Zoning requests on agenda for pair of major projects

The leaders of two major projects will be seeking zoning changes at the same Brown County Area Plan Commission meeting this month: The Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center and the Hard Truth Hills development.

For the Maple Leaf, petitioner Barry Herring is asking for 13.74 acres to be rezoned from primary residential/floodplain to general business/floodplain. Chuck Snyder owns that land, but he’s agreed to sell it to the county for $2 million so that a new, 2,000-seat entertainment venue can be built on it. The land must be rezoned for that project to happen.

Organizers have said that the Maple Leaf — estimated at $10.2 million for the building, plus $2.3 million annually for operating costs — will be paid for by visitors, not by local taxpayers. The innkeepers tax is the revenue source.

Herring is a member of the Brown County Convention and Visitors Commission, a group of appointed volunteers who manage the innkeepers tax revenue. He also owns the Brown County Inn.

A schedule of which meetings other the project has to pass through before any work could begin has not been publicly released.

This is the current plan for the Maple Leaf land and surrounding area as of Aug. 10: Maple Leaf site 081017

The owners of the Big Woods family of companies also are asking for a zoning change from residential to general business.

They bought 231 acres of Firecracker Hill in June, next to the 94 acres they purchased in December. Their rezoning request is for 26.866 acres of it.

Company CEO Ed Ryan said in June that the development will be concentrated at the top of the hill, where some construction work is already visible from the intersection of Snyder Road and Old State Road 46. Plans show the vast majority of the land having no buildings on it.

According to that site plan, Hard Truth Hills is to contain a visitor center and small restaurant, an event center, separate brewery and distillery buildings, ponds and parking for employees and visitors. Existing logging paths would be used as trails for visitors to the complex to enjoy, Ryan said.

A public hearing on both rezoning requests will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22 at the County Office Building.

The Hard Truth Hills development also has a date before the Nashville Town Council. The town will host a public hearing on annexing the 231 acres into town at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14 at Town Hall.

The town doesn’t yet have a fiscal impact study on this property, which would show how taking in that much new acreage would affect the town in terms of increased assessed value and increased costs for services.

Residents near the Hard Truth Hills site received an unsigned letter in the mail at the end of July, urging them to attend the town council hearing about annexation.

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