Cookeville Planning approved the rezoning of a property that would allow developers to get rid of dilapidated buildings and build new ones.
The rezoning includes properties on North Hickory Avenue and Montgomery Avenue.
This was made possible with the help of a Redevelopment Area Overlay (RAO) zoning. Community Development Director Jon Ward said the zone was first established in Cookeville’s zoning codes in 2013.
“It’s an overlay over an existing zone that allows for considerations in setbacks, densities things such as that,” Ward said. “To try to encourage redevelopment of properties that are in need.”
Ward said it can allow for higher densities, or considerations to exempt from some of the requirements. He said sometimes that’s necessary for some of the older areas of town where the lot size might not be suitable for redevelopment.
Ward said the last RAO approved was for the L-block on Chesnut Street, where a dilapidated apartment structure was previously. He said what was once an area with some of the highest crime rates in the city is now the site of 17-unit townhome development.
“That’s the intent of any redevelopment is that you would replace something that was in need of it, with a better product,” Ward said. “And in turn, you hope that has a positive impact on the area.”
Ward said that he expects the use of an RAO could increase for future developments.