Historic Nashville urges the Metro Council to adopt the Metro Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation to deny the community plan modification request and preserve Davidson County’s only nationally recognized Rural Historic District. Allowing the requested development would not only permanently alter the character of the community and put the rural historic designation in jeopardy, it would also be a loss of possibly significant cultural resources. Although there are known archaeological features on the property in question, there has been no comprehensive archaeological survey to determine what historic and prehistoric assets are present on the site. For example, the Cherokee Indians traveled along White’s Creek on the Trail of Tears and may have camped in the area, but the exact location is unknown. It is possible that this parcel contains invaluable prehistoric archaeological information about American Indians in Middle Tennessee that would be at risk if this development moves forward.
Aside from the specific issues regarding this parcel, Historic Nashville is also concerned with the policy precedent set by granting this request. For too long, Nashville has taken an exception-based approach to city planning that did not recognize the cultural and aesthetic feel of individual communities. Now that Planning has recommended including this parcel in Nashville Next, this will begin the erosion of Nashville’s first comprehensive plan just as it gets off the ground. Nashville needs this kind of comprehensive planning as it deals with new growth so as to preserve our neighborhood and historic assets for future generations. Exceptions to Nashville Next and community plans should be rare and supported with good reason. Historic Nashville does not believe this request meets that standard given its location in the White’s Creek Rural Historic District and the lack of professional documentation of the cultural resources at the site. We therefore ask that the council reject this modification request and adopt the recommendation of the Metro Planning Commission.