Proposed Antioch Housing Sparks Debate

Posted at 10:51 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-26 00:04:46-04

The battle over affordable housing heats up in Antioch, as plans for a proposed low income apartment complex are getting mixed reviews.

Arkansas-based RichSmith Development wants to build the 96 unit Ridge at Antioch apartment complex off of Forest View Drive near Murfreesboro Pike.  The project would provide housing for people who make 60 percent of the area's median income.

District 29 Metro Council Member Karen Johnson said while she agreed Nashville needs more affordable housing, she said the location isn’t ideal.

“I think people in my district are ok with affordable housing as long as it is spread out and people aren’t pocketed and concentrated in one area,” said Johnson.

Johnson said two other low-income housing complexes, Hamilton Creek Apartments and Weatherly Ridge Apartments are nearby.

The Ridge at Antioch is allowed under current zoning for the area.  Johnson is supporting an ordinance that would downzone the property and block the developer’s plans.  She said she believed there were better options for that area.

“We want to make sure what is placed there works with the community and the surrounding structures that are there now,” said Johnson.

RichSmith received federal low income tax credits from the state for the project.  Patricia Smith, Director of Public Affairs at the Tennessee Development Agency, said there is a need for affordable housing in that area, and the proposed complex would address the issue.

“People are having to drive further to get to work and can’t afford to live in Davidson County,” said Smith.  “You see new construction all over the city, but people are being priced out of the market.”

Last month, Mayor Megan Barry announced a plan to address affordable housing.  She plans to invest $10 million to provide grants for non-profit developers who pursue affordable housing projects.

The zoning for the development will be discussed at the Metro Planning Commission meeting on May 26.  There will be a public hearing on the development at the Metro Council meeting on July 5.