In January of last year, KP-SHA was alerted that a zoning change request had been made by a developer who wanted to demolish the home at 3222 Kingston Pike, to build a community of duplexes. During a productive meeting with the developer, KP-SHA shared that neighbors were protective our zoning, as well as the value placed on preserving the home and the concern about probable traffic safety hazards that a higher density development would create. After the meeting, the developer graciously and respectfully withdrew his request.
Neighbors were already on high alert when a second developer stepped in quickly, also requesting a zoning change. Immediately, KP-SHA was inundated with impassioned voicemails, texts, emails, phone calls and meeting requests. This developer planned a multi-story building of either apartments or condos, with possible duplexes as well. This developer said he would preserve the home, turning it into a sales office or condos, with a parking lot in front. KP-SHA met with the developer, once again expressing concerns about a zoning change, traffic problems, and to ask that the developer put a Historic Overlay on the house to help convince neighbors that he would actually preserve the home. He declined the Historic Overlay request, saying that it might interfere with his restoration plans.
Since zoning laws affect an entire community, KP-SHA’s standard response to a zoning change or variance request is to gauge the opinion of neighbors before making a recommendation to City Council. The neighbors’ majority opinion was clear from the beginning, (48 of 54 neighbors on Kingston Pike were in written opposition to the development). We encouraged the developer to make some concessions if he wanted to win the approval of the neighbors: perhaps reducing the number of units to stay with the current zoning law or going forward with the Historic Overlay. He declined. We also suggested (at the recommendation of a traffic engineer) that he lower the number of units to meet the engineer's suggested density that would maintain a safe traveling environment on Kingston Pike. Again, he declined, saying he didn't agree with the engineer that his development would put lives at risk. So we asked if he would consider withdrawing his request as a courtesy to the neighbors in opposition (whose properties would be affected), but he wanted to proceed. After City Council voted to not approve the zoning change request, the developer weighed his options before recently withdrawing his offer on the property.
During all of this, neighbor Rich Tierney approached KP-SHA about rallying a large group of concerned neighbors to pool our money to provide a back-up offer on the property. This was a huge relief to KP-SHA, as it would provide the homeowner to still be able to sell the property, while the group would put a historic overlay on the home, restore it, save the zoning and alleviate the traffic safety concerns. Incredibly, hundreds of thousand of dollars were raised in only a matter of weeks, and one neighbor agreed to loan any remaining amount if the group fell short of the $1,000,000.00 needed to meet the developer's offer to the homeowner. An offer of $1,000,000.00 was made on the home twice (once before the zoning was denied and once after the zoning was denied), but the homeowner rejected the offer both times (he wanted to see it to the end with the developer).
After the developer's recent withdrawal of his offer on the property, Rich Tierney's group prepared to make yet another offer, but as several months had passed, some investors from Tierney's groups had withdrawn their money. However, Tierney recently made yet ANOTHER offer, although it was lower. At this point, the offer is still in the hands of the homeowner. KP-SHA's ultimate hope is that the home will be restored, that a Historic Overlay will be placed on the home, that the low-density, residential zoning will be preserved (which, as a result, mitigates the traffic concerns), and that the homeowner will receive the dollar amount for the property that he hopes to receive. KP-SHA knows that the home is fragile and is working hard to make a resolution happen quickly.