Oak Hill city leaders are considering a big proposal that could attract new business, but a group of residents are opposed to the idea, saying it would ruin the quiet neighborhood-feel they've worked hard to preserve.
Dr. Gregory Stewart says Oak Hill feels a little bit country, and that's why he says he moved here.
"The rural atmosphere we have and so close to the metropolitan area," Stewart said.
Wedged between Nashville and Brentwood, quiet Oak Hill was even a long-time home to country music legend Waylon Jennings.
Stewart is against a new city proposal he believes would ruin the small-town vibe Oak Hill has to offer.
"I was heartbroken, because, again, this was an area we sought to live in because of the absence of that kind of development right within the neighborhood," Stewart said.
If passed, the proposal would turn over 95 acres of residential Oak Hill into part of a commercial district, allowing businesses to move in on the Oak Hill side of Old Hickory Boulevard. The businesses just across the street are in Brentwood city limits.
"Certainly, in the mornings, traffic is horrendous there," Stewart said.
But Oak Hill Mayor Austin McMullen said his community already endures business traffic without making any sales tax money. And, right now, he says the city needs it.
"The state is going to eliminate the Hall income tax, and when they do, we will lose a significant portion of our revenue," McMullen said.
And the mayor believes the commercial district is the best option on the table.
If it passes, the city could start charging for services that are now free, like trash and recycling pick-up. Or it could hike property taxes, which already cost residents an average of $5,900 per year.
Stewart believes citizens should be able to vote on the issue, but the mayor says this is commissioners decision to make.
"We're doing our job, the job the citizens elected us to do, in making this decision," McMullen said.
The city is having an informal discussion on the commercial district Tuesday at Oak Hill City Hall until 6:30 p.m.
Commissioners are set to vote on the issue Dec. 19.
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