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Metro Planning Commissioners Go See Whites Creek For Themselves Ahead Of Key Density Decision

Williams Farm and Century Barn is a 170-acre Whites Creek farm that has been in the same family for more than 230 years.
Williams Farm and Century Barn is a 170-acre Whites Creek farm that has been in the same family for more than 230 years.

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The rural feel of Whites Creek remains in limbo in northern Davidson County, where city planners are debating how dense new housing can be. A large contingent of residents prefer large lots, farms, and uninterrupted rolling hills. But several landowners want to build subdivisions.

The Metro Planning Commission has been developing two options for how they write the new rural land use rules for Whites Creek.

More: Whites Creek Community Plan

As planner Brenda Diaz explained, both policies share much in common, including keeping development off steep slopes and requiring open spaces be maintained in new subdivisions.

But there’s a key contrast.

“Density,” Diaz said, “is the biggest difference here.”

Under one possible policy, 44 new homes would be allowed on one property. But if the commission goes with the other policy option, then fewer than 12 homes would be allowed on the same piece of land.

A similar scenario applies to 11 properties in Whites Creek. Their futures triggered a dispute in June and threatened to derail the entire NashvilleNext master plan. But the 11 properties were set aside out for separate consideration, and now the vote has been pushed back.

It’s such an important decision that Planning Director Doug Sloan decided that commission members should go see the land.

“Laying eyes on the actual properties that we’re talking about…it’s certainly worth the time for us to go out and take a look at it,” he said.

More: NashvilleNext rural development presentation

Meanwhile, the Planning Department staff and the commission are considering an update to the countywide subdivision regulations.

“We’re taking larger and larger steps toward focusing on harmonious development,” Sloan said.

Copyright 2015 WPLN News

Tony Gonzalez, a reporter in Nashville since July 2011, covers city news, features inspiring people, and seeks out offbeat stories. He’s also an award-winning juggler and hot chicken advocate who lives in East Nashville with his wife, a professional bookbinder. During his time at The Tennessean newspaper, his investigative reporting and feature stories were honored in the state and nationally. Gonzalez grew up near Chicago and came to Nashville after three years reporting and editing at Virginia's smallest daily newspaper, The News Virginian.