My family moved to Sumner County in the mid-1980s. The family friendly community of Goodlettsville was attractive to us with a short commute to Nashville, reasonable housing prices, and strong schools. It comes as no surprise that Sumner County is growing, which makes it imperative we plan for growth strategically to ensure we have the funding, infrastructure, and emergency medical services to accommodate residents, new and old. From 2000 to 2010, Portland alone grew 36%. According to the Populations Projections for the State of Tennessee published by the University of Tennessee, Sumner County will see a growth of nearly 17% percent from 2015 to 2030.
Growth issues should be examined by district and be in conjunction with the wants and needs of the cities. For example, Portland’s needs vary from those of Hendersonville or Gallatin. This is complicated because you have residents wanting to slow development to preserve their community’s quality of life, you have businesses that need housing for employees, and you have real estate investors looking to provide new amenities, some to simply profit.
All of these factors influence local politics, and we have to make sure the interests of our citizens’ stay at the forefront. Communication will be key. To slow the current growth, I suggest lower density zoning, more restrictive building codes, and impact fees. If we implement payments such as impact fees, I propose the funds raised should have a specific purpose of use, such as funding education. We also need to look at public transportation and mixed-use developments to promote walk-able communities, which will reduce traffic. Rezoning of residential areas for commercial use should be examined thoroughly as we also need to ensure the preservation of our green space. As commissioner, I will be a voice for planned, strategic growth while preserving our land for vegetation and recreational use.
Photo Credit: Portland, TN Main Street, http://www.tnvacation.com, Heidi Stockford