BRENTWOOD'S C-4 COMMERCIAL ZONING
WHAT WENT WRONG?
City Commissioners made a very controversial decision in 2004 when they established a new commercial zoning category designated as the C-4 Commercial Zone. Although the C-4 Commercial Zone was a major departure from Brentwood's traditional zoning standards, it was further expanded in 2010. This zoning change became very unpopular with many Brentwood residents.
The new zoning was essentially designed to further urbanize parts of the City's commercial area. Specifically, C-4 Zoning permitted the following major changes:
- Increased the population density in the C-4 areas by permitting apartments and condominiums.
- Required less open space than traditional Brentwood commercial zoning and allowed developers to build more in a given area. Notably, the required distance between buildings ("Floor Area Ratio") was reduced as was the required setback from the street.
- Increased the maximum building height from four stories to as many as seven stories! This change almost doubled allowable density in some areas where people work or live.
Problems created by C-4 Zoning
Brentwood's infrastructure (schools, roads, sewer etc.) was not designed to support this type of urbanized, high density development. C-4 Zoning has adversely affected residents across the City because of serious infrastructure issues.
Property Values, Schools and Higher Taxes: The C-4 Commercial Zone altered the nature of the city by permitting apartments for the first time. The resulting surge in new students contributed to the overcrowding of our schools and an increase in taxes. Property values were threatened when the school district tentatively rezoned some Brentwood neighborhoods for forced busing to other areas such as Franklin.
C-4 Zoning gave rise to the development of the Tapestry apartment complex. Tapestry sits on only seven acres but contains over 300 apartments. The number of students attending Brentwood schools from Tapestry is equivalent to the number of students from most of Brentwood's largest subdivisions! When residents become frustrated with overcrowded schools, rising taxes and the prospect of forced busing fingers naturally get pointed at Tapestry.
C-4 Zoning also gave rise to a massive development proposal called The Streets of Brentwood (TSOB). TSOB was planned as a mixed use development equal in size to the Green Hills Mall. It would have contained more apartments/condos as well as office and retail space. This behemoth was to be located on the southwest corner of the intersection at Franklin Road and Maryland Way.
TSOB would have been a nightmare for the City's infrastructure including terrible traffic, school and sewer problems.
The proposal did pass the City Commission on the first vote. But, the outrage from residents got so strong that the developer ended up scrapping the plans completely.
Deteriorating Traffic Conditions: The greater the population density, the greater the traffic density. The more people there are living/working in a fixed area, the heavier the traffic. C-4 Zoning has contributed to Brentwood's traffic woes. C-4 Zoning has also created an adverse ripple effect in traffic throughout the entire City by affecting all the interstate exchanges.
Sewer Restrictions and Property Values: Brentwood's sewer system has a limited capacity and growth must be managed wisely to prevent very expensive service problems and very expensive, ugly environmental problems. High density development places a much, much greater demand on the sewer system than was originally planned. Sewer problems damage property values.
History and Timeline of C-4 Zoning
2004 - City Commission creates C-4 Commercial Zone
2010 - City Commission expands C-4 Commercial Zone
2011 - Tapestry approved by City Commission
2013 - Developer withdraws proposal for The Streets of Brentwood
2015 - City Commission pushes C-4 Commercial Zone back to original boundaries. All residential components (apartments/condos) of C-4 are eliminated and original size/height restrictions are reinstated.
Note: This occurred because the expanded C-4 Zone (created in 2010) became so unpopular with residents.
Location of the C-4 Commercial Zone
C-4 Zoning exists in Brentwood's northern commercial area and is roughly centered at the intersection of Franklin Rd. and Maryland Way. From this intersection the C-4 area extends a block or two in all directions.The map below details the boundaries of C-4. The original C-4 Commercial Zone created in 2004 is shown in solid red.The C-4 Commercial Zone was expanded in 2010 to include the red checked area on the map.