Sunday, August 15, 2010

Brentwood rejects senior care facility

BRENTWOOD — A plan for a senior care facility was the latest to fall this week as part of a rezoning request for a 6-acre-plus property known to locals as the "donkey farm."
It joins a preschool and a new post office as uses rejected for the northwest corner of Concord Road and Wilson Pike. The land is zoned residential.

Morning Pointe, a senior assisted-living facility planned for the tract, didn't even make it through a first reading when the Brentwood City Commission shot down the rezoning request.

"I ran on keeping residential residential. And honestly, I think that's the best use of the property: for houses. I think traffic is a problem," Commissioner Regina Smithson said.

A similar issue came up in 2005 when the "donkey farm" — so nicknamed after a herd of donkeys was housed there many years ago — was proposed for Crème de le Crème Preschool with a capacity for 250 students. That educational service rezoning was denied because of traffic concerns.

In 2004, the U.S. Postal Service announced that it intended to build a brand-new 32,000-square-foot facility there to relieve overcrowding at the post office on Brooks Chapel Road. Among the reasons for the groundswell of opposition was that neighbors were worried about the number of people driving to and from the new facility to gather their mail, as well as the safety factor as post office delivery trucks would have to use busy Concord Road to get to Interstate 65.

After the public outcry, federal postal officials scrapped their plans and decided to instead keep retail operations at the current post office, a building constructed in 1983, and move the carriers out to a facility on Gen. George Patton Drive.

To explain her "no" vote for Morning Pointe, Commissioner Anne Dunn cited the number of cars already on the road as people travel to various institutions, including the YMCA, the library and several churches, not to mention a Concord Road convenience market across the street, which was grandfathered in to the area.

Commissioner Paul Webb was concerned about the precedent that changing what is now residential zoning to a commercial designation would bring for that area.

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