A group of investors has requested rezoning where South Brock Road intersects Rt 129, just a little north of the Rt. 330 and Lebanon Rd. intersections with Rt. 129. They are proposing a gas station, restaurant, store, and sizeable parking lot for that location.
You may recall that Citizens for South Jackson (CSJ) recently worked with the County Planning Staff on a vision for future development on Rt. 129. In that vision, development would be limited to four nodes (or areas), as opposed to strip development all along Rt. 129. While most citizens in South Jackson would prefer no additional commercial development (109 citizens signed a letter opposing more development), we realize that development pressure will continue. To keep our community from experiencing traffic congestion, reduced traffic safety, visual blight, and the loss of our rural look and feel, CSJ and County Planning Staff agreed to plan for future development in small nodes. These nodes follow current development patterns, reducing developmental sprawl and traffic concerns along the Rt. 129 corridor.
Unfortunately, the proposed development on Brock Road lies outside of these nodes, setting a precedent for developmental sprawl along Rt. 129 in South Jackson.
The proposed location lies within the Brock Road neighborhood. Homes are located directly across Brock Road from and adjacent to (behind) the proposed site. Last year, following the leadership of our County Commissioner Marty Seagraves, the Board of Commissioners denied a rezoning request on the site because of the proximity of homes to the site. Few homeowners would want a store/gas station/restaurant complex built right beside their home.
Rt. 129 does not have a median cut through at Brock Road. Traffic entering or leaving the site from the northbound lane would have two options: 1) U-turning on the Lebanon Church Rd. cut-through or U-turning on the North Brock Road cut-through a few miles north; or 2) traveling through the neighborhoods on Lebanon Church, Bellamy, and Brock Roads. Increased traffic on Lebanon Church, Bellamy, and Brock Roads will destroy the rural feel of that neighborhood and decrease the safety of those rural roads. This proposed development would set up a situation where commercial traffic must U-turn on Rt. 129 cut-throughs, which is an unsafe option.
CSJ opposes the rezoning request because we feel that development should follow the vision recently outlined in the 2050 Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update. Why create a vision and a plan for the future if we are going to ignore it? We also feel that development in South Jackson should not increase traffic and safety concerns and therefore decrease our neighbors’ quality of life.
Finally, CSJ reached out twice to the investors/developers in October, hoping to discuss their plans and look for a possible compromise. The investors never responded to our request for a meeting. This unresponsiveness makes us wonder whether the investors/developers have any intention of considering the concerns of South Jackson citizens in their proposal. It appears they do not.
We recommend that the investors instead propose their development for one of the four nodes identified in the Comprehensive Plan Update, or for another location outside of South Jackson.
CSJ feels that following the comprehensive plan vision would be the best option for the future of South Jackson.
We are asking you once again to contribute your voice to this issue. Even if you would like to see more development in our community, let’s make the choice to stick with a smarter, more sustainable type of growth. This commercial development, if approved, would be another crack in the dam that keeps South Jackson rural.
The Jackson County Planning Commission will hear the investors’ rezoning request on December 17. CSJ will present a letter opposing this rezoning request. We are hoping to include at least 125 signatures.
The Board of Commissioners will make the final decision about rezoning in February 2021. As a part of that decision, they will weigh the Planning Commission’s recommendation and the opinions of South Jackson citizens.
We must be clear: We want the County to follow the newly approved Comprehensive Plan Update and deny this rezoning request.
Please send an email to email@example.com or to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address. We will add it to the letter to be presented on December 17. Please send your name and address as soon as possible and urge your neighbors to add their voice as well.
Although sooner is better, we will need your response by Tuesday, December 15. If we have enough signatures before then we will not continue to remind you!
May you and your family have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday. Thank you for your commitment to South Jackson.
With kind regards,
Babs, Ken, and Gina