The proposed plan includes 192 apartment units, 28 townhomes, a 3,000-square-foot two-story commercial building and three parking areas. The site is on Mt. Juliet Road between the railroad tracks and Industrial Drive.
District 4 Commissioner Brian Abston argued against the plan, and took time to go through what he called the “myths and the facts” about the development plan.
“The first thing that I want to do is get rid of the myth about this being a transit-oriented development,” said Abston. “This thing is by the railroad tracks, but as far as being a transit-oriented facility, it’s just not there.”
Abston argued against the apartment complex, saying that every time a developer plans an apartment complex, they claim it will be something innovative, but it never is.
“I’m not saying let’s never do another apartment complex in Mt. Juliet,” said Abston. “I think there’s a lot of other things that we do need to work on before we do that.”
District 3 Commissioner Art Giles echoed Abston’s feelings on the development plan.
“Every one of my constituents, except one who emailed me tonight, while we’re sitting here going over this, who is a city employee, is against this complex,” said Giles. “Every one that I talked to.”
Giles expressed concern with traffic in the area if the apartment complexes were built.
Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty, however, was for the development.
“Every single development proposal that comes to this board has pros and cons,” said Hagerty. “Every one. This does as well. Each of our jobs is to weigh the pros and cons and see if it’s a positive to the community, or if it’s a negative to the community, and some of the things you said are on the con side, there’s no question, but you left off a number of other things, too, that were on the pro side.”
Hagerty said the area would be much more likely to turn into a nice, industrial development if the city passed the development plan.
“You mentioned that we have apartments before us every month, and we do. That’s a true statement,” said Hagerty. “And we turn down nine out of 10 of them every single time.”
Vice Mayor James Maness was also for the project.
“I just drove in there today and looked at the property on the way in,” said Maness. “I looked at the property on West Division Street Drive, there, and I looked back behind the train station, what do I see? I see a trailer with some graffiti on it. I went and looked at it on the other side and there’s just stuff stored on the property.”
Maness said the vast majority of these types of projects get shot down, but this project is an opportunity to better an empty lot.
“If this passes, it’s a mistake, that’s my final comment,” said Abston.
The development plan passed the first reading by a 3-2 vote, with Abston and Giles voting against it.