Border Battle Brewing Near Lipscomb University - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Border Battle Brewing Near Lipscomb University

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by Heather Graf

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Families that live near Nashville's Lipscomb University say it's getting too big, too fast.  Now, they claim the school's growing pains are taking a toll on the entire neighborhood that surrounds it.

"It's been very unsettling for all the neighbors, to even have to think about all this again," said resident Barbara Young.

More than 10 years ago, an expansion to Lipscomb's campus literally pushed her family out of their home.

"It's our only house we've ever owned that was torn down!" she said.

After that house was sold to the school and demolished, the Young family moved a few blocks away, to another house in the Avalon Neighborhood.

When a sign popped up on Belmont Boulevard recently announcing a zoning change request, neighbors instantly started to worry.

The school wants to turn the Parkwood Terrace Apartments that it's owned for years into office space for staff.

The problem is that the building sits on the west side of Belmont Boulevard, where residents say the university had previously promised it would steer clear of.

"They agreed not to develop property here, not to add this to their overlay 10 years ago," said Bob Crownover with the Avalon Neighborhood Association.  "So we're concerned they're going back on their promise to the neighbors."

Residents recognize its somewhat ironic that they're questioning the values of a faith-based, Christian university.

Lipscomb officials, meanwhile, insist they are practicing what they preach, and have no plans to expand west of Belmont Boulevard.

"We're out of office space," said the school's general counsel, Phil Ellenburg.  "We are simply wanting to use a piece of property that we've owned for 20 years in a different way."

Ellenburg says they want to be a good neighbor, and are trying to do just that.

"We have no plans to expand in that direction," he said.

Residents hope he's telling the truth, but still say they will fight the zoning change request to protect their neighborhood.

"They'll be back looking to expand again, when they think everybody's cooled down and they can get away with it," said Nicho Young.

Residents held a community meeting on Tuesday, to decide exactly what their next step will be.

They've got to act fast, because Lipscomb's zoning change request goes before the Metro Planning Commission on Thursday four p.m.

Dozens of concerned neighbors plan to be there.

NewsChannel 5 has learned the planning commission staff is actually recommending disapproval of that zoning change, saying it's not being proposed in a sensitive manner and is in the middle of a residential area.

If the planning commission does deny the request, Lipscomb could still get approval from Metro Council.

email: hgraf@newschannel5.com

 

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