Sylvan Park residents speak out over newest home construction

New home construction in Sylvan Park stirs controversy
Posted at 5:37 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 19:35:42-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — On Utah Avenue neighbors say bigger doesn't always mean better.

“One of the reasons this is a desirable part of town is because of the style of the home,” said councilwoman Kathleen Murphy. "If you were drawing for a children's story you’re gonna draw a neighborhood in a street that looks like this.”

In Sylvan Park most homes share a certain charm, except for a couple of new builds that look, unlike the rest. “It’s a large, tall box,” said resident Katie Lamb.

It’s becoming a familiar story- an old home torn down, and two new ones take its place.

When finished, there will be four new modern homes on two adjacent properties. The 42 feet tall homes tower over those around them. “They think these boxes are what everybody wants and they’re gonna put them wherever they can,” said Lamb.

Now residents are putting their opinions on display with signs that read "Richland Builders NOT Welcome" on their lawns.

“It’s become a little bit of an attraction, right? Like because you kind of come upon it and get surprised,” said Murphy.

In an area without overlays, Metro Zoning officials say the large structures don’t break any rules. “There are no design guidelines for this part of the neighborhood and so they are able to do whatever they choose,” said Murphy.

But as more properties sell and construction begins, some neighbors just want Sylvan Park to continue looking like Sylvan Park.

“It’s just not like the rest of us,” said Lamb.

NewsChannel 5 received the following statement from Chris Barnhizer, owner of Richland Building Partners LLC:

"My name is Chris Barnhizer. My family lives in Sylvan Park. My children walk these streets, play on the playgrounds, and learn the meaning of teamwork playing tee-ball at McCabe. We patronize the restaurants, fill up at Billy’s, get our morning coffee at Star Bagel and our haircut at Scout’s. We were drawn to Sylvan Park due to the strong sense of community and it’s very disheartening to drive down our “inclusive” neighborhood and see signs saying we are not welcome because change is not welcome by some.

I moved to Nashville in 2009, knowing Nashvillians wanted diversity, change, growth, advancement, economic development with high quality and high values at the top of their goals. I have grown Richland Builders from one employee to a team of twelve, supporting our city in every aspect of our lives and making an impact beyond the boundaries of Sylvan Park.

It’s my commitment to prove to this Sylvan Park neighborhood that our goal is to bring diversity into an already charming community. My family has the same desires as every other family that lives here. We plan to raise our family here with you. We have committed to community improvements that are on the horizon, yet have not been revealed. It’s the Richland Builders’ mission to not focus on what we give up as new homes are built, instead what we gain with the process."