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Walker: Cookeville Growth Indicates Need To Explore Zoning Updates

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Walker: Cookeville Growth Indicates Need To Explore Zoning Updates

Is it time for Cookeville to consider updating its zoning standards and requirements?

That’s a question Council Member Eric Walker would like to explore. He said that the recent discussions about rezoning Lovelady Road have brought these debates to light.

“Anytime you have a large development like this come along you need to look at your growth and how you’re mitigating that growth,” Walker said. “A lot of zoning laws and codes are designed for that local builder in mind to give them the flexibility to put forth a good product that’s affordable. When you scale up, you need to go back and relook at that.”

Walker said that when making those considerations it’s important to look at what other similar cities in the state are doing. Walker referenced White House and Lebanon as two communities that had done similar work to the Lovelady Road proposed development.

At a recent city council meeting, Walker wanted to see what the option could be for Homeowners Association requirements at larger developments. Walker said that with larger developments, HOA’s among other things can help ensure uniformity and the ability to address issues within that smaller community.

“It’s a very difficult process because you don’t want to increase restrictions on your homebuilder that you’ve known for the last 20 years that’s lived here in Cookeville,” Walker said. “They’re out here trying to build nice residential homes, smaller developments one at a time. So they need the flexibility to not have a lot of restrictions and a lot of zoning.”

“However when you scale up into a larger piece of land, you need to look at the amenities that are given, and HOAs are often considered amenities along with other things like a walking trail. So when you have like a PRD or a Planned Unit community, you can address that kind of thing that at the Planning Commission.”

Walker said that COVID probably sparked a lot of the growth that has occurred as of late. He said that Cookeville is fortunate to have growth and as a city and as planners for the city it’s important to make sure it’s the right kind of growth.


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