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Cookeville Approves Lovelady Road Rezoning With Transitional Zone

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Approves Lovelady Road Rezoning With Transitional Zone

Cookeville City Council voted 4 to 1 Thursday night to approve the rezoning of a Lovelady Road property with a transitional zone.

The transitional zone would provide a buffer of almost 20 acres between current properties and some 87 acres of future higher-density development. Vice Mayor Laurin Wheaton said that she felt this was the best compromise.

“I know that all of us have spent countless hours reading statistics, researching reports, driving by this development, driving by other developments, talking to our planning commission, and talking to our city departments,” Wheaton said. “And what we found is that Cookeville needs homes. And we need affordable homes. So I want to thank everyone for reaching out to me, and we heard you.”

Council Member Eric Walker was the single no vote. He said he strongly felt proposed developments like this should be submitted as Proposed Residential Developments, allowing the city and developers to come to an agreement on what is built.

Walker said that just in the past year, the city has approved 728 single-family units and 28 multi-family units. He said that while that’s necessary for a community to prosper, it must be done with careful thought and consideration for residents. Walker said he is also concerned about setting a precedent.

“Are we going to draw lines on the map in the future and say that’s going to be one zone and this is going to be another, or do we need to set a precedent for how large development is done in Cookeville?” Walker said. “I believe it’s fundamental planning to me, and it’s better planning for Cookeville.”

Walker said that he has some concerns with moving forward with an approach of allowing higher-density developments at this scale. He said it invites the idea of architectural standards and anti-developmental growth. He said that if done the right way, he thinks Cookeville would embrace growth.

Mayor Ricky Shelton said that he agrees, and challenges the planning department to look into such things as soon as possible.

Several dozen residents spoke against the proposal at the last council meeting, concerned about the impact of the proposed development on their community. Council members asked the planning commission to approach the developer about using a PRD concept for the land, but the developer refused.


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