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City leaders talk with chamber

Xavier Smith • Feb 9, 2018 at 2:04 PM

The latest installment of the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Town News on Friday featured several Lebanon leaders.

The monthly Town News event features city and county leaders who update citizens on recent and future developments in their realms of the community. Friday’s event featured Lebanon City Councilor Chris Crowell, Lebanon police Sgt. P.J. Hardy and Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash, who each talked about growth in their respective realms.

Ash discussed several aspects of the city, specifically growth and the city’s efforts to prepare for the future. Ash noted the Middle Tennessee region as one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.

“Lebanon and Wilson County are smack dab in the middle of it. Growth is a wonderful thing, but it’s also a double-edged sword,” Ash said. “If you’re not growing, you’re dying. So we want to grow.”

Ash said the rapid growth leaves the city a small window to plan for the growth.

“You have to plan for growth. You have to manage growth. You have to control growth, and the first thing you have to do is decide what kind of growth you want. All growth is not good,” said Ash, who took aim at high-density developments.

“I don’t think we want that. Some of it is necessary, and some of it is well and good, as long as it’s high quality, but not everywhere in Lebanon.”

Ash highlighted the Pointe at Five Oaks apartment complex, which was heavily debated and opposed by Five Oaks residents, who pointed to the potential for reduced property values due to the complex.

“I’m sorry, but that did not help the value of your home in Five Oaks. I don’t think it should’ve been done, but, again, there was nothing illegal about it. It was fine. They had the right to do it, and I hope everyone survives,” Ash said.

Ash highlighted the city’s efforts to manage growth, including the South Hartmann Gateway study and the Lebanon visioning and comprehensive planning committees.

“South Hartman Drive, as it develops, will not just be a hodgepodge of anybody can come in and throw something up. We are protecting that corridor, making it look welcoming, and if someone puts a business up there, protecting their business,” Ash said.

The Lebanon City Council adopted the Lebanon Visioning Committee’s vision statement for the city. The overall vision reads, “The city of Lebanon will be a safe, clean, family friendly town for all its citizens that preserves the natural areas and encourages growth in its existing activity centers with safe transportation connections.”

The Lebanon Comprehensive Task Force is tasked with taking the created vision from the Lebanon Visioning Committee and making it more comprehensive.

“The visioning committee created a strategic plan for the city, but it wasn’t comprehensive. This plan will be more in-depth and detailed,” Lebanon Planning Director Paul Corder said last month.

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