Gallatin city leaders are scheduled to discuss the possibility of a moratorium on new apartment developments next week.
The item was added to the Gallatin City Council committee meeting agenda for Feb. 11 at the request of District 4 Councilman Craig Hayes, who said his decision was based on public interest regarding the topic.
“We’ve had a lot of people ask why we don’t do a moratorium,” Hayes told the Gallatin News. “Let’s get it out in the open and see if we can actually do one or not on apartments.”
The discussion comes in the wake of two new apartment developments totaling 260 combined units that were approved 6-0 with one abstention by the Gallatin Planning Commission last week.
Since both properties received their existing Multiple Residential and Office (MRO) District zoning prior to July 14, 1998, only a final master development plan is required to be approved by the planning commission, according to the city’s current zoning regulations. Approval from the Gallatin City Council is not required.
“If (someone) brings a site plan that is compliant with the code, you really don’t have a choice but to approve it,” City Planner Bill McCord told members of the planning commission prior to their vote Jan. 27. “If you deny it, it certainly places the city at risk (legally) whether this is an apartment complex or an office building or any other use that only requires site plan approval.”
The largest of the two apartment complexes approved – The Aintree – will be located on 16.53 acres at 210 Douglas Bend Rd. across from Vinings Boulevard, according to plans submitted to the city’s planning department. It will include 10 buildings totaling 240 units, a 55,000-square-foot clubhouse, resort style pool and four pocket park areas.
The other development – Triple B Apartments – will be located on 1.74 acres at 743 North Water Ave. near Eastover Street and Municipal Park. It will feature five buildings with a total of 20 units.
In recent months, city leaders have heard concerns from residents regarding the impact new residential developments will have on area schools.
According to planning department staff, Sumner County Schools officials review all of the projects that come through the city on a monthly and quarterly basis so they can use that information for the school system’s long-range capital planning.
“Apartments are a harder issue to address because they come online at one time and a lot of students are coming into our system all at once,” added At-Large Gallatin City Councilman Shawn Fennell, who also serves on the planning commission. “I’ve been against apartments the whole time. I don’t like them. That’s just what it is, but (Sumner County Schools Director) Del Phillips said we’re okay right now and that we can handle the additional students.
“Had this been a rezoning issue… I wouldn’t support it.”
Despite vocal concern about apartments, some members of the planning commission did say last week they were happy with the design and lower two-story profile of the proposed 240-unit Aintree development on Douglas Bend Road.
“If you’re going to have apartments, it’s the best transition to that surrounding neighborhood,” Gallatin Planning Commission Chairman John Puryear added. “I think it’s a good fit for the area.”
The Gallatin City Council is scheduled to discuss the possibility of a moratorium on apartments during its next committee meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 11. The meeting will take place at city hall and begin at 6 p.m.