Planning Commission debates ‘downtown’ rezoning


City planning commissioners, faced with a rezoning request for medium residential use, have begun to consider how to maintain a “downtown†area that attracts Spring Hill residents to local shops and restaurants.

City planning commissioners, faced with a rezoning request for medium residential use, have begun to consider how to maintain a “downtown†area that attracts Spring Hill residents to local shops and restaurants.

The topic arose when Paul Varney asked for rezoning of a 2.9-acre lot he intends to buy at 2514 Depot Street. He wants it designated Medium Density Residential instead of its current Neighborhood zoning for multi-family brownstone-type homes instead of single-family units..

Planning commissioners, however, had mixed reactions to the request.

“I don’t think from a future land use standpoint that [it makes sense] – we want a lot of flexibility in the downtown area,†Alderman Jonathan Duda said at a June 23 discussion of the area.

City officials say the area they consider “downtown†stretches from the Williamson/Maury County Line on Main Street to Kedron Road, including a couple of blocks off of Main in either direction.

They plan to discuss Varney’s request further at a July 14 planning commission meeting.

Another Main Street property the city is interested in seeing developed is a 2.3-acre lot for sale across the street from the Spring Hill Memorial Funeral Home.

“We want to get the development process for downtown kick-started,” planning comsissioner Charles Schoenbrodt said. “There is enough property available along [U.S. Highway] 31 to develop, and several folks have done good things already.”

Mayor Rick Graham said he is “hopeful†about the future of a “downtown†Spring Hill.

“We want to create a streetscape type of look for the district. And we’ll make tax incentives to breed the kind of businesses that facilitate that. The model we have for the area is the 12th South neighborhood [in Nashville]. Our city is such a young town, and we want young families to be drawn to walk through our downtown and see it as a fun destination. We particularly don’t want to do anything now to harm that vision, and we’re taking steps to put that into practice over the next one or two years.â€

Planning commissioners may only recommend whether a piece of land should be rezoned, but they are entitled to tell the BOMA how zoning proposals fit with Spring Hill’s Future Land Use Plan.

“Zoning is a legislative function of the BOMA,†Duda told fellow planners. “This board’s role is to assess whether the zone changes facilitate the comprehensive plan. On that basis, it’s appropriate for the downtown to be an R2 [mixed use zone]. We don’t want to change that designation at this time.â€

Planning Commission Chairman Jonathan Schwartz agreed.

Staff writer Greg Jinkerson covers Spring Hill for BrentWord Communications. Contact him at greg@springhillhomepage.com.

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