After the Planning Commission last night approved one request to rezone residential lots off of Siegen Lane while killing another request for an adjacent property, both the landowner and neighboring residents say they’re unsatisfied with the commission’s decision.
More than 15 residential lots along Interstate 10—some 12 acres of land—were up for consideration to be rezoned from residential to office use last night, prompting concerns from area residents about the additional traffic that would be caused by any future development. The commission voted 6-1-1 to approve a handful of lots at the corner of Siegen and I-10, while striking down the rest of the property rezoning request with a 3-5 vote.
Homeowner association president Bill Gibson, speaking for residents in the Audubon Terrace and Morning Glen neighborhoods, says last night was a partial victory and residents will be reaching out to Metro Council members to express their concerns before the council considers the rezoning request next month. Gibson believes the commission is trying to slow down urban sprawl, adding that its decision set a bad precedent by opening the door for other office or commercial developments in neighborhood areas.
“The problem, and this is concerning, is that I realized last night that the Planning Commission seems to try to utilize all property,” Gibson says. “They want to see that any undeveloped property is developed and utilized, and they don’t care how it happens. They’re trying to slow down the urban sprawl.”
Additionally, Gibson says the neighborhood is fighting another developer—Kevin Nguyen—in court because there’s a deed restriction on another set of nearby lots that only allows for residential use. The restriction also applies to the lots approved last night, and he says they’re not afraid to bring the case to court, though they would rather not.
Property owner Arthur Metrailer—who owns the land with his family and whose father, Ed, was one of the developers of the subdivision—is also not happy with the partial approval, but says he’ll respect the decisions made by the commission and Metro Council.
Metrailer says he’s been making an effort to talk with the homeowner’s association about the rezoning request. Moreover, he says traffic shouldn’t be a concern. While there is but one roadway in and out of the area, Metrailer says any traffic tied to any office space would contraflow most residential traffic.
“Our property has been squeezed down and we’re just trying to make lemonade out of lemons,” Metrailer says.