Fairview leaders a year ago – almost to the day – voted to rezone a 125-acre piece of land adjoining the city’s outdoor centerpiece, Bowie Nature Park.
That vote allowed the development of nearly 170 homes, about 50 feet from the park and a hiking trail. The Neighborhood at Bowie Park plans, first presented to the Fairview Board of Commissioners almost two years ago, stunned Cox Run subdivision residents.
The plan originally proposed more than 240 homes. Their input helped decrease the number of homes and increase the buffer between the park over the ensuing months.
A section of the site still has planned overlay development homes, which has smaller homes on quarter-acre lots.
“You’ve got twice as many homes in a smaller footprint. You’ve got traffic. Now you’ve got light pollution. You’ve noise pollution,” said longtime resident Tim Rocco. “You’ve got all this stuff that comes with it.”
Last month, the Cox Run residents, who neighbor 700-acre Bowie Nature Park and the proposed development, won a lawsuit temporarily stopping work on The Neighborhood. A Williamson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley ordered the Fairview Board of Commissioners to again take action on a rezoning vote that would allow the Neighborhood to be built.
The reason? City ordinance requires preliminary drainage calculations to be presented at the board meeting before approval – the developer’s were not received until nearly nine months later, according to the judge.
The Cox Run group formed the Loblolly Pine Alliance and filed the lawsuit.
A public hearing has been scheduled for the May 19 Fairview Board of Commissioners meeting, which was the method chosen by city officials to comply with the judge’s order.
Rocco is worried developers will present new information at the upcoming meeting and the board won’t delay voting until further study. He fears “they have decided what they are going to do.”
‘Going to be bad’
Elmer Mobley, president of the alliance, said the group’s primary issues are: Denser housing; stormwater control; and damage to the park. And, they believe all three are tied together.
Mobley said most Fairview residents are opposed.
“I would say, off the cuff, 90 percent or more of the city, if you polled them, would say they have concerns about this or they outright don’t want to have it all,” said Mobley, adding that other residents have visited them to express those concerns.
The alliance was admittedly concerned about the effect on their property, but also worried about water damage to Bowie Park. The Alliance, in a recent interview with The Tennessean, said they aren’t ant-development. They know it’s coming.
“We all have great views. I have been there for 23 years. That’s going to go away. That’s OK. It’s not OK to build a city here,” Rocco said. “That’s what we object to. The whole POD thing.”
“It’s going to be bad,” he added.
‘The right fit’
Candy Groves, a Fairview resident representing the Groves family that owns the property, spoke at an April meeting last year about her love for the city and the proposed development.
“There's absolutely nothing that we want more than to bring a product that would make Fairview proud to have, and that our name would be behind,” Groves said.
She said several people have made offers to purchase the land over the years, and the answer was, “No.”
“We met Dan (Allen) and knew that it was the right fit,” said Groves, noting that the development is “beautiful.”
Allen owns Davis Drive Investments, which is developing the Neighborhood at Bowie Park.
“It will bring nice homes, sidewalks that everyone is so worried about, a playground for children, and I just think it will increase the value of the homes around,” Groves said. “I am nervous because I really don't know why there's been such a big situation about this, but I do want you to know that we care about the park. We care about Cox Run. We absolutely don't want anything to happen to any of our neighbors, but I do want to remind you that Cox Run was once a farm, and if you live in a subdivision it was once a farm.”
‘A city that borders (park)’
Rocco said if all the homes were on half-acre lots, he would stay quiet about the project. But, Rocco remains vocal about the drainage problems he fears.
“The thinking here is, at least what we were told, is this road is a good thing because it’s going to channel water into the stormwater basin,” said Rocco about the southern road between the neighborhood and park. “What they don’t account for is, when you pour water on concrete, it moves a lot faster than when you pour it on grass. There is a velocity issue.”
He said the denser homes on the POD means more roofs, driveways, and “more hard surfaces for all this water to trickle down into the neighborhood.”
“You have a city that borders (the park) now,” Rocco added. “It would have made just as much sense to just build half-acre lot subdivisions. There wouldn’t be a Loblolly Pine Alliance. We told them that.”
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Judge's order stalls new Fairview subdivision at park. What's next?