A plan for a new transit-oriented development was approved at the Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night. The 6.9-acre mixed-used development would be located on North Mt. Juliet Road and East Division Street.
An ordinance rezoning and adopting the Station North development was passed 3-2, with Commissioners Art Giles and Brian Abston voting against.
The approximately 220 unit, 15,000-square-feet commercial property would offer a variety of amenities. Matt Gardner, one of the developers, said their goal is for walkability and urban density.
Deputy Public Works Director Andy Barlow addressed concerns over traffic impact, saying that during peak traffic hours, the plan would only add about a 1 percent increase. During non-peak hours, it would add around a 2 percent increase.
Giles said that though the developer’s plan to offer good improvements for the zoned area, he would not vote to approve because most of his constituents, District 3, were against it. The development would be within his district as well.
Abston, who represents the Providence area in District 4, wanted the developers to offer a voluntary contribution to the city of $2,500 per unit. The amount has been a standard contribution asked of many new proposed housing developments.
Station North had previously offered a $500 per unit contribution, but said in the meeting they would raise it to $1,000.
District 1 Commissioner Ray Justice gave a speech about how he used to fight change in regards to new developments. He lamented over how this backfired in his district, leading to an unattractive storage facility that doesn’t add to the aesthetic appeal of the city.
He added that the development will update the center of Mt. Juliet as well as money and tax revenue for the city. One request he had for the developer was to implement a wrought-iron fence along the property against the railroad tracks, which they agreed to do.
“We’re creating something with foresight,” said Justice.
Vice Mayor and District 2 Commissioner James Maness agreed that each development has pros and cons and that he does not give easy answers, such as always voting against proposed apartment complexes.
“I’ve weighed it carefully and considered it a long time,” Maness said before voting to approve the plan.
Mayor Ed Hagerty voted to approve the plan as well, saying that if the plan failed, the landowner would possibly sell to a developer that would continue using the land as industrial property in the middle of the city.
Hagerty used the example that the land could be used to store tractor-trailers. He said this would add more traffic concerns with the trucks utilizing Mt. Juliet Road.
Some tractor-trailer trucks will be used during development of the property, but Gardner said they will utilize the main entrance at Industrial Drive in order to limit use of thoroughfare such as Mt. Juliet Road.
The developers also agreed to a list of demands from the city, including widening Fiberglass Drive, donating $25,000 to the Mt. Juliet Senior Center, relocating the salt sheds to existing city standards, among others.
The Wilson County Rehab 23 was honored at the start of the meeting. City Manager read a proclamation that names June 11, 2018 as Rehab 23 Day. Members of the group volunteer much of their free time to providing resources and comfort for those in emergency situations.
The proclamation was presented to the group on the fifth anniversary of the Mt. Juliet Fire Department Station 1 ribbon cutting.