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Cookeville Planning Denies Reclassification Request On Old Kentucky

Cookeville Planning Commission denied a reclassification request Monday night that would have reclassified land near Food City to Planned Commercial Development.

The lot on North Old Kentucky Road and East 10th Street is currently deemed appropriate for Low-Density residential development in Cookeville’s 2030 Plan. The commission heard almost an hour of public comment citing concerns about utilities, traffic, and commercial developments creeping on the neighborhood.

Commission Member Eric Walker said now is not the right time to reclassify.

“We made a lot of promises as a city to get that neighborhood grocery store development into that area,” Walker said. “One of the promises was to fix the roads, fix that intersection, and that stuff hasn’t been finished yet. Phase II of 10th Street hasn’t been finished yet.”

Commission Members Lauren Metts and Chad Gilbert voted for the reclassification. Both said the area is not particularly appropriate for residential zoning. Metts said while she understands residents’ concerns, she thinks the change is necessary for the future.

“Allowing us to do this commercial plan gives us more control rather than less,” Metts said. “We don’t just say commercial and go, it’s commercial now, and come back when you’re ready for a plan. I would just like to say, as I thought this through since our discussion on Thursday, moving into the future this seems more appropriate for commercial development.”

Gilbert said reclassifying the area as PCD does not preclude residential development. He said if anything, it gives the opportunity for someone to come back if they want to do residential development.

“There’s still a review process to it to enable that,” Gilbert said. “Again we’re not looking to rezone it, we’re looking ahead 15, 20, 30 years. That 2030 Plan is probably going to evolve fairly quickly into a 2040 plan in the next 12 to 24 months anyway and some of these things are going to get discussed again.”

“I want to echo Lauren (Metts) and say it makes sense to have a future forecast that says, ‘Hey let’s not limit this to just residential.'”

The Planning Commission did vote to reclassify an area located north of Bennie Drive from being appropriate for Planned Commercial Development to being appropriate for Lower-Density Residential. The lots line the back side of the Food City development.

Planning Director Jon Ward said that something will have to change from the request for the developer to bring it back to the commission within 12 months.

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