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Letter to the Editor: We must continue to fight to protect our rural landscapes

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To the editor,

I have been attending county commission meetings since the mid-’80s.  

I was called to action then to stop a dense residential development near the Old Natchez Trace.  

Back then, we heard the “growth is good” mantra. No one really questioned it, but now we know that residential development does not pay for itself. Taxpayers pay for it while developers profit.

Our tax dollars build schools, widen rural roads and provide the necessary infrastructure dense subdivisions require. The county debt is over $700 million. This is why county officials initiated the Williamson2040 comprehensive land-use plan.  

County planners and consultants engaged the community in numerous seminars and public hearings to bring forth solutions to the runaway growth wrecking our rural landscapes.   

The highly successful economic development engine of Williamson County is fueled by a town-and-country lifestyle. In order to keep that engine running smoothly for us and future generations, the vanishing rural landscapes must be protected and preserved.  

To do that, they created a town-and-country land-use plan, zoning the unincorporated county to one house to every 5 acres. They held public meetings to show how much money the county will not have to spend if density is reduced.  

The Planning Commission and County Commission adopted this visionary plan in March. Then the pandemic hit. Even under COVID-19, the plan moved forward with an abundance of caution for everyone’s safety.  

History was made Nov. 9, when the County Commission met to adopt the Williamson 2040 plan. I am overwhelmingly grateful to county officials and staff for their tireless efforts with this monumental endeavor. 

The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. today at the county administrative complex regarding the high-density Hooker subdivision on the Natchez Trace Historic Rural Landscape on Vaughn and Sneed Roads.  

Since March, when the land-use plan was approved but the new zoning not yet attached, landowners have used transitional rules in the Williamson2040 plan to push high-density developments in as fast as they could. There also is a public hearing on the Reed’s Vale subdivision on Lampkins Bridge Road.

Alice Hooker died last year. She was known for her love of community and conservation of the land.  She was honored by the Land Trust for Tennessee in 2019 as one of its “visionary leaders.”

Her daughter and two sons are orchestrating a plan to create 147 lots on 175 acres of scenic, historic, culturally significant and environmentally sensitive land.  

While fighting against this disastrous project, I learned from 1935 National Park Service maps that some of the original roadbed of the 1801 Natchez Trace is part of Vaughn Road. Other parts of the original roadbed are on a neighbor’s property as well as the Hooker property.  

County residents have been joining forces to fight against intense residential density on rural landscapes. Property owners’ rights end where taxpayers’ pocketbooks begin. Our efforts are effective, and we are united.  We want rural preservation, not density devastation.  

To act locally and let your voice be heard, you can reach all 24 county commissioners at and the planning commissioners at

Laura Turner

Citizens for Old Natchez Trace


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