Oak Hill Residents Fight Proposed New Development - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Oak Hill Residents Fight Proposed New Development

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by Emily Luxen           

OAK HILL, Tenn. -  The possibility of new commercial development moving to the city has some Oak Hill residents speaking out and fighting back.

A big crowd packed Oak Hill City Hall Tuesday night for a public hearing on the issue. The city has been considering re-zoning 100 acres of property at Franklin Road and Old Hickory Boulevard to make way for commercial development.

If the project moves forward, it would be the first and only commercial development in the city.

At the public hearing, resident after resident argued the development would only hurt the character of the city and bring traffic to the area.

"Somehow the city has managed to develop this without any of us knowing," said Heidi Pflaum who lives near the proposed site. "I think the consensus was obvious. Everyone thinks this is a terrible idea."

Oak Hill Mayor Austin McMullen said when the state eliminates the Hall income tax in the near future, which supplies the city with large amounts of revenue, the city will have to find other sources of revenue. Possible ideas included increasing property taxes or cutting city services. 

McMullen said after over a year of research and a poll of city residents he believes new commercial development is the best idea.

"It came up on the city's part to plan for the future and figure out how to prolong the city and provide the best services possible," said McMullen.

McMullen said no specific plans have been developed for the site, but said he envisioned a "high quality development" with retail that would appeal to Oak Hill residents.

McMullen said feedback he received prior to the public hearing was mixed.

"I'm in listening mode," said McMullen. "I'm listening to all the thoughts and concerns and ultimately will take that into account when it's time to make a final vote on this issue."

Still, many residents said they were never polled or notified of the idea, and said they would still rather pay more in property taxes than see the development move in.

"It is ridiculous to threaten the city with this," said one resident. "An extra $500 a year in property taxes comes out to $40 a month. That is nothing."

There will be another public hearing on this topic before city leaders will decide if and how to vote on the issue.  That meeting is set for Dec. 19th at 5 p.m. at Oak Hill City Hall. 

Email: eluxen@newschannel5.com
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