Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15
Pennington Bend Update on Developments and Community Engagement for the Next Metro Budget and a Public Art Piece
Dear Friends –
I’ve received a great deal of phone calls, emails and social media tags with questions about the big 130-acre development that began recently, which will be called Pennington Centre. I thought it best to detail this land’s history, where we are headed and also provide information on other projects and overall what my efforts have been specifically in the Pennington Bend area since I first took office in 2015.
Around February 2007, Ryman Hospitality (then Gaylord Entertainment) finalized assembling property they owned (approximately 107 acres) into a Specific Plan (SP) for development via BL2007-1357. In 2011, about 22 acres were added to that SP via BL2011-69 and then a water/snow park was announced as a partnership with Dolly Parton, which as we know, did not end up happening.
On February 22, 2007 at the Planning Commission, an update to the Donelson-Hermitage-Old Hickory Community Plan was enacted to place stipulations and restrictions on the proposed development. See Page 33 of our community plan. Also, read the minutes from the Planning Commission meeting here where it states a community meeting had over 400 in attendance. The update was adopted to protect the integrity of the residential neighborhood area around the development. They are:
- No vehicular access from the property to Pennington Bend Road, except that of emergency and construction vehicles
- Utilize a variety of techniques to minimize traffic accessing the site from McGavock Pike South
- Develop a quality view and visual transition for the homes on the east side of Pennington Bend Road, closest to the development (e.g., not a paved parking lot)
- Include a landscape buffer between surrounding residential beyond that required in the zoning code for Commercial Attraction (CA) zoning abutting residential districts. Such buffering is needed to preserve and enhance the residentially oriented design of the Pennington Bend Road streetscape, ensure Pennington Bend’s continued success as a desirable residential street, and begin to buffer impacts of development such as noise
- Lighting is to be located, scaled, and directed so as not to shine on adjacent residential areas
- Lit signage is to be located, scaled, and directed so as not to shine on adjacent residential areas
- Restrict certain allowed land uses in the Commercial Attraction Zoning District, further described in the Specific Plan Zoning District with the intent of ensuring maximum compatibility with adjacent neighborhoods
- This CMC area is not intended to expand to the east side of Pennington Bend Road
- Explore possible pedestrian connections to surrounding neighborhoods, greenways and shopping areas
- Provide a trail or sidewalk along the west side of Pennington Bend Road and the north side of McGavock Pike
- New developments within this Special Policy Area are to utilize the Specific Plan zoning district as the most effective tool to implement the intent of this Special Policy.
After plans for the proposed water/snow were cancelled, the property remained undeveloped for some time. Some will remember Cavalia using the land for their unique show. Towards the end of 2017, Ryman announced they were partnering with Lincoln Property Company to create a mixed-use office park master plan, which fits within the existing SP and incorporates all of the restrictions and stipulations listed above. Their marketing materials for this development are here.
The first phase will be infrastructure work and 296 apartment homes (1, 2 and 3-bedroom), which will be separated into eight buildings three to four stories with about 25-54 apartments each and will also include a clubhouse. Along Pennington Bend there will be a buffer zone that includes a 10-foot wide lighted walking path that will have public access. The first 1,300 feet of this buffer zone will be 20-feet wide and then it will bump up to a 50-foot landscape buffer. These buffers will be heavily planted per the city requirements. The first apartment units will be coming to market around mid-2021. There will also be a new signalized entrance off of McGavock Pike. Here is the site plan plus a rendering.
Regarding additional infrastructure and traffic, I’ve done everything I can do to facilitate that. Many will remember the efforts I undertook in regards to traffic during the Holidays as well as push for needed infrastructure from the State on Briley Parkway. Ryman and Opry Mills co-funded their own infrastructure improvement study and presented their findings to Governor Haslam and TDOT, which included a potential third interchange. That interchange could ideally go around 2600 Pennington Bend Road, which is owned by the St. Mina Coptic Orthodox Church. During the early part of my first term, I met with the church leaders on a couple of occasions as it is land they own but don’t use (their church is in southeast Nashville) and they wished to sell if for development. I was not keen on seeing this property developed if it meant our only chance of additional infrastructure could go there. There is still interest in developing that property. In the end, it will be up to the State to build any additional infrastructure or improvements on Briley Parkway. Metro’s part is that as developments are proposed, ensuring Pennington Bend Road is safe and can accommodate any development is an important consideration.
The parcel just north of 2600 Pennington Bend Road is where the 24 townhome proposal is. We had one community meeting on this and the feedback was helpful to Roy Dale, the engineer. He has reduced density and incorporated a better stormwater area and also identified a couple of pipes under Briley Parkway that were clogged and not functioning well, which is likely the cause of some flooding issues over the years. Our second meeting will be on Thursday, February 6th at 6:30pm at Grace Nazarene Church.
Another development that is happening (and does not need a zoning change) is 13 additional homes in Pennington Bend Chase. Batson Homes purchased 2707 and 2705 Pennington Bend Road and will extend Valley Bend Rd. There will be no road connection anywhere, just an extension of the road. They will be similar homes to what is already there and go for about $400k.
I continue to work with River Glen and their infrastructure repair issues still lingering from the May 2010 flood. I also continue to work with Abbington Park and Abbington Shores as the final phases of Abbington Shores is built. 23 homes are being built now. The final phase is not yet planned out and we will have a community meeting when there is a proposal. As part of my efforts to see needed investment into Lock Two Park (it needs a master plan and restoration of the historic Lock Master’s House), the current construction entrance will hopefully be a road connection to give Abbington Park quicker access to the Park. I believe it will also help with the park not being so isolated, which has on occasion attracted an unwanted presence of those up to no good.
Finally, as many will recall, I passed BL2018-1157, which puts an end to irresponsible development along the river and ensures there is a permanent buffer along the Cumberland River.
As part of the upcoming Metro budget season, CM Bob Mendes and CM Kyzonte Toombs (Chair and Vice Chair respectively of the Budget & Finance Committee) will host meetings across the county to get feedback about the challenges we face and options ahead of us. Thanks to CM Erin Evans for putting this graphic together. Here are all the meetings. Note the one in our area is March 12th.
Big congratulations to Officer Bret Johns of our Hermitage Precinct for being one of the eight MNPD Employees of the Year. Read about Officer Johns and our other great MNPD employees who very deservedly earned this recognition here.
Andrea Hancock, a Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist is offering a free, 45 minute training to educate individuals about the prevention of an opioid overdose and its reversal, if necessary. At the conclusion of the training Narcan will be provided to the attendees along with a certificate. Visit this link for concise, informative overview of the training which can immediately impact and save a life. Contact Andrea directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-279-0058 for more information.
I enjoyed speaking at SAE Institute on Music Row to engage in a discussion about home studios and a proposal at Metro Council to expand the Home Occupation Permit that would make them legal. Currently, they are not. It’s an important discussion to ensure the integrity of our neighborhoods is kept at the same time supporting an integral piece of what makes us “Music City”. Pictured below is Kevin White with SAE and Lij Shaw, home studio owner and advocate.