By ALEXANDER WILLIS
Plans for the mixed-use development project proposed to be built on the Tennessee Children’s Home property are moving forward after the Spring Hill Planning Commission approved the applicant’s preliminary planning documents Monday night.
Spanning over 100 acres, the project would see the Tennessee Children’s Home property on Main Street be developed into a “downtown district” as the applicant called it, with tens of thousands of square feet of commercial, restaurant, hotel and residential development. The projected buildout period for the project is estimated at ten years, with the majority of the residential portion being constructed first.
During the meeting, Jeff Hines with Catalyst Design Group – the developer behind the project – reaffirmed his belief that the development fits a lot of the criteria to be considered a downtown district as outlined in Spring Hill’s own Rising 2040 plan.
“I went back and looked at the Spring Hill Rising 2040 [plan], and for the city center downtown recommendations in there – [there are] many things this plan does to work the activity of areas, varied housing, proximity of mixed-use type development…” Hines said. “So I wanted to offer that perspective.”
Some slight changes and additions were made to the project since its last appearance before the Planning Commission. One such addition was the inclusion of more specifics on how large of a space each type of development would encompass; retail was listed at 7.5 acres, office at 3, hotel at 2.7, townhomes at 5, apartments at 21, condos at 3.7, senior assisted living at 1.8, single family residential at 15.8 and open space at 40.5.
One of the changes included the changing of the amount of residential development near the existing lake, which is designated in the project to be for public use.
Alderman Matt Fitterer had previously raised concerns that although the lake was labeled for public use, its proximity to residential development didn’t give the intended appearance of a public area. Hines noted that they had removed six single family lots near the lake, and instead replaced them with eight single family work/live units – buildings that house commercial and retail space on the first floor, and living spaces on the second.
During Monday’s meeting, Fitterer raised another concern, saying the project’s listed building density maximum of 12 units per acre for the townhome portion contradicted a portion of the project that details the development of 101 townhomes over an area of five acres.
“You’ve got townhomes that are potentially in multiple different phases; you’ve got a ten year project – we have no idea what the composition of this board will look like when you’re at phase four, and you’ve got two components of your plan that completely contradict each other,” Fitterer said. “So in an effort to remove any future confusion or ambiguity, we need to make those work.”
Additionally, Fitterer introduced a new condition of approval, requesting the developer to present plans to improve Old Kedron Road from its intersection with Kedron Road, all the way to Saturn Parkway.
“I think the improvements to Kedron from Saturn Parkway to Old Kedron are necessary to accommodate the impact that this development’s going to have, and that’s the reason for inserting it,” Fitterer said. “Where the financial responsibility lies isn’t our decision to make.”
Despite the concerns, the commission ultimately approved the applicant’s request for preliminary plan approval.