The previously denied plan for Woodlands Subdivision Phase II has received new life thanks to a Nov. 19 vote of the Tullahoma Municipal Regional Planning Commission.

The preliminary plat for the second phase of the subdivision was denied last month in a 3-2 vote. That decision was revisited this month, resulting in a 5-1 approval with a contingency that the developer add a second entrance along Riley Creek Road.

According to City Administrator Jennifer Moody, the plat was reconsidered to avoid potential legal problems with the October vote.

According to Moody, because the last month’s motion to deny approval, made by commissioner Ray Knowis, did not contain an evidence-based reason for that denial, the motion itself was potentially illegal. By having a stated reason for denial in this month’s re-vote, any legal consequences could be avoided.


Contingencies added

Although the plat was approved, the commission members told land surveyor Andy Best that in order to move forward, his client, developer Curl Construction & Excavating, would need to have him redraw the proposed subdivision plan to add a second entrance on Riley Creek Road.

This move came after discovering the proposed subdivision, as it was presented both times to the commission, was in violation of newly approved subdivision regulations.

The regulations in question, according to Planning and Codes Director Lee Lawson, state that any new subdivisions in the city limits must have two points of ingress and egress.

The new regulations were approved in June of this year and took effect this July, according to Moody.

Because the subdivision was platted after the new regulations were imposed, the currently planned single-entrance subdivision cannot be recommended for approval by city staff, Moody said.

“We can only recommend approval that is in compliance with the subdivision regulations and zoning ordinance in front of us, and it was discovered that this wasn’t in compliance, and we have an obligation to tell you when there’s a conflict between what’s been presented and what’s in the subdivision regulations,” she said during the meeting.


Possible exceptions

Best told the board he disagreed with the new rule, citing the numerous existing subdivisions which only have one point of entry or exit.

“I feel that that makes a community more of a community, instead of a cut-through,” Best told the commission.

By having two entrances into the subdivision, he said, “I think that people are going to be avoiding that intersection – that Y intersection [at Ovoca and Riley Creek roads] – by cutting through this subdivision at a high rate of speed.”

Instead, he said, the board should alter the rule to make it a case-by-case basis, depending on the existing traffic patterns throughout the city.

While the new regulations dictate all subdivisions must have two entrances, there are two exceptions to that rule, according to Chairman Larry Crabtree.

He told Best that if there was “limited road frontage” or a topographical issue that prevented two entrances, the plat could be approved as submitted.

When asked if either of those two situations applied to the Woodlands, Best responded in the negative.

“At this point there is not,” he said to Crabtree. “On this project there is not limited road frontage, and topography does not restrict that. But again, I disagree with that rule.”

Despite Best’s objections, however, the board approved the plat with the two-entrance stipulation.

Knowis was the only dissenting vote.  Commissioner Scott Gregory was absent and did not vote.

Erin McCullough may be reached at