A controversial 1,115-home mixed-use development with commercial space has been approved off Dobbins Pike near State Route 109 just north of Gallatin.
The Gallatin City Council voted 4-2 on final reading Tuesday in favor of a preliminary master development plan, rezoning and annexation request for The Meadows.
“I’ve heard complaints about traffic,” At-Large Councilman Steve Fann told those in attendance prior to the vote. “Without traffic, you won’t have growth and without growth you don’t have opportunity.”
“By the time this project is finished, there will be hundreds of individuals that will benefit – construction workers, retail people and I can go on and on.”
Plans for the 384-acre development include 943 single-family homes and 173 townhomes along with 142,000 square feet of commercial space that would allow for various office, retail and food service uses.
The Meadows would also feature a boulevard that would extend from the main entrance off Dobbins Pike and connect to Old Highway 109. The road would also include a bridge over an existing railroad track on the far western side of the property at Computer Lane, which city leaders have said must be built before construction of the final two phase so the development could begin.
District 4 Councilman Craig Hayes, who voted against the project along with District 1 Councilwoman Lynda Bradley Love on Tuesday, said he could not support the plan based on the development’s proposed density and location.
“I don’t think the city is ready for that right now,” Hayes added. “We’re approving development after development inside the city right now that we’ve got to take care of and then we’d have to hop and skip over everything (in the county) to annex this.”
Prior to the vote, city leaders heard from nearly a dozen people who expressed their opposition to the development.
“Just stop for a second and think about that many homes in that area, in any area of Gallatin, and what it’s going to do to our city,” Dobbins Pike resident Dave Dozier said during a public hearing earlier this month. “It will destroy our way of life that is out there now.
“We have to act now to control growth in this county and this city.”
Some of the major concerns expressed by residents in recent months have included the impact the development would have on nearby schools as well as city and county infrastructure, traffic, taxes, crime, property values and flooding in the area.
“At this very moment, Gallatin stands at a critical crossroads,” University Drive resident Sandra Cohen told city leaders earlier this month. “Please work with the developer to rethink, re-plan and redesign what could be a wonderful precursor to Gallatin’s next stage of growth if it’s done right. If you approve the plans as they currently stand, you truly will be announcing yourselves as part of the problem.”
If city leaders had chosen not to approve the proposed development, a representative of the project said Tuesday that a plan featuring approximately 300 duplexes was ready to be submitted to the county that would have developed the property using its previous zoning.
“This is someone else’s farm (and) they have the right to potentially develop it as they see fit,” said Andy Stokely, who owns property on Old Highway 109 North near The Meadows and was one of four people to speak in support of the project Tuesday. “There are a lot of upsides to the property and if it comes down to commercial or industrial or residential, we’d much rather see residential sitting out there from our perspective.”