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 RESIDENTS DELIVER MESSAGE AT PUBLIC HEARING:
 
“NO MORE HIGH DENSITY HOUSING!”

 

The night was cold, but that did not stop about 200 people from attending the Public Hearing on senior housing and the City’s proposal for government controlled, high density, age-restricted senior housing. The message from the overwhelming majority was clear:

 
They were opposed to high density housing and in favor of keeping Brentwood’s one acre density.

 

Here is a summary:

  • Speakers were opposed to the high density housing by a margin of over 2 to 1.
  • All speakers supported senior downsizing options.
  • The vast majority were for senior housing with small lots where the one acre density was maintained with greenspace.
  • Relatively few were in favor of the City’s high density proposal.
  • The majority opposed federal government controlled, age-restricted senior communities.

 
Noteworthy Resident Comments – In Their Own Words:
 
1.“If senior housing is to be built, and I voted for it, please add green space to maintain one acre density. Do not sell out our future for developer’s profits today. I would appreciate you living up to your campaign promises of responsible growth – high density housing is not responsible growth.”
 
2.“While I support senior housing and I understand the need, I think we need to find a way to work within our current zoning to accommodate our needs and stay with the one home per acre. I don’t want to live in Green Hills and I don’t want to live in Nashville, that’s why I live in Brentwood. I don’t think that we have the infrastructure to support higher density housing and we certainly do not have the traffic management to support more traffic.”
 
3.“I see the one acre density as a generational gift that’s been passed from one generation to the next over the past four decades. Why change it now? Why abandon this generational gift? It’s this gift that has been passed on and now that I find we’re considering going away from it, it seems like a betrayal of sorts.”
 
4.“When you exclude young people and children you get a different environment that is very different from what we like about Brentwood. I urge you not to do age-restricted and stay away from high density.”
 
5.“I support one acre density. I think that is the character of Brentwood.”  
 
6.“Over 95% of the Northumberland residents believe that the one house per acre should be left alone. When we completed the 2020 survey I didn’t know we would be changing the rules of one house per acre. It took me four Saturdays to survey my neighborhood. I would hate for you to vote on something the majority of people don’t want.”
 
7.“We’re discussing what is the best way to have affordable, adequate senior housing. The proposal the City is looking at now is not the best approach. There are better ways to address this question.”
 
8.“I oppose any change that would change the density or involve, or potentially involve, the Federal Government. Once HUD gets a foothold the character and core values of Brentwood will be severely damaged and there will not be any going back.”
 
9.“I support one acre zoning. Brentwood’s infrastructure was not designed for high density housing.”
 
10.“Traffic is already in a congested state but is fast approaching being in a paralysis situation. Higher density housing would make things worse”
 
11.“There are younger people in their forties with small kids in this community that will really be upset if you go away from one acre zoning. There’s a level of trust that this one acre density was going to be there.”
 
12.“If you have the HOA enforce the “55 and older” that will be a colossal disaster. It’s unworkable, there’s no enforcement capability with a HOA.”
 
13.“In addition, you want the authority to negotiate zoning standards with each developer which would create inconsistency throughout the City. The City has done very well with what we have today, so why do we want to change it.”
 
14.“Without exception all of our commissioners have on numerous occasions pledged  unwavering support for one home per acre residential zoning. Commissioners I hope you keep your promise to residents. If this plan was so good why didn’t we talk about it during the last election so citizens could understand where your position was. We don’t have to bust one acre zoning to accomplish viable senior alternatives for downsizing. Commissioner Gorman and Commissioner Travis have both said they do not support the current proposal because of the density. If others of you have promised citizens you will defend one acre zoning, I’m trying to decide who’s going to vote for this.
 
15.“You all can very intelligently look at how we can put together an OSRD with adequate green space.”
 
16.“Why do we continue this process of high density housing? Certainly not for the benefit of seniors as has already been said. I think everyone in the meeting has spoken of downsizing options and we can do that. OSRD has not worked for senior housing because we let the developer opt out of building smaller houses on the smaller lots. We can provide the product seniors are looking for which is downsized options. I think we need to start over and consider a plan that works within our current community and current zoning standards. Commissioner Travis has presented one and there have been others that have been presented from the community. We can have other solutions without busting one acre zoning. If we press toward this high density housing situation we’re going to end up with many unintended consequences.” 

NOTE:
Over 2,500 acres are suitable for residential development in Brentwood (of the 3,500 acres that remain undeveloped).
 
One acre zoning =  projected 2,500 more homes.
High density housing = projected 6,000 more homes.
 
Which is best for our traffic situation? Our infrastructure? Our quality of life?
 
THE ZONING DECISIONS THAT ARE MADE TODAY WILL DETERMINE THE CHARACTER OF OUR COMMUNITY TOMORROW.

 
IMPORTANT REMINDER: 

Preserve Brentwood is not opposed to new senior housing in Brentwood.  We feel that it needs to be developed within our current zoning structure.  Don’t forget what happened in the recent past when city leaders attempted to spur development by creating a new zoning classification.  It brought us C4 Zoning- with extreme high density!  It brought us Tapestry- with 393 Apartments!  

 



 

 
Controversial Vote to Affect City Traffic

Public Hearing on January 12 – Resident Comments Needed
 
Should Brentwood maintain the traditional one acre density
OR
Should Brentwood, for the first time in history, open the doors to high density residential development and the accompanying big increase in traffic?

 

If approved, high density housing will generate 2 to 3 times more traffic from new development than would have traditionally been permitted.
 
The driving experience of residents will be directly impacted by this City Commission vote.  Our main traffic corridors are all State roads (see list below). The State controls if and when these roads are expanded. If the City decides to allow high density housing, then we must be prepared to endure severe traffic problems.  
 
