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At Tuesday night’s Nolensville Planning Commission meeting, the highly anticipated Southwalk development was up for discussion once again. 

The commercial mixed-use development, the largest of its kind to ever be built in the town, has been a heavily discussed project due to both excitement and varying opinions on the concept and design.

In August of 2019, the Southwalk P.U.D. concept plan was submitted to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for consideration. At that time, no decision was made. Flashing forward to April 13, 2021, after alterations to the plans, the Planning Commission approved the final plat for the site, which at the time was going to be a four-story, 19,250 square foot building. Soon after, the developer and Mayor Derek Adams held a groundbreaking ceremony for the development. 

During the Tuesday night meeting, commissioners reviewed the newest site plan for a portion of the development, which will be an 18,250-square-foot retail and residential mixed-use building. There will be 9,125 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 11 housing units on the second floor. Previously, the plan called for the residential space to be on the first floor.

There were many concerns brought up during the discussion of Southwalk, which lasted over an hour and a half, including adequate tree planting, trash enclosure construction, façade details, parking lot logistics and ADA compliant ramps to access the residential floor and more.

In order to approve the site plan, commissioners had a few items for the developer to agree to complete.

First, the developer has to agree to make all design changes in the elevation changes. Before being given building permits, the developer is also required to have an engineer or landscape architect estimate the costs for all on-site landscaping.

The trash enclosure for Southwalk is to be located out of public view and in accordance with correct zoning standards. Additionally, design changes approved by the commission must be incorporated into the construction drawings. Lastly, the development must have ADA compliant ramps with approved design elements, submit a proper lighting plan and comply with a recent stormwater review letter.

A point of contention, which has been brought up several times before, arose when discussing the housing units in the development, and whether they would possibly be considered townhomes or not, along with the current planned number of rooms. 

The developer, Matthew Chilvers, expressed his frustration with the ongoing back and forth about the details as the allotted time for the Planning Commission meeting was running out.

“With all due respect, this topic has been exhaustively explored with legal counsel, multiple attorneys, multiple meetings with staff… this has been gone over thoroughly,” Chilvers said. “It’s beginning to be a point of trampling on my vested rights to further the discussion. It was determined. I mean, we have to move forward. It’s already taken a year to get this far. It’s very costly to delay the project.”

After commissioners allowed an extra 15 minutes for discussion, and an unusual revote that did not pass on one of the conditions relating to the number of housing units within the building, the Planning Commission finally took to vote on the site plan. The plan was passed with a 5-3 vote.

The next Planning Commission meeting will be held on the Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m., at Nolensville Town Hall. The town hall is located at 7218 Nolensville Road, Nolensville, TN 37135. The public is welcome to attend.

This story has been edited for clarity.