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Bellevue development both raises concerns and garners praise

Bellevue (Google Earth)
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A large apartment complex on the Harpeth River in Bellevue is getting strong opposition and some praise as developers promise more than $12 million in improvements.

The fight over the Ariza development has gone on for more than year and it all goes to the planning commission Thursday.

Coley Davis Road is one way in and one way out for around 2,500 residents who live off of it in Bellevue, just off the interstate.

Now developers want to build a bridge off of Coley Davis Road that would lead to a new 417 unit apartment complex on the banks of the Harpeth River.

Current residents say it is the wrong development for the wrong place.

It’s just the wrong place for what they’re trying to do," said Bellevue resident Donna Wood. "And again, if we had another outlet or another inlet, this would be a totally different story.

But developers say it is good for Bellevue. Not only are they building a bridge, they are also going to raise Coley Davis Road above the historic flood level of 2010.

“We can raise the road above the 2010 high watermark," said project consultant and Bellevue resident Alan Thompson. "So, if 2010 happened again, you would be able to drive out on dry pavement all the way to highway 70, where you were stuck before,."

They are also promising to connect the rest of the greenway, opening up a 60 acre Metro park. Additionally, they would build a bridge to service the apartment complex. They say this is all a $12 million gift to Bellevue.

“From my perspective as a consultant in Nashville for 30 years and resident here in Bellevue, I have never seen a development of this size bring this much public benefit along with it,” said Thompson.

Many residents who live on Coley Davis currently are unmoved by the improvement.

“Well, first of all, I don't buy the narrative, right, the narrative that we ought to deregulate zoning, to have a private developer do the things that government's supposed to do for us in the first place. I just don't buy that narrative,” said Bellevue resident and Vanderbilt law professor Jim Rossi.

The seniors who live on Coley Davis Road worry that years of construction will end up costing lives.

“We’re looking at five years of disruption with emergency vehicles trying to get to us with heart attacks, strokes, falls, you name it we do it in there, the average age of our people in there its anywhere from 66 to 95, right now we have 5 to 7 minute response time, if they do this we will be sitting there 30-40 minutes with a stroke or heart attack or other major things that are wrong with us,” said Wood.

This plan has been modified many times. Each time citizens raise concerns and the developers answer with more improvements. The developers say their traffic plan will leave one lane permanently open.

Project consultant Alan Thompson says this project will not just make Coley Davis safer, but more accessible. He says it will help all of Bellevue.

“The other aspect from a community standpoint, One Bellevue place, which is our retail service center, that’s where we go to eat," said Thompson. "That’s where we go to skate, it's where we go to see movies. It still has vacant, never, ever improved areas inside that facility. Another 417 residents is only going to benefit One Bellevue place and bring more customers,”

In the end the decision will go to the planning commission.

It will be a meeting to remember.

This is one of the last remaining undeveloped parcels that sit on a bend of the Harpeth River," said Rossi. "That location is ecologically sensitive and plays a very important flood management role for community. I just don’t think that’s consistent with how we conceptually tried to lay out land in Bellevue.

The planning commission meeting and a potential vote on the project is scheduled for Thursday.

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