The large new subdivision on the north side of the city moved a little closer to becoming a reality Monday night.
Nichols Vale, which is to be located off of Lebanon Road, and will contain 380 homes, got a zoning classification change at the City Commission meeting.
The project has been met with some controversy from nearby residents who feel the area can’t handle the growth. An entrance off of Sunset Drive gained particular attention because of the poor condition of the road. An entrance off of Benton Douglas Parkway is the main entrance to the neighborhood. One that would have been open to Faulkner Lane was closed after early discussions.
“There were a lot of concessions trying to get the best out of this,” said Mayor Ed Hagerty. He thanked Commissioner Ray Justice for working with the community, and getting as many changes to the plan as possible to help the surrounding residents.
An agreement between the City of Mt. Juliet and WEMA was voted in the affirmative, but commissioners and Fire Chief Erron Kinney were not confident the county would approve it.
“I would be very, very surprised if they accepted it,” said Kinney.
Kinney said that he hasn’t got any cooperation from the county side, and meetings had been unproductive.
“They were trying to tell us how to provide services for our city,” said Kinney.
Kinney said he unfortunately felt like other forces outside of the city commission and city administration were dictating the level of protection he could provide for Mt. Juliet.
“We got to start somewhere,” said Hagerty. He said the county could make suggestions on how it could change.
Vice Mayor James Maness brought an amendment to add to the agreement which would keep the citizens of Mt. Juliet from paying any more than citizens from unincorporated parts of the county.
Justice voted against the agreement because he knew it would not be accepted on the county end.
The commissioners also voted to move forward with formulating a plan budget to open a second fire company. The commission asked to see final numbers and plans by the first meeting in April in hopes of having a second company in the new fiscal year. Talk of a possible private EMS option were also talked about.
The commissioners closed the meeting with a discussion about the possible new expo center east of Lebanon. The County had proposed a hotel/motel tax to help pay for it, which the City Commissioners voted to show their opposition. County Mayor Randall Hutto offered instead for the City of Mt. Juliet to pay $50,000 a year for 20 years.
“I would love to thank the County Mayor for thinking of us and trying to help us out of our predicament…I’d rather not take him up on his offer,” said Justice.
Maness said he understood Hutto’s concerns, but felt it wasn’t right for the City, that more pressing concerns come first.
Hagerty said he didn’t think that Mt. Juliet would benefit from the Expo Center east of Lebanon, so it wasn’t the best opportunity for the City. He entertained that the City could ask for a portion of the impact fee the county collects from Del Webb and the upcoming Lifestyle Communities, which put no burden on the school system.
The commissioners agreed to decline the offer in a letter returned to Hutto.