'Sky Nashville' Development Spurs Resident Opposition

Posted at 6:49 PM, Jun 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-05 19:57:08-04

Neighbors have expressed concerns that a new dense housing development will create safety issues, but developers hope rezoning the area will allow them to create affordable housing – something the city is in desperate need of.

The development in the area of Trevor Street and 35th Avenue North has been called Sky Nashville. It’s on a hill with a view overlooking the west interchange of Interstate 40 and Interstate 440.

The breathtaking views make it an iconic area, according to the developer.

Some people who already live there call it a danger and an eyesore. Resident Rob Lewin said it’s best described as a volcano because of the steep incline and high peak.

He said the developer wants to put in too many housing units.

“They’re basically approved for 30 to 32 units. They want to put in 122 on five acres at the top of the hill. It’s ridiculous,” said Lewin.

Lewin said he has only been on Trevor Street for about 18 months, and the area has many perks because of its location.

"It's fast to Vanderbilt. It's fast to downtown. It's fast to west Nashville. It's fast to get pretty much anywhere," he said.

Lewin said he was worried the development proposal would change the area from one and two-family residential zoning to specific plan–mixed residential. What normally would look like about 30 two to three story homes could instead have well over 100 units - some of which could be four-stories tall.

The new homes, Lewin said, wouldn’t match the current feel of the neighborhood.

"If you are going to build there and it is going to be more units, then we need something that's going to represent all of the different kinds of housing options," he said. 

Lewin said an increase in traffic on the steep and narrow roads would also create a safety hazard.

The project has been proposed with townhomes and condos, some of which would be classified as affordable housing – something the mayor’s office said Nashville lacks. The city has been looking for ways to increase what's available for people who can't afford the increasing rent and home prices.

"The hospitality workers, teachers, firefighters, nurses – they need below market rate housing," said Adriane Harris, Senior Advisor of Affordable Housing. 

Harris said the city needs more apartment buildings, townhouses, duplexes and even single family developments that are affordable.

She said adding affordable housing has proven difficult because the plans are often not well accepted by people living nearby, a concept she described as “Not In My Back Yard” or NIMBY.

"We want to get away from NIMBYism to ‘yes’ in my back yard," she said. "We know that we need diversity in our backyards."

The planning commission has scheduled a meeting on June 22 to discuss their recommendation to the city council. Lewin said he plans to express his concerns with his peers to the developers and city council members. 

"Build some great houses. Build some beautiful things that make the community better; that raise the property values; that make our community better. Don't make a bunch of things that are going to turn into apartments or airbnbs," Lewin said.

The project's design company, Dale & Associates, has included plans to widen 35th street to accommodate more traffic. CEO Roy Dale said he believes the project is exciting and the homes could be iconic from its view on the hill.