Lewis County Herald - Serving Hohenwald, Lewis County Tennessee Since 1898

By Becky Jane Newbold
Managing Editor 

Edgefield residents question City over proposed expansion


January 9, 2020

In yet another late announced, but regularly scheduled meeting, residents of a local subdivision discovered two days prior a city planning commission would be considering an expansion in the neighborhood.

Homeowners in the Edgefield subdivision, constructed prior to City codes and zoning, have struggled with inadequate drainage, flooding and other issues for decades, with one house in particular suffering substantial drainage issues.

The Monday afternoon meeting was announced on the City of Hohenwald’s Facebook page Sunday at 8:16 p.m., a day after a resident of the subdivision began a Facebook post urging residents to turn out for the meeting, a post that showed confusion over which entity would be holding the meeting and where.

The meeting location was announced early Monday on Facebook to be moved to the Emergency Operations Center on Oak Street due to the number anticipated to attend.

Chairman John Risner called the 5 p.m. meeting to order with Ben Floyd absent. Attending were Commission members Vice Mayor Don Barber, Mayor Danny McKnight, Steve Keeton, Eddie DeNicolais and City Planner Jim Lech.

Citizen Input was delayed until New Business when a discussion of the proposed expansion was listed on the agenda.

Chairman Risner stepped aside from the chair, and Vice Chair DeNicolais called on Risner to share his plan for expansion.

Mr. Risner explained that he and a partner, Greg Amacher, who was not in attendance, planned to construct single family dwellings of similar size to existing homes extending from Edgewood Drive to Highway 20, creating a second entrance to the subdivision.

Currently the homes, approximately 50 lots, are all served by one ingress/egress.

Tammy and Michael Morey objected, stating the end of Edgewood had been declared by the City as their driveway and they were maintaining it.

“Is it our driveway or a city road?” they asked.

What ensued was an hour and a half discussion in which other property owners expressed exasperation over inadequate drainage and poor conditions of streets.

Mr. Risner fielded questions concerning the new development, stating they would abide by “whatever is required by the engineer” in a new hydrology study.

Mr. Lech firmly recommended the City hire and pay for an independent engineer to assess the hydrology study to confirm all would be done correctly.

Vice Mayor Barber added history of the subdivision, noting the City now requires a bond from developers as insurance the streets will be built to codes, including proper drainage.

“That’s what didn’t happen, we didn’t have drainage codes. [The subdivision] is now in distress,” the vice mayor said.

Mr. Risner explained a construction entrance would be built from Highway 20 to limit impact on the City streets. Vice Mayor Barber conceded he would be in favor of voting to pave the Morey’s end of the street if they wanted to dedicate it to the City. This would allow a second ingress/egress for the neighborhood and could eliminate flooding of the “driveway” that is currently the end of Edgewood Drive.

“This is the Freddy Krueger of subdivisions,” Mr. Lech commented. “This is why you have planning and zoning.”

No vote was taken on the measure and all homeowner questions were answered. Mayor McKnight pledged to give notice of when the issue would be discussed again so interested parties could attend. He indicated social media would be used.

“Construction cannot start until issues are resolved,” Vice Mayor Barber stated. “We will be overly sensitive to all this out there.”

“We won’t vote on anything unless y’all are made aware prior,” Vice Chair DeNicolais added.


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