PHOTO: A rendering of the proposed senior living facility that was planned for Moores Lane and Wilson Pike.
By LANDON WOODROOF
A plan to rezone 18 acres of land at the corner of Wilson Pike and Moores Lane to allow for the construction of a new senior living facility ran into a dead end at Monday night’s City Commission meeting.
Numerous nearby residents came to the meeting and spoke out against the rezoning ordinance, worrying about the effect that the proposed two-story, 120,000-square-foot facility could have on traffic, home values and the character of this part of town.
City Commissioners agreed and failed to even pass a motion to consider the ordinance. Instead, after some discussion, a motion to deny was unanimously approved.
The land in question, known as the Hefner property, is currently zoned R-1 – Large Lot Residential. This allows for lots that are at least two acres in size.
The applicants had requested that the land be rezoned to C-1/SR – Commercial Office with Special Restrictions, the same zoning that was afforded the Morning Pointe of Brentwood assisted living and memory care center just down the street on Wilson Pike. The developers of that facility were the same ones requesting the rezoning ordinance for the new facility.
The proposed new facility would have had 58 assisted living and 61 independent living units.
Lee and Erika Neumann live in a house on Alamo Road that backs up to the Hefner property. They both spoke out strongly against the rezoning ordinance Monday night.
Lee Neumann said one of the attractive selling points they considered when they bought their home was the fact that it backed up to a farm that was largely undevelopable due to the presence of a flood zone.
“We’ve lived back there quietly for 15 years and don’t want that disturbed,” Lee Neumann said. “I think the City of Brentwood has done a great job in their zoning…and I think the zoning for that property should stay the way it is right now.”
Lee Neumann also expressed unease about the precedence that the rezoning of that land could set.
“I think it’s very concerning to us, and not just for us but Brentwood as a whole, if anybody can come in and swoop up five, six houses and come to you guys and get a zoning variance and make it a commercial property,” he said.
Erika Neumann felt that a large commercial building at that intersection would detract from Brentwood’s image.
“It is just gonna be a big building that’s there that is going to take away from what Brentwood is,” she said. “People come here, they love Brentwood because we have our farmlands in the middle of all of our homes and we need to keep it that way.”
Other residents, including Lisa Rothman and Julie Van Tassel, bemoaned the effect the new facility could have on traffic at the busy intersection.
Stephanie Fox lives nearby on Moores Lane. A realtor in Williamson County for over 25 years, Fox said that the construction of a large senior living facility on that corner would have a detrimental effect on nearby home prices.
“This would absolutely devalue their properties at least 10 percent,” she said.
One person, Francene Kavin, spoke on behalf of the sellers of the property. She said they had “worked very hard and lengthily to find and to contract with a buyer who fit the character of this area, who fit the character of Brentwood.” They felt that the Morning Pointe of Brentwood team would be the best candidate to develop the site since that team was already enmeshed in the community and knew the city well.
That sentiment failed to persuade the City Commissioners who one by one explained their reasons for rejecting the rezoning ordinance.
“We’ve had a great relationship with Morning Pointe,” Commissioner Regina Smithson said. “So it’s nothing against the business or the property owners, but…this is so not appropriate for that corner as far as I’m concerned.”
Commissioner Ken Travis said that the decision was a difficult one for him. Travis said that Morning Pointe is the “gold standard” for its industry, but that in the end his qualms about added traffic and a commercial look at the corner of Wilson Pike and Moores Lane were too great to allow him to vote in favor of the ordinance.
Vice Mayor Mark Gorman said the vote was a simple one for him.
“For me this was a pretty straightforward and easy decision,” he said. “This is a residential piece of property that was in a neighborhood.”
Under current zoning, the Hefner property has 12.83 acres of developable land, given the presence of a floodplain. That is enough for six, two-acre lots.