Affordable Housing in Williamson County Hurt by Current Real Estate Market

Whispering Winds Fairview/Community Housing Partnership of Williamson County Facebook

Mayors from all over Williamson County recently addressed the issue of affordable housing in the county and their respective cities. Some of the cities are working to try to find ways to provide housing to low- and middle-income workers and others have come across hurdles such as the rising cost of land, increased cost of building, and in some cases sacrosanct zoning regulations.

“Several years ago, we came up with a plan for a range of housing options,” said Thompson’s Station Mayor Corey Napier. “Unfortunately, construction costs rose and the market changed. But we will continue to try to engage diverse housing prices.” Spring Hill is suffering from the same issue.

While Thompson’s Station and Spring Hill are currently stalled on the issue, Franklin created a set of land use guidelines a number of years ago called Envision Franklin. This document includes stipulations for low- and middle-income housing. Franklin Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity, and the Community Housing Partnership are working together and individually on different projects to address the issue.

In Franklin, some of this additional affordable housing is coming from the redevelopment of current low-income housing to make better use of the property by tearing down the old and building more units on one piece of land, such as they are doing near Jim Warren Park. There, 72 old units are being torn down and 100 new multi-family apartment units and townhomes will take their place. According to an article in the Williamson Herald, “The townhomes and multifamily units will range in size from one to five bedrooms on a 7.5-acre plot of land, with an area for a park included and proximity to public transportation.”

In east Franklin off Wood Duck Court, Community Housing Partnership is building a 237-unit condominium complex with one and two-bedroom units. The complex will be comprised of eight four-story buildings.

Affordable housing is also a part of the Brownland Farms development proposal. It will offer 136 apartment homes in two-story buildings designed to fit in with the rest of the neighborhood.

“Franklin Housing Authority is currently working with other members of Hill LLC to develop affordable housing units on the Hill property off Hillsboro Road by Sonic,” according to Franklin Mayor, Ken Moore. Hill LLC is a coalition comprised of the Williamson County Community Housing Partnership, Habitat for Humanity of Maury and Williamson County, Hard Bargain Association and the Franklin Housing Authority.

According to Moore, Habitat is being challenged by soaring property prices as they try to continue their mission in the county of building affordable no-interest homes.

Fairview, which has the highest poverty rate in the county, is also working hard to provide its citizens with low-income housing. Whispering Winds, a 14-home development provided by Community Housing Partnership of Williamson County, is helping to address the issue there. Located off of Cumberland Drive on beautiful wooded lots, the development will offer three-bedroom, two-bath craftsman-style homes. They broke ground summer of 2020.

While the government understands there is a lack of affordable housing, Nolensville struggles with balancing affordable housing with the single-family home community that residents have come to expect.

Brentwood Mayor Rhea Little said that with its one home per acre mandate, he sees no efforts for affordable housing likely to occur there in the foreseeable future.

“While we once had homes that were in the $200,000 range,” said Little, “that is a thing of the past. We have 130 to 170 new home building permits per year, and the cost of an acre of land starts at $750,000.”

Since the 1980s, Williamson County has exploded in population because of the great quality of life that County Mayor Rogers Anderson often notes. But this quality has caused a supply and demand problem, and that has increased during the last year due to the pandemic. It has caused housing prices to soar. In July alone, according to rockethomes.com, average home prices in the county increased by more than 14%.

Many of the people who work in Williamson County in restaurants and shops, or even teach in the schools, can no longer afford to live there and often commute.

Anderson noted that it is going to take partnerships working together to solve the problem. He notes that there are ways that government can help lessen the burned of impact and other fees, but it will also mean working with electric and utility companies, as well as developers, non-profits, and other local businesses to come together and make affordable housing a reality throughout the county.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Brentwood Mayor has the best interest of his City in mind. God Bless him! Just wait a couple more years after Franklin brings in more low-income housing into this area, not only will you have more crime, you will have more CRIME, not to mention increased traffic, etc! We work hard to afford homes in areas such as these in order to send our children to better schools. Low-income housing brings problems to neighborhoods and SCHOOLS! Did anyone bother to research the results of low-income housing after they’ve been added to affluent communities? I have as I’ve lived in cities where low-incoming housing had been added and what it created in schools and neighborhoods could not be undone! Once the area turns to crap because of AHC, you can’t go back and undo it. If you can’t afford to live in Franklin, you don’t live in Franklin, or any other city that you CAN’T AFFORD to live in! The American dream of owning a home did not come from someone lowering the housing prices, in expensive neighborhoods, so you can live there. The American Dream came from working hard and EARNING the right to live in those areas. It gave you a sense of accomplishments and pride of ownership. These days, the less you do the more you are rewarded! How the hell did this happen?

  2. Mayor Anderson gets absolutely NO credit for the “great quality of life” here in Williamson county. It was great before he moved here, because it is set in an idyllically beautiful place that had not been absolutely covered in concrete. But he’s working hard to remedy that, at which time the great quality of life in Williamson County will be a thing of the past. And for that, mayor Anderson will have much of the credit. If our local governments are scratching their heads wondering where all this new real estate demand is coming from, they should go back and check the policies which THEY made that courted the businesses from out of state to come in and take residence here. So much of what has been done by our local governments have been done for “future residents”, in order to widen the tax base, people who are not residents yet. This does not benefit their constituents! Those who have lived here their entire lives, raised children here and paid taxes here to make it what it already is, and unfortunately, those who can hardly afford to live here anymore. mayor Anderson said recently in this publication
    “people come here for the quality of life, and we need to give it to them.”
    This makes absolutely no sense on any level. He would not apply this same reasoning in his own home or business so why on earth would he apply this reasoning to the current taxpayers.
    Just because somebody wants to come here, doesn’t mean I have to pay for it. And no, I would not Willingly pay more in taxes to give others what I have curated, Even if I could afford to.
    The benefactors of these kinds of unsound policies reap the benefits of the new policies, while we’re left holding a higher tax bill. If government is enacted to protect the people, why are we not protected from this great influx of people that created this housing problem?

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