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Brentwood residents ask City Commission to support plan to restore slave cabins


Brentwood residents ask City Commission to support plan to restore slave cabins

By MATT BLOIS

A group of Brentwood residents asked the City Commission to support a development plan that would preserve a historic slave cabin on the Primm Farm.

In August, a developer asked the city to change the zoning on a portion of the Primm farm on Moores lane. The land is already zoned for residential development. The developer asked for a different type of residential zoning.

The city hosted a public hearing on the plan Monday night, but the commission didn’t take any action. Nearly all the residents that spoke at the hearing supported the plan.

The City Commission voted 5-2 in favor of the plan during an initial vote on August 13, but the Planning Commission narrowly recommended denying it on September 4.

The City Commission will vote on the final approval of the plan on September 27.

The proposed zoning would allow four more homes on the property than the current zoning. Several Commissioners were concerned that allowing additional homes would set a bad example for future developers.

Developer Jerrold Pedigo said the extra homes would help pay for improvements included in the proposed plan.

As a part of the plan, Pedigo proposed restoring the slave cabins and allowing public access. The proposed plan would also have a large landscaped buffer in from the development with potential for a future bike path.

At the public hearing, 11 residents said they supported the proposal because it would preserve Brentwood’s history and expand the city’s trail system.

“Preservation has always been one of the most important values of this community,” Brentwood resident Inetta Gaines said. “If Mr. Pedigo is willing to restore the cabins, then wouldn’t it be in the best interest of our community allow just four additional homes? Many times it seems to come down to economics, but in this case preservation should outweigh economics.”

One man said he didn’t support the plan. He liked the plan to preserve the slave cabins, but worried about the landscaping plan for the edges of the property.

The City Commission can still approve the plan with a majority vote even though the Planning Commission recommended against it. Several City Commissioners expressed support for the plan after the public hearing.

“I’m not going to take a chance. I asked Mr. Pedigo directly if he is going to build on those 20 acres the way it’s zoned right now, and he said he was,” Commissioner Regina Smithson said following the hearing. “I’m just not going to take a chance … for the sake of saving and preserving the slave house and the bike path and the buffer.”

Commissioners Ken Travis and Betsy Crossley will not be at the meeting on September 27. In the initial vote Travis voted against the plan and Crossly voted for it. 

The proposal would need four votes to pass. The commission could also defer the proposal until all Commissioners are present.

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