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Lewisburg City Council Work Session & Meeting

Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 11:00 am

TRACY HARRIS-Staff Writer At February’s Lewisburg City Council work session on Feb. 6, Lewisburg’s new Fire Chief, Drew Hawkins was sworn in.

A topic brought forward by Councilmember Joe Bradford brought heated discussion. He requested the position of Director of Economic Development remain vacant for the remainder of Fiscal Year 23-24 and to study expectations and goals for the position. The position has been empty since Nov. 30.

Bradford said, “I need the question answered, ‘Are we going to advertise the position or have a committee which three of us have indicated we would like?’” Councilmember Tommy Burns expressed his agreement, “that’s the way most communities do it. They form committees to look at this.” City Manager Bam Haislip said he will be advertising the position and would not form a committee.

Bradford explained if the position is advertised, “it implies that we’re going to fill it sooner than July 1. That’s not what I was wanting.” Councilmember Vickie Michael added, “So we all have the ability to look at job description, right?” Haislip said they could review the current job description anytime. He then turned to Burns and asked him several times, “Didn’t you hold that position?” The two went back and forth for several minutes and eventually Burns said, “Yes from 1983-1999.”

Bradford asked the City Manager, “If three of us have said we want a committee, why is there not going to be a committee?” Hailsip said that was a question for City Attorney Thomas Hutto then said, “The City Manager handles day-to-day, including hiring an Economic Director according to the Charter.” Hutto confirmed that the City Manager does have the right to advertise and hire someone for the position. Bradford suggested to “completely defund [the position] with a budget amendment.” Hutto said doing so would require an ordinance or resolution, so Bradford said he’d make a motion to do so the following Tuesday at the regular City Council meeting. The meeting adjourned a few minutes later.

Fast forward to Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 5:50 p.m. – public comments prior to regular City Council meeting. More than 100 people packed into City Hall-chairs were full in the meeting room, all the walls were lined, and the hallway was completely full. Mayor Jim Bingham opened the Public Hearing at 5:50 and read the rules. He informed the crowd that everyone there would be given a chance to speak, no matter how long it took.

It took around three hours for public comments and more than 50 residents spoke up including residents from Webb Rd., Globe Rd., Rambo Hollow Rd., Jennifer Ln., Old Lake Rd., and more.

Michael Duvall of Globe Rd. expressed concerns about the curvy road with drops on both sides. He told the Council, “When you do this, you’re going to be adding thousands of cars. If we get all these people there, I hope you’re willing to go to all the funerals that you’re going to have.”

Paul LeGrone, a contractor for 30 years and resident of Globe Rd. said that as a contractor, he is not anti-growth; he’s just against poorly-done growth. He said, “We’ve all had near-death experiences out there where we had to pick the ditch, mailboxes, trash carts, or a head-on collision.” He asked the City to take more responsibility for the roads when they consider annexing properties. “If growth is going to happen under the city’s guidance, then it needs to be done well,” he said.

Grant Cook, a fourth generation to live across from one of the properties said, “I understand progress happens. I’m a surveyor in Williamson, Rutherford, and Davidson counties and I’ve seen the difference in well-thought out projects and poorly-planned ones.” According to Grant, well thought out projects bring people with more disposable income, larger homes, and larger acreage per lot. He said, “We really need to look at this. Are we bringing money into the local economy or are we just screwing over everybody in this room?”

Kalel Cook, Grant’s wife, a Spring Hill native explained that when her family first moved there, it was all rolling farm land. “You all know what it’s like now.” She moved away to Knoxville for college where she met Grant and they moved back here. She said, “What we came back for, what we love, could change. Going back to Spring Hill where my parents are now, I hate it. No offense but all of you look old enough to have children. I want you to think about your children. Do you want them to enjoy coming back to visit you? Or do you want them to dread it because of the traffic and development, because it’s not what they used to call home?”

Webb Rd. resident Ryan Dominguez said, “Very few people of my generation are homeowners and I’m so blessed to have that opportunity and to live in a community like Lewisburg.” He read Article I of Lewisburg’s zoning ordinance and noted how items A-I of the ordinance do not align with proposed annexation.

There were new homeowners and multi-generational homeowners, residents in their 20s and much older ones, lifelong residents and newer residents from out-of-county and out-of-state. They all aligned in one voice-say no to annexation to all properties on Globe Rd. and Webb Rd.

David Buschmann, owner of Insight Properties, addressed the council next. He said, “When I met the Coble family, [they] didn’t want someone to do a cheap development; they wanted someone with experience. I went to school in Franklin and then graduated from MTSU. I’m local. I’m not somebody from out of town. We work for the top five national builders. We don’t build siding houses with pipes under the driveway. They city has spent over 10 years and millions of dollars widening the roads, building the water system out there, the sewer system, and there’s even a pump station on the Kielbasa property out there.”

Buschmann said, “We don’t build houses; we build developments. When you say high density, understand there’s a lot to it. When we build a lifestyle community, we cluster homes and create open areas around them for walking trails, walking your dogs, and different amenities. We’re not doing apartments. Our houses will be in the $400,000 range and they will be brick. They’re not cheap; they’re not vinyl siding; they’re not rentals; they’re not $125,000 homes.” These were some of the statements made by citizens about what a high-density development would look like.

The regular meeting began after all public comments. The first items, A-F, were from the public hearing. All of the items regarding Globe Rd. and Webb Rd. were deferred until more information could be obtained. Buschmann told the Countil there had been an economic study done and offered to email it to the Council before the March meeting.

Under New Business, they breezed through the first few items: not to proceed to Phase 2 of the TCRS plan for current city employees, adding the City to TN Achieves website, reappointment of Franklin Crigger to the Lewisburg Housing Authority Board for a 5-year term, use $350,000 in ARPA funds toward group medical insurance premiums, and Annual Pilot for Lewisburg Gas Department.

Next, Ordinance 24-04 was up for its first reading. It amends Ordinance 23-26 and approves budget amendments for the 2023-2024 budget – this removes the money that was budgeted to fund the position of Director of Economic Development until July 1, 2024. In other business, only one Director Report was given. Chief Scott Braden reported that the Lewisburg Police Department is eight officer short.

Burns made a motion to establish an Economic Development committee to review the job description and to identify goals and objectives of where the City wants to go in the future, consisting of one member from the Industrial Development Board and one member from the Community Development Board. Council Members that voted aye for the motion were: Parsons, Burns, and Bradford. Only Councilmember Michael opposed, so the motion passed. The meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

After the meeting adjourned, all four councilmembers agreed to serve on the committee. Eddie Wiles, Chairman of the Industrial Development Board and Edmund Roberts, Chairman of the Community Development Board both agreed to serve on the committee also. Burns said the committee would dissolve after meeting one or two times and achieving its stated purpose.

The Lewisburg City Council holds its regular session at 6:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the City Administration Building, 131 E. Church St. Citizens are welcome to attend and are always encouraged to contribute their opinions and suggestions. The Council’s work session is held the first Tuesday of the month at the same location at 5:00 p.m. Agendas and minutes of the monthly meetings are provided on their website. You can access the information above and more at