Photo by Andrew Wigdor / News Editor
The plans for the proposed “The Cove at Oaklands,” the 11.6 acres of townhomes that were to be built on an area of land near Oaklands Mansion, were withdrawn by the applicant, and the public hearing for the plans was taken off the agenda of the Murfreesboro City Council meeting that took place on Thursday.
The withdrawal of the plans comes after Justyna Kostkowska, an MTSU English professor and Murfreesboro resident, created a petition to fight against the construction on the property surrounding the Oaklands Sinking Creek. The petition currently has almost 1,000 signatures.
“The petition has brought the development to the residents’ attention, because originally only a few people living within 250 feet (of the property) were mailed rezoning notices,” Kostkowska said. “The more residents found out about it, the stronger was the opposition.”
Kostkowska emphasized the cultural and historical significance of the land in her petition, stating that over 100 bird species rely on the Sinking Creek and surrounding area. Native American and Civil War artifacts have also reportedly been found on the property.
“The prospect of condos on this special piece of land is just outrageous,” Kostkowska said. “People commented that they thought the land belonged to the city, as it really should. Historically, it always was one Oaklands parcel, destined to be a park.”
City Councilman Eddie Smotherman, who voted for the rezoning of the townhomes during a Murfreesboro Planning Commission public hearing in May, explained that the applicant wished to commit more time to studying and amending the plan he had originally put forth.
Despite the victory for the supporters of the petition, the proposed “The Cove at Oaklands” is still being pursued by the developer. He has simply requested a delay to complete the additional studies and research, at this time.
“The developer decided that there probably needed to be more studies done before he gave his presentation on why he would like to do that development,” Smotherman said. “There also is some question of how much he would be able to develop because of the amount of property that will be developable… At some point, there’s probably a chance that he would return with a similar request but certainly with some changes.”
Sidelines reached out to the developer for comment, but a response has not been received at this time.
“It’s not over by any means… The community needs to speak out if they want to save Oaklands Sinking Creek from condos,” Kostkowska said.
To learn more about the petition and its supporters, visit the Save Oaklands Park Wetland Facebook page.
To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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