Antioch affordable housing complex concerns neighbors

Antioch residents are growing increasingly concerned about a proposed affordable housing apartment complex on Forest View Drive, citing overcrowded schools, traffic congestion and safety among many potential issues.

“We would rather have it be low-income housing they can purchase,” said Lisa Farney, who lives off Forest View Drive, where the complex would be built. “Then they would have ownership, then they’d respect the community.”

RichSmith Development wants to build 96-unit apartment complex The Ridge at Antioch with help from state-awarded, low-income tax credits.

“It doesn’t benefit the people who already live here,” said John Griggs, who has been an active member of the Forest View Park neighborhood for 26 years. “The property values are in the toilet because of the low-income families that have already moved out here.”

An ongoing complaint of Antioch neighbors as more housing units arrive, both those with tax credits and those without, is the lack of space for children in schools.

“Where are we going to place school aged children? We just built a new school and (it) is already over crowded,” Marian Sherman wrote on a Facebook post.

Farney also worries about traffic on Murfreesboro Pike.

“Hamilton Church, Bell Road, Hobson: Those three intersections are notorious for accidents,” she said.

Councilwoman Karen Johnson has attempted to downsize the development to instead have single-family homes, saying the development would cause a concentration of low-income housing. Two existing low-income housing apartments are next to the Forest View Drive property and two more are approved near the area.

While multiple Metro Council members have voiced support to downsize the project, Nashville could be punished if it takes effect. Should they succeed, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) board would reduce the number of low-income tax credits that could go to Nashville.

Farney said this is “intimidating” council members who may want tax credits in their districts.

RichSmith’s Managing Partner Arby Smith and THDA Executive Director Ralph Perrey have said downsizing the project would waste tax credits awarded for the property, causing fewer families access to affordable homes.

Because the Metro Planning Commission disapproved Johnson’s request, Johnson will need 27 votes for the ordinance, sponsored by Fabian Bedne, to become law.

The public hearing for the proposal is July 5.

Reach Jen Todd at 615-313-2760 or on Twitter @jentoddwrites.

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