Old Hillsboro Road
Scenic America, the national conservation organization, designated the Harpeth River Valley as one of the Top Ten Most Endangered Scenic Places in America.
The heritage landscape along Old Hillsboro Road was named a Last Chance Landscape because it’s a place of outstanding scenic beauty and distinctive community character, with both a pending threat and a potential solution.
The beauty of Old Hillsboro Road results from large contiguous areas of rural open space. Residents of Old Hillsboro and adjoining roads have refrained from subdividing their properties, each contributing to the scenic landscape that is enjoyed by others and the county as a whole.
Bob Parks has acquired rights to a 34-acre property on the East side of Old Hillsboro Road, which is currently zoned Rural Preservation-1, in contrast to the West side zoning of RP-5. Bob Parks has requested approval of a subdivision plan reflecting the property’s maximum permitted density of 1-acre lots. The development is referred to as Hillsboro Cove.
The subdivision is inconsistent with the rural character of Old Hillsboro Road — a unique asset by virtue of its proximity to the urban areas of Franklin and Nashville and valuable for its role as a brake on Franklin’s growth to the West. Old Hillsboro Road is the last remaining artery for scenic travel between Nashville and Franklin, and it is the gateway to the Old Natchez Trace and the beautiful Leiper’s Fork region.
The subdivision ensures the eventual dense subdivision of the rest of the Old Hillsboro Road corridor. A domino effect of intense development will result as owners begin to flee and sell to developers (to which end, we believe, Bob Parks has already expressed an interest in acquiring additional properties).
The subdivision represents the consumption of a beneficial community asset for private gain. As the first to sell 1-acre homes in an expansive rural setting, Bob Parks takes advantage of the open rural landscape provided by other Old Hillsboro Road owners, and he permanently withdraws any offer of open space to the community from his own fully-developed property.
The subdivision, and the RP-1 zoning designation itself, are in conflict with The Williamson County Comprehensive Land Use Plan, which requires that rural character shall be maintained in all Rural Areas and provides for a unitary Rural Preservation district of 5-acre density in the western part of the County: “The single-family residential densities and related open space set-aside requirements for the new Rural Preservation District will take the following form: The maximum single-family residential gross density allowed will be one (1) dwelling unit for each five (5) acres.”
Areas now designated RP-1 were formerly Suburban Estate districts, but where the Plan states that former SE district areas will continue under 1-acre density, it is specifically limited to SE regions in the Rural Development district, which is located in the eastern part of the county: “All SE zoned lands within the Rural Development Areas would retain their current permitted range of allowed uses and a maximum residential density of one (1) dwelling unit for each one (1) acre. However, the regulations would allow the developer an option to develop under a conservation subdivision option that allows lot variation.” See the map adopted with the Plan.
The Plan is not a statement of goals–it is our controlling development document. The Williamson County Zoning Ordinance is subordinate to the Plan and is required by its own terms to be amended to conform to the Plan.
The subdivision will be located directly in front of the Old Natchez Trace, adversely affecting the recently approved creative preservation plan for ONT’s repaving that preserves the oldest operational road in the US.
The subdivision is located where the Harpeth and West Harpeth Rivers meet. The Harpeth River Watershed Association opposes the project and states, “This is the first large area of the river, this is the bathtub for the river in this area and their property is right in it.”
We claim the support of nearly 90% of OHR residents on the 3-mile stretch of road most affected by Bob Parks subdivision. To fail to protect the interests of the community for the opportunity of one is bad business and bad government. We ask Bob Parks to reconsider his role in our community and help us preserve and protect our local assets. We also ask our county leaders to aggressively evaluate the proposed subdivision in light of their responsibilities under the Land Use Plan and apply their authority to enforce it.