City Rejects Rezoning Request After Public Opposition (View Video Here)

November 2, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

After hearing from a dozen residents and property owners in the neighborhood who oppose it, the Smithville Aldermen Monday night rejected a request to rezone 42 acres near Walmart from residential to commercial.

Citizens Speak Out Against Rezoning Proposal from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Jada Cantrell, the owner of the property, came before the mayor and aldermen last month to formally make the request after getting a favorable recommendation for rezoning from the planning commission. But before taking action, Mayor Josh Miller and the aldermen said they wanted to hear from the public since this site, which might one day all be used for commercial purposes, is located in the heart of a large residential area and could potentially affect home values. The property is located off Broad Street beside and to the rear of Walmart extending to the O’Conner Street, Cooper Street, and Oak Glen Drive neighborhoods.

Cantrell said last month that she wanted to build a cosmetology school on the property with dreams of one day expanding the facility into something like a Motlow College learning center for persons hoping to enter the medical field.

“I want to put a beauty school there on this property,” said Cantrell during last month’s meeting. “I want to help our community bring in revenue. I know each one of you (mayor and aldermen) have children and grandchildren and I would like to see them have a job in the coming future. Its not all about a beauty (school). It’s also got to do with medical. The state of Tennessee has passed it that the cosmetology program can help them (students) get a nursing degree, doctor’s degree, medical assistant, and accepted when it comes to anything medical. I think it is wonderful that our state has passed it so that we can bring in more jobs for our state. I would like to help our community and the surrounding counties. I’m starting small but eventually it’s going to be like Motlow. I pray that you pass this (rezoning) for me to put this (property) in commercial,” said Cantrell.

During Monday night’s meeting a large number of people turned out for the public hearing on the issue and 12 of them addressed the mayor and aldermen in opposition.

Most of them expressed concerns that future commercial development there might adversely affect property values and disturb the peaceful neighborhood they have come to enjoy.

“The biggest concern I have with this is the back 30 acres is surrounded on all four sides by houses and if this does not make it into a Motlow type facility what is to stop them from putting any kind of factory in there?. When you turn it commercial anything commercial can go in there. How would you feel if someone decided to put a metal fabricating plant back there and its rattling your house with the noise factor these factories can put out? Or what if it puts out a smell like Ferodo,” asked Bruce Curtis, a resident of Foster Road.

“We have been there about two years. We used to live in the county but we wanted to find some place closer to the city that was peaceful and quiet. If its zoned commercial at the back of these commercial buildings will be all these HVAC units making loud noise all night long not to mention the street lights. There are only a couple of places that have road access into this property and the main road access would come right behind our house. And if they build this thing up, what will happen to that water. It will come right back on us and create a problem,” said Colton Rhody of Oak Glen Drive.

“I am retired and I moved here because we needed to have a nice peaceful place to live. I have gone through two bouts of cancer and I want it to be peaceful. I don’t want to live in a place where I am going to be afraid. I did that in Nashville. I was afraid every day. I don’t want that. I want people to have whatever business opportunity they want to have but to take away our quality of life I think is really something that needs to be talked about,” said Niki Yarbrough of Oak Glen Drive.

“My biggest concern is that it will not be quiet and peaceful anymore. That is one of the reasons why I bought that property there in town. I’d rather it stay as residential and have homes than to have all the lights and noise when it turns into commercial and all the people that will be coming in and out of that,” said Lisa Puckett of Cooper Avenue.

“All of us moved there and most of us paid quite a bit of money for our property and we moved there to raise a family. We didn’t move there to be in the middle of commercial property. We just don’t want it,” added Bobby Anderson of Oak Glenn Drive.

Following the public hearing, Alderman Danny Washer made a motion to deny the rezoning request and to keep the 42 acre Cantrell property residential. Alderman Shawn Jacobs offered a second and the motion was approved with Aldermen Jessica Higgins and Beth Chandler voting with Washer and Jacobs. Alderman Brandon Cox was absent and so was Alderman Chandler but she (Chandler) participated in the meeting via a conference call.

Meanwhile two annexation ordinances were adopted on second and final reading without opposition following public hearings.

The properties are at the corner of Miller and Foster Road and at Highway 70 east and Colvert’s Lake Road.

The property at Foster and Miller Roads belongs to Tracy Foutch and most of it is already in the city zoned for industrial use. Foutch wants the remaining 17 acres of the parcel annexed in the city.

Meanwhile the property at Highway 70 east and Colvert’s Lake Road belongs to Greg Dugdale who bought it at auction. Dugdale wants the 8 acre site to be annexed and later zoned commercial fronting Highway 70 and residential on the back side.