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New Bellevue apartment proposal flooded with neighborhood concerns

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Posted at 9:38 PM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 23:50:17-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — As more people move to Nashville, the demand for housing increases. Developers are eyeing some land in Bellevue to add a more than 415 apartment unit complex.

Alan Thompson, an architect with Ragan Smith Associates, says this has been a two decade's long dream.

Cypressbrook Company — based in Houston — contacted the design company to help with the development of a 417-unit apartment complex right behind the Harpeth River.

"We will invest in a $4 million bridge to cross 500 foot of floodway of the Harpeth. It was a game-changer, so to speak. And so by doing this, they open up this connectivity opportunity for all of the Bellevue community," Thompson said.

Under this plan, Thompson says Cypressbrook is donating 20 of its 41 acres to Metro Parks to upgrade the greenway.

"These are huge, monumental connections, very expensive ones, totaling about what would roughly be $8," Thompson said.

In order for this project to work, the developers will need to build an access road. The plan so far is to build a bridge over Coley Davis Road to accommodate the 1,400 future residents.

"We've been transparent from the beginning. With no question, we're going to be adding traffic to Coley Davis, " said Thompson. "However, Coley Davis is built to handle a significant amount of traffic, of which it's really being underutilized today. So even the additional traffic that we're adding to Coley is still accommodated. This will accommodate the additional traffic and has the capacity to do it. We have conducted a traffic impact study. We have reviewed that with NDOT. NDOT has agreed with our assessment."

Michael Novelli, with Cypressbrook, says construction workers will use the last quarter of Coley Davis Road, close to Highway 70 and the interstate.

Novelli says they won't don't drive by any of the neighborhoods or any of the houses.

However, concerns like these are why many neighbors worry about the project.

"We have a community plan, and this proposal is inconsistent with our community plan. It's inconsistent with current zoning, and even if we change the zoning, or, to think about changing zoning, I think we ought to be thinking about what would be harmonious with neighboring uses of land. I don't see this proposal as being harmonious with what you see around us," said neighbor Jim Rossi.

Rossi has lived in the area for two years now.

"When you do build an apartment complex, especially an apartment complex of this size, and scale 417 units, that's inevitably going to have an impact on things like traffic, and that has trickled down impacts on public safety and things like that. Coley Davis Road — the main access road for this new proposed apartment complex — is a two-lane road one way in one way out."

Rossi and more than 300 of his neighbors signed a petition rejecting the plan, fearing the flooding that occurs in the area will be dangerous for those living in a development of this size.

"We need to have clear access for purposes of public safety. Coley Davis Road is also in a flood zone. And that land is prone to flooding as are the bends of the Harpeth."

Neighbors say the site would be better suited for homes.

"I think that this area would be poised for building single-family homes. I think that that can be done without building bridge infrastructure across the river that connects to Coley Davis Road that could probably feed off of private access roads, such as this road that you see behind us here," Rossi said.

Thompson says he wants a successful project for Cypressbrook and the community.

"When you have a developer like Cypressbrook that has a proven record across the country of fitting for successful developments coming into a market like this and investing $8 million have their own dollars into this, they can't afford to do it incorrectly."

The proposal is still in the early stages and has months before it's even up for a final vote.

Councilmember Dave Rosenberg says there is still time to ask and answer questions.

"They would need to get the zone change and the community plan approved at the Planning Commission, which couldn't happen for another month and a half, and then including, like public hearing, and then from there, there would be bill that would have to pass the Metro Council," Rosenberg said.

The last community meeting took place last week.

Rosenberg says the developers were supposed to go to the planning commission later this month. He told them to defer the proposal until the end of next month in hopes of getting some questions answered.