Controversial urban design overlays proposed for a handful of Antioch-area neighborhoods were withdrawn last week after the sponsor reached a compromise with bank investors.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