Collegedale Planning Commission recommends property rezoning

Many Collegedale residents unsure of, against potential new housing development

COLLEGEDALE, Tenn. (WDEF) — The Collegedale Planning Commission held its latest meeting tonight about the potential rezoning of the locally beloved Hidden Hills Farm and Saddle Club property.

A packed crowd appeared heartbroken tonight after the commission wholly recommended, with one abstention, the approval with conditions to rezone the property.

Before the decision was made, however, several residents still say that while developers may want to get to work, they want their home to stay just as it is.

Hundreds of residents once again filled Collegedale City Hall to voice their disapproval of a rezoning that would change a community icon into a new suburbia.

Cleveland resident Austin Miller says a petition on against the development already has over 2,100 signatures and continues to grow.

“I believe if you don’t preserve something like that, then you’re just like every other town in the States,” Miller said. “There’s nothing that’s important or interesting about your town and it’s important to keep those things alive because without them, what else do you have?”

Mike Price of MAP Engineers says that developers from Empire Communities have heard concerns from residents.

The original plan’s near 600 homes have been stripped of all townhouses, leaving 512 single-family homes on the property at 1.26 units per acre.

He believes developers have done all they can to please their new neighbors.

“We think that we’re coming forward with a better plan,” Price said. “Is it to everyone’s liking? Probably not. Given that we have eliminated all the townhomes and reduced density, that’s not a hard ask on what we’re doing.”

Residents still expressed dissatisfaction, questioning the conducted traffic study and the potential lack of jobs following population growth.

One new Collegedale resident left Atlanta a year ago to find a small town she could call home.

Now she’s afraid Collegedale commissioners and new developers will strip her of that peace.

“I have wildlife in my backyard — that’s going to be gone,” said Collegedale Resident Lauren Poland. “There’s no way they would stick around. Then there would just be a bunch of cookie-cutter houses kind of all stacked on top of each other just made to be really … a little bit tacky.”

This vote by the Planning Commission does not mean that developers can immediately begin with any kind of groundbreaking.

Collegedale’s City Commission now gets its chance to look at the proposal.

Their initial reading will be held on October 3, while the second reading will be on October 17.

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