A new bridge spans Mill Creek between Nolenmeade and Nolensville High School. // Photo by Matt Blois
By MATT BLOIS
A developer agreed to connect a trail to a newly built pedestrian bridge near Nolensville High School during a Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday night.
But the town will allow the developer of Nolenmeade, Cates-Kottas Development, to build narrower trails in the subdivision than originally planned.
The trail connecting the bridge to the subdivision wasn’t on the original plans for Nolenmeade. That’s because the town originally wanted to build a bridge leading to the the neighboring Silver Stream subdivision.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation determined that location wasn’t suitable because it would have damaged wetlands. Instead, the town decided to put the bridge a little farther west.
Plans for Nolenmeade show a trail connecting to proposed trails in Silver Stream and Whittmore subdivisions. An arrow indicates that the trail to the bridge was supposed to be in the Silver Stream area.
Adding a new section of trail will cost the developer more than originally anticipated, but a representative said that the company was willing to build it. Commissioner Rick Owens suggested that having the bridge connection would be a perk for residents of Nolenmeade.
In exchange for building the new section of trail, Cates-Kottas Development asked the town to reduce the width of all the subdivision’s trails from 10 feet to eight feet. That compromise would still cost the developer more money than the original plans.
“They’re willing to eat so much of the cost,” Mayor Jimmy Alexander said. “But not the entire thing.”
Joyce Powers, a member of the Trails and Trees Committee, said the trails through Nolenmeade should be 10 feet wide because they would receive a lot of traffic.
Members of the Planning Commission tried to negotiate a better deal for the town, but the representative from the development company said he wasn’t authorized to accept any of the proposals.
“The dilemma we have is do we accept just the original trail and have the town foot the bill for the rest of it or do we downsize the entire,” Commissioner Douglas Radley said. “That’s what we’ve got to talk about.”
Some Commissioners wondered aloud whether there was a way for the town to pay for wider trails or build it afterwards. But that proved both logistically and legally challenging because the trails are on private property.
Commissioner Jason Patrick said that he was worried that the trial would never get built if the town didn’t take the deal. Since the town already approved the Nolenmeade plans, the developer could simply forgo the trail to the bridge.
Town engineer Don Swartz agreed.
“We stand a very low chance of getting this accomplished if we don’t strike while the iron is hot,” he said.
In an effort to ensure some kind of trail, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to accept the deal from the developer. The town will get a connection to the bridge, but Nolenmeade will have narrower trails.