Letter to the Editor: Thoughtful planning needed to preserve our rural community

Staff Reports • Updated Feb 21, 2018 at 2:00 PM

To the Editor:

There is listening … and then there is “listening” with intent to be sensitive and receptive to the thoughts of others. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The wise listen to others.”

Homeowners of the Leeville community have talked and begged to be heard by the city of Lebanon regarding our concerns about the annexation and rezoning proposal of some 300 acres in the heart of our community from rural residential to commercial and high-density housing on 266 acres.

Never mind our common sense arguments that Highway 109 and Interstate 40 is already terribly congested, especially at rush hour. Never mind the destruction of our historical community, a church on the historical register, a public cemetery with Revolutionary War soldiers’ graves. Never mind that East Division, one block over, is already zoned industrial with noise and heavy trucks. Never mind that the principal city planner, Richard Donovan, said at both meetings it would take 30-50 years for the city to regroup its payout. Never mind the already burdened school system. The proposed 700 new homes would require a new school. There would be a potential 1,400 more vehicles on the narrow roads and highway. Never mind the burden on law enforcement, likely increased crime and the years of inconvenience while roads are torn up and all that goes with infrastructure.

We’ve lived here 70 years, seen the major thoroughfares built. I know change is inevitable. However, we need more careful, studied and thoughtful planning to preserve our small rural communities. We believe the property should be developed comparable to adjoining Wildwood Estates, with good size lots and no commercial property.

At the first meeting, the eight city planners turned the proposal down unanimously. However, when the Lebanon City Council met, recommendation was made to send it back to the city planners for more study. Well, guess what? At the next planning meeting, all, except for Kathy Adams, flip-flopped and voted yes. Thank you, Kathy.

If the annexation won’t benefit the city of Lebanon or the 300-plus individuals in Leeville or the commuters travelling Highway 109 daily, who will benefit? The property sellers and the big housing development company, David Weekley Homes, will benefit. Please listen to your advisors and taxpaying neighbors … do what is morally and sensibly right.

Richard and Mabel Stephens


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