by Adam Ghassemi
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Jamie Fox moved to the Meadows of Hearthstone subdivision a few months ago, but said she had no idea her family's new safe haven was being threatened.
"I moved here thinking this was going to be a quiet neighborhood. It's tucked away,” she said Tuesday while trying to keep track of her 2-year-old daughter. "Who's going to be responsible for our little ones being run over, or teenage boys or teenage