There was much debate at Tuesday night’s Shelbyville City Council study session about a possible land annexation.
Approximately 25 acres, zoned agriculture and located just north of HWY 64—down the street from Never Rest Park—is being eyed for a new subdivision (R-3) from Nashville-based company Master Stucco.
Owner Glen Cruzen—who is the applicant, not the land owner—spoke at last night’s study session to gain council’s approval for consideration on the annexation request, which will be voted on at the next council meeting before it goes to the planning commission.
He said he would like to build a subdivision of single-family homes, 1600-2200 square-foot with stucco siding, costing somewhere in the $250k to $300k range. He said the subdivision would be contemporary so that each house matches and all likely with small lots—traits that Cruzen said would appeal to young, millennial families.
City planning director Waleed Albakry made the estimate that at R-3, some 70 to 80 lots could be placed on those 25 acres. Cruzen was unable to provide a definite confirmation to that number until he knows if the land can be annexed.
Surrounding land is zoned residential or has the potential to be residential. The land would need to be annexed so the subdivision could get sewer.
Some on council were not prepared to make any decisions on the annexation until they knew just how many houses are planned and what they will look like.
“That’s my neighborhood over there and we don’t need any more,” said Council member Rick Overcast. “I’m not voting and turning you loose over there to do what you want to. I want to see right now before I vote yes or no next council meeting. I want to see what’s going to be there. Until you can prove that, I’m against it.”
Cruzen said he lost over a million dollars in a similar situation in Decherd after their council would not endorse his idea for attracting certain businesses in their historic district after Cruzen bought half the buildings to renovate.
“I thought it was unfair. I wasn’t asking them for money...I don’t want to get myself into that situation again,” Cruzen said.
“I don’t either,” said Overcast. “If it’s so good, why don’t you live in the county?”
“Because you can't get sewer,” Cruzen answered.
“Yeah, it’s what we do for you,” said Overcast.
“Well, you’re going to get more taxes,” Cruzen said.
“We’re going to get an eyesore, too, I’m afraid,” Overcast finished.
Council member William Christie said he didn’t have a problem with moving forward with the annexation since it was next to properties already designated for planned unit developments. Council member and vice mayor Henry Feldhaus, who was in place of Mayor Wallace Cartwright Tuesday, said they still have months to decide on the annexation since it has to go through the planning commission.
Three citizens made public comments against annexation.
Carlos Alvarado, who lives on N. Linda Drive adjacent to the property in question said, “Early in the morning, it’ almost impossible to get on Highway 64 west because of the traffic. I cannot imagine an R-3 to be installed in this property...”
Alvarado said he’s been in construction for 36 years. “Never consider a stucco house...One of the biggest problems in that area with stucco is black mold...” Plus, a $200k house in Shelbyville is not “economical” he said.
Cruzen, who said he’s repaired over 2500 stucco homes, remained positive in his stucco designs. “I want to make these homes so that they don’t leak, so that water doesn’t migrate into them and cause mold, that they’re very efficient, that they’re easy to maintain...” He said he is going to use “conventional stucco” to prevent damage, he said.
Another citizen, Scott Johnson, said he is the owner of a house located within the subject area. “In terms of development, all that I would ask is that the council and the planning commission do heavy due diligence around the environmental impact to the Duck River waterway...”
One local resident was concerned over the ownership of a roadway at the end of Linda Drive that farm machinery uses to enter the property. She asked if the neighborhood residents would be using that road or if they would have direct access to the highway. City officials and Cruzen were uncertain and will be discussing specifics later.
Council will have a first reading at next Thursday’s meeting.
Debate also arose over the discussion item concerning a possible Spectrum contract.
City Manager Joshua Ray said the city contacted Spectrum about how to get public education and government (PEG) channel and extending fiber. During that discussion with Spectrum, Ray said they also made a list about ways the City can strengthen internal network and facility operations:
The contract, which would bundle the above listed items, would have a monthly rate of $13,252 over a five-year period. Ray said he would like council to look at using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, which supports investing in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure. The goal is to make sure there is approval on both the state and federal government levels before council is asked to expend any of the funds.
“What we’re dealing with now is something cities haven’t dealt with historically ever. And, so, to have multiple funding sources available for broadband, water and waste water projects, and for COVID response, it’s an anomaly,” said Ray.
When Ray opened the floor for questions, Council member Overcast responded, “My question is, why did you not get more than one bid because there’s more than one company in town…These people don’t even think enough of Shelbyville to put an office here in Shelbyville. You want to do business with people like that?”
Ray clarified that the City had talked to other companies but Spectrum offered the best “one-stop shop” to present to Council to discuss before formally accepting any contract.
“We’re getting a one-sided story—the Josh side. I’m not going to let Josh make my decisions, okay? I want to hear the whole story; not just what Josh wants. And when Josh gets sold, he wants to sell that to everybody…I believe Josh works for the Council; Council doesn’t work for Josh,” said Overcast.
Next Council meeting is Thursday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Shelbyville Rec Center on Tulip Tree Road.
Public hearings will be held over: