{p dir=”ltr”}Plans to rezone land near Castle Heights Elementary School will be deferred until a more comprehensive picture of the traffic impact can be determined. The decision to defer was approved by the Lebanon City Council on Tuesday.

The change would amend the plot’s zoning from low-density residential designation to a higher density one. This led to some councilors expressing concern over uncertainties from increased traffic and how it could imperil school zones.

“It is already a busy area, so yes I do have concerns about the traffic,” said Ward 3 Councilor and Planning Commission Chair Camille Burdine.

Precisely how many cars will be traveling that stretch is difficult to guess, but increased density all but guarantees increased traffic. So just how much the density increases could make a big difference.

Burdine said, “I’m not against rezoning it, but I have to question which density is most appropriate.”

Burdine said the planning commission is limited to what they can say yes or no to. Rezoning is one of the main tools they use to steer development as they deem appropriate. However, adjacent land to this property has already been rezoned for a higher density. “If the plot touches the same type of zoning, its hard to say no,” Burdine said.

During the preliminary public hearing, Civil Site Design Group Principal Ryan Lovelace, the project’s engineer, said that D.R. Horton requested a deferral. D.R. Horton is the builder on the project.

Since concerns were emerging about the increased traffic, the builders wanted to sit down with the Lebanon Special School District and Mayor Rick Bell, among other officials, to draw up a site map that takes traffic factors into account.

Ward 1 Councilor Joey Carmack’s constituents include North Castle Heights residents. Carmack says he’s eager to participate in site plan discussions. At present, he’s still undecided how he will vote because he wants to get a more complete picture of the matter before going either way. “I like to see development. But I want to see smart growth.” he said.

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