New building rules for Antioch withdrawn

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 11:16pm

Controversial urban design overlays proposed for a handful of Antioch-area neighborhoods were withdrawn last week after the sponsor reached a compromise with bank investors.

Streets and lots were cleared a few years ago to make way for a new neighborhood called Fawn Crossing off Mt. View Road in Southeast Davidson County, but the project went unfinished as the housing market deteriorated. 

Developer Bill Hostettler eyed the foreclosed properties, envisioning the construction of affordable houses priced at $119,000 apiece on the subdivision’s 20-plus vacant lots. He received financial backing from banks for the houses, and immediately built and sold five them.

But District 33 Councilman Robert Duvall said the design and materials used in Hostettler’s homes weren’t up to par with the quality of other houses in the area. He later proposed an urban design overlay that would have required future houses in the neighborhood be made of partial brick or stone. 

Duvall later proposed similar urban design overlays that would have applied to other neighborhoods within his district.

Affordable housing advocates decried Duvall’s Fawn Crossing overlay because it would have increased construction and material costs, making the houses more expensive to purchase during an already poor economy.

Later, Avenue Bank President Ron Samuels –– who chaired the Music City Center Coalition –– entered into the debate, issuing a letter to council members that encouraged them to vote against the overlays.

“We believe that now is not the time to be placing more restrictive covenants on these developments or creating another layer of administrative obstacles for the banks and builders that are trying diligently to find solutions to the worst residential housing market since the Great Depression,” Samuels wrote.

In the end, parties agreed upon less restrictive design standards, which did not require the urban design overlays. Accordingly, Duvall officially withdrew three of the overlays at last week’s planning commission meeting, while deferring another to a commission meeting in June.

“There were building and designs standards that were agreed to and were wrote into the covenant that weren’t there in the past,” Duvall said. “I think everybody walked away satisfied.” 

4 Comments on this post:

By: budlight on 4/29/10 at 6:03

Yes, please, let's restrict "stricter" building codes in antioch. I mean, just drive around to some of the deteriorating NEWER subdivisions. They already look like heck. So let's just start bringing in those Home Depot Sheds and putting 8 to 10 on a lot. That should do the trick.

Mr. DuVall was right. Mr. Samuels, you don't live in Antioch -- that's my guess. So what the heck do you care? You don't. You just want to lend money to make money.

And of course, we only need expensive homes in Bell Meade, West End, Brentwood and points north. All this land in Antioch area should be developed in lower rent districts - right Mr. Samuels?

By: jdawg on 4/29/10 at 7:14

Thank You budlight!!!!! I live in very close proximity to some of these neighborhoods and I thank Mr DuVall for stepping in and doing something with these stagnant developments. But Mr. Samuels have you ever thought about the current residents of the surrounding community and what the "affordable housing" would do to our property value. I am a responsible home owner who bought in when the market was up and work hard to stay in good standing with my payments. Yet my home value from 3 1/2 yrs ago in the area has dropped 25K. Mr. Samuels how much lower is that "affordable housing" going to bring it down.

By: Jeremiah_29-7 on 4/29/10 at 9:48

Actually, it sounds like there was a good compromise reached -- which is usually a good thing. The area needs protection from someone just dropping in crappy houses -- but the need for affordable housing is very real. And people who need affordable housing don't want to live in crap either. But we can't gauge the effectiveness of the compromise, since we don't know the specifics.

By: jasonweaver on 4/29/10 at 1:03

What Garrison didn't describe in more detail is that Duvall had submitted seven other UDOs but that pressure from Samuels and others had started pushing Duvall back weeks ago. He had actually withdraw several of them, including the Fawn Crossing two weeks ago. All he did at the planning commission was make it formal. Duvall caught a lot of heat because of it. But what Garrison missed also is that Duvall's actions may have run up against federal housing laws because before he filed the UDOs. Non-profit affordable housing group Woodbine Community had gotten millions in neighborhood stabilization money to use in Antioch. The area is among the census tracts the feds have targeted for stabilization because of the high rate of foreclosure. Neighborhood folks out there should have been more vigilant on the front end to restrain development. The basic laws of economics are in play. Oversupply and little demand means values will come down. If they had limited the ability to supply homes, values wouldn't have gone down so much.