Photo courtesy of the city of Spring Hill
BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
President of U-Haul Nashville Jeff Porter will be holding an open community meeting on Thursday in Spring Hill to give residents the opportunity to ask questions about and discuss the proposed U-Haul rental facility that has been met with strong opposition from both city staff and residents.
The open meeting will be held on 5:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon at 5159 Main Street.
The proposed U-Haul rental facility would be built on a prime piece of real estate: right on the southeast corner of Miles Johnson Parkway and Main Street, next to Harvey Park, which has caused an outcry from residents citing safety, aesthetic, and traffic concerns, particularly from residents of the nearby Autumn Ridge community.
“We walk down [to Harvey Park] with our children to the farmer’s market, to the park, [and] it’s a safe place to go down there,” said Autumn Ridge resident Blake Campbell during a September city meeting discussing the project. “To think about having inexperienced drivers in and out of there with U-Haul trucks… it’s just about the last thing that we could imagine wanting to have right there, across from the park that we all enjoy.”
Spring Hill Aldermen Matt Fitterer, Susan Zemek, and even Mayor Rick Graham have also expressed their feelings on the project, with Fitterer calling the proposal a “terrible project,” and Graham saying he agreed with Fitterer’s comments “wholeheartedly.”
Porter has previously said that he “[doesn’t] want to come in and disrupt anything,” and that he’d like U-Haul to “fit in” and “be a part of the community.” Porter had also stayed after public meetings, speaking with concerned citizens about their issues with the project.
One problem city staff have taken with the project was the timing of the project’s submission to the city. The project was submitted just prior to the passing of the city’s newly developed Unified Development Code (UDC) — a planning document for the city that outlines what development may be developed and where — and as such is not required to adhere to the city’s updated zoning policies.
Alderman Zemek had previously said to Porter during a meeting that U-Haul had “slid right in under the UDC,” saying the proposed site location “is not the place for a U-Haul.”
Addressing these concerns, Porter said that a U-Haul brings in significantly less traffic than a typical restaurant, and that the centralized location, relative to the city, would also help customers travel less, further reducing traffic congestion.
The meeting is open to the public, and will have multiple opportunities for the public to comment and ask questions of the developer.