At issue is Brentwood’s plan for more senior housing. City Commissioners are considering a controversial proposal to permit government controlled high density senior housing. Alternatively, residents have suggested the City simply promote senior friendly homes on small lots with green space in keeping with traditional standards – no high density, no Federal Government control.  
 
This critical decision will determine the way Brentwood continues to grow, the future character of our City and the future lifestyle of residents.
 
What do you think? Concerned residents should attend the Public Hearing on January 12 and express their opinion. Your voice is critical to this process!
 
Specifics:
 
These senior housing options were reviewed and discussed at Preserve Brentwood’s Resident Information Meeting in November. Over 70 residents attended as well as Mayor Smithson and several commissioners (see list below).
 
As proposed, the government controlled high density senior housing option would create a new senior zoning category designed to establish government controlled senior communities.
 
Option I:  Federal Government Controlled High Density Senior Housing
(The City Commission will soon be voting on this option.)

City staff has developed a proposal that would fundamentally change Brentwood’s zoning and character. This proposal is for a new senior zoning category designed to establish government controlled high density senior communities. Proposal details are:
 
1. Housing density between 2.4 and 3 homes per acre. No green space required. (Current zoning requires a maximum of 1 home per acre where homes can be on small lots with community green space or on one acre private lots.) For example on a 50 acre tract, traditional zoning would allow a developer to build 50 homes. This proposal would allow 120 homes on 50 acres!

2. These homes will be occupied by people of all ages. At least 90% of homes must be occupied by at least 1 person 60 years of age or older. This insures that there will be a number of seniors, but also that there will be many people of all ages (over 18 yrs.). A lot of these homes will be older individuals living with younger family and friends. Statistics show that the average age in these “senior” communities is “early 60’s”. Clearly many younger people would reside in these high density developments.

3. These communities would be under the control of the Federal Government (HUD) through the Fair Housing Act and Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA). Homeowners are subject to federal housing regulations, compliance standards, federal enforcement policies and ongoing monitoring. Homeowners can, at any time, be held liable for federal fines if the government determines the community falls out of compliance.

4. Homes must be between 2000 sq. ft. and 3500 sq. ft.

5. Homes can be detached or townhomes sharing a common wall (row houses).

6. Projected price range of homes:  $500,000 - $875,000

7. Homes must have: grab bars in the bathrooms, all doors at least 36 inches wide, at least one bedroom and full bathroom on first floor and step- free access to the main living area from the front door and/or garage entrance.

8. Would require twice the sewer service from Brentwood’s limited system.

9. Residents would relinquish control of many established technical zoning standards. City Commissioners would be given special new authority to negotiate these standards with each developer as they see fit.

 
Notably, very few senior residents in attendance at the Preserve Brentwood meeting supported Option I above.
 
Option II:  Senior Friendly Homes Built Under Current Zoning Standards
(This option has been recommended by some residents)

Residents have recommended that, moving forward, the City simply require developers build a minimum number of senior friendly homes as part of every new subdivision. This option would feature the following:


1. Senior friendly homes built on small lots with sufficient green space to retain Brentwood’s one home per acre density. This approach would utilize the City’s current zoning and technical standards.

2. The required features of senior friendly homes would be determined by the City Commission with resident input.

3. New subdivisions would be required to include a fixed percentage of senior friendly homes. This requirement would be structured such that Brentwood would be assured a growing supply of senior friendly housing and developers would make a reasonable profit.

4. The Federal Government would not be involved. Homeowners could not be held liable for the Federal fines that are possible with Option I (see above Option I, #3).

 
 
Questions:

  • Why would we decide to double or triple traffic from new development? Shouldn’t we be working to manage the growth of our traffic?
  • Why would we decide to involve the Federal Government when we have good alternatives such as presented in Option II?
  • Why would we decide to double our need for sewer and water service from this new development when our resources are so limited?

 
State Roads Serving As Main Corridors in Brentwood – the State determines if and when these roads will be expanded. Brentwood does not control these roads! The City’s ability to expand the road system is very limited.

  • Concord Road
  • Franklin Road
  • Moores Lane
  • Old Hickory Blvd.
  • Wilson Pike

 
 Commissioners Attending the Preserve Brentwood Meeting

  • Regina Smithson, Mayor
  • Mark Gorman, City Commissioner
  • Ken Travis, City Commissioner
  • Jack Fletcher, Planning Commissioner
  • John Magyer, Planning Commissioner
  • Jack  Moriarty, Planning Commissioner

 
Please mark your calendars:
Public Hearing - 7:00pm, January 12, 2016 at City Hall (2nd Floor), Maryland Way

 
PLEASE JOIN PRESERVE BRENTWOOD IN STAYING INFORMED AND INVOLVED!


***

OUR MISSION STATEMENT


Preserve Brentwood’s mission is to ensure that Brentwood continues to grow in a well-planned manner that is consistent with the city’s existing character and infrastructure. We are an open, non-partisan group of residents and local businesses dedicated to common-sense growth based on Brentwood’s traditional zoning standards*. These zoning requirements have been central to the success Brentwood enjoys today.

 

This quote is from City of Brentwood website:

“The vision that was shared by Brentwood’s own 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 in Tennessee.”

 

These are characteristics we wish to honor and maintain for generations to come.

 

*This quality growth, land use and development require that the area zoned for owner-occupied residential property with a low density of one home per acre remain intact. Commercially zoned areas have to be of moderate density and limited building height (i.e. Maryland Farms). Multifamily residences (such as apartment buildings) are not in keeping with the city’s character or infrastructure.


 





It is our intention to provide accurate facts from public records and reach reasoned conclusions based on those facts from professionals in each field.

Should you find an error in facts, please notify us, and we will make corrections.


Vivat Veritas