsburg Circle resident whose property abuts
the existing Hill Center and Ruby Tuesdays restaurant, said she
preferred office buildings to the mixed-use proposal.
“Anytime you put commercial against residential, residential loses,”
no matter how many special restrictions you put on the development,
Chuck Czarnik, who works in the Westpark Building in Maryland Farms,
told the board that the planned parking structure would be among the
largest in the state and “as big as the parking structure being built
for the Nashville Convention Center.” His comments centered on the
growing infrastructure needs that come with development of this scale.
Czarnik was one of several individuals who mentioned the nearby
Tapestry condominium development now being constructed less than a mile
away on Centerview Drive and a new hotel that recently won approval
after a rezoning to C-4/SR in the Synergy Business Park. The hotel will
be built around the historic Mooreland Mansion.
Each citizen was given two minutes to speak, which was closely followed by most of the speakers.
The time limit brought a few uncomfortable minutes when Dr. Jack
Fletcher, a former city and planning commissioner, requested additional
time after Webb indicated his time was up. Webb told the Brentwood
dentist who has previously spoken against the proposal that he had to be
fair to all and not make exceptions. Fletcher took exception to Webb’s
refusal to let him continue. After a few tense exchanges, Fletcher
returned to his seat in the full board room.
After 15 individuals had their say against the project, Janice Dukes
-- a 44-year resident of the city and one of the two Williamsburg Circle
residents most impacted – was given the final two minutes of the public
Dukes shared that when her family moved into their home, Brentwood
was a peaceful, idyllic community and the only sound they heard was the
horses at Maryland Farms, when the property behind her house was a real
farm and not a business park.
She read a passage from the city’s history posted on its website
that reads: “... The vision that was shared by Brentwood’s early
residents in establishing a low density residential community is still
prevalent. About 90 percent of Brentwood’s acreage is zoned residential
with a density standard of one dwelling unit per acre."
"The easy accessibility to Nashville, the open country character of
the area and the focus on quality land use and development has made
Brentwood one of the most attractive and desirable growing communities
“There’s no mention of mixed-used development,” Dukes told the
commission. She asked the six commissioners present – Rhea Little was
absent due to a medical issue – to
“represent and protect” the people who had elected them and to “study everything carefully.”
Though none of the commissioners directly addressed those who spoke,
Vice Mayor Rod Freeman thanked those who came out during the
Commissioners Comments part of the agenda.
“I appreciate the fact that so many people came out for or against,” he said, and took the time to participate in the process.
The next and final action comes on Jan. 28 when the city commission
will vote on second and final reading on the rezoning request. The
meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the second-floor board room of the
Brentwood Municipal Building.
UPDATE: The vote on the project, at the request of the developer, has been deferred to the Feb 25 City Commission meeting.
The citing of news articles in no way suggests the Brentwood Home Page's position on this issue.
You may visit the article directly at: http://www.brentwoodhomepage.com/citizens-speak-out-mostly-against-streets-of-brentwood-cms-11385#.UPipGLYx9SS