Two Farms Developer Eyes February Approval

an earlier version of this post had Joe Cosentini Thompson’s Stations city administrator’s name incorrect

The proposal for the biggest residential development ever in Thompson’s Station is, after some flailing and much water treading, coming along swimmingly.

Beacon Land Development has plans to turn 2,000 acres in northern Thompson’s Station into Two Farms, a $150 million development that will include about 800 homes, a health center and an 18-hole golf course possibly designed by Tiger Woods.

“Our hopes are that there will be a staff recommendation and first reading in the February Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting,” Mike Abbott, representing Beacon, said. “If not then, then definitely there will be a March reading.”

The project has been through more than a year of ups-and-downs. But lately things have been looking up.

A little history . . .

First, Thompson’s Station had to annex the land, which it did at the end of 2015. Then in January 2016 the Board of Mayor and Alderman, at Beacon Land Development’s request, rezoned it to a Transect Community. Transect Community zoning allows mixed-use projects, like Two Farms.

Trouble began brewing, as citizens — most famous among them the Judd family — rallied against the project. Then, in the summer of 2016, the county contested part of the annexation.

That part was the 700-acre Eagle’s Rest Farm owned by Gary and Portia Baker, at 1350 King Lane. As the only part of the 1,917-acre annexation that lay outside the Urban Growth Boundary set by the town and the county, it needed to be approved by a vote of the affected property owners. It had not been, and was therefore null and void.

So the county contended. Some commissioners were vocally looking for a way to stop the Two Farms project; also to avoid a precedent of municipal land-grabbing.

In July the county commision even gave Mayor Rogers Anderson power to enter into a lawsuit against Thompson’s Station for illegally annexing the land. The rezoning was retracted.

In October, Thompson’s Station called a referendum for Dec. 9. The Bakers, as the state statute governing these types of situations allowed, were the only two qualified voters. In a dictionary-worthy showing of anti-climax, the measure to give the land to Thompson’s Station passed 2-0.

The Bakers had voted early.

The rezoning and planning process, which started at the end of 2015 with the original annexation, has come nearly full circle.

Beacon now needs to ask again for the rezoning.

“Since the referendum passed we are in the process of really going back through the zoning process,” Abbott said. “We will be sending in a concept plan like in the past to city for review and that will be read and there will be two public reading of that and hopefully it will go through as it did before. That is when the real work starts.”

The first concept plan, submitted last year minus a golf course, was for 1,223 acres. Most of it, 61 percent, is open space.

The Thompson’s Station Board of Mayor and Aldermen also made sure the development would create assets for the community.

The conditions attached to its approval were:

1. An acceptable school building site must be identified and dedicated from within the annexed area
2. An acceptable public safety building must be identified and dedicated from within the annexed area
3. All proposed trails within the community must be made to allow for future connections to the public trail system
4. The wastewater treatment facility must be located in an area at least 1,000 feet away from any existing adjacent residential structure
5. All off site infrastructure improvements necessary to serve this project will be paid for entirely by the applicant

City Administrator Joe Cosentini has said that the process will be similar to last time.

They have to go through the whole process again, he said.