Thursday night the Mt. Juliet planning commission approved the land use amendment with a vote of 6-2 for Beckwith North, located at Eastgate Boulevard where Pannatoni construction plans to build a second 1 million square foot industrial building just west of their current project, Beckwith West, which is being built for Under Armour.
Three days later, the Mt. Juliet board of commissioners passed this ordinance with a vote of 4-1 allowing the company to move forward with their plans. District one commissioner Ray Justice was the only one to vote no on the project.There has been much controversy surrounding the outcome of this as the residents of Hunting Hills Drive, located to the West and just shy of the development have shown their displeasure with the project and many different aspects of it believing that the warehouse would be unpleasant to look at, cause heavy traffic and noise, and even devalue their homes.
Meanwhile, Pannatoni’s attorney, Tom White suggested that he had spoken to realtors in the community who insisted that it would not devalue the homes and used one home in close proximity to the site as an example stating that it was listed for $339,000 and sold very quickly for $315,000.
Many residents of Hunting Hills were upset with the planning commission vote and could see a loss coming ahead of the board of commissioners voting on Monday night, including David Plott, who said “The vote was not a surprise, especially after Don White, a commissioner who supported us on the first 2 votes, resigned.
Plott then expressed his concern that this vote would cause a precedent for similar projects coming to Mt. Juliet in the future.
Plott continued, “We are obviously disappointed in tonight’s vote. We have no doubt in how Monday’s vote on the second reading at the Board of Commissioners will go. They have ignored two negative recommendations from the Planning Commission to date, and I have no doubt they will approve the project. We will be consulting with our attorney on what our next steps might be.”
Mt. Juliet mayor Ed Hagerty, who serves on both the board of commissioners and the planning commission, has been for this project the whole way, as the building will potentially bring 2,000 more jobs to the area.
Though the building passed, Hunting Hills did not come out completely empty handed. Chief Operating Officer Hayne Hamilton laid out some of the requests laid out by the neighbors of Hunting Hills in which Panatonni agreed to. Of the amendments to the plans were 15 foot leyland cypress trees with a 25 foot brim for a total of 40 feet surrounding the building and hiding it from view for the residents.
This, among other things, were approved by the Pannatoni team despite the additional costs. There were also additional requests from the neighbors which were denied, including shortening the building and turning the building to face another direction.
Several amendments were added before approval including one brought by Ray Justice to hold Panatonni responsible for reconstructing any of the trees destroyed by a potential natural disaster.
The building will cost approximately $100 million dollars, none of which will be paid by the city of Mt. Juliet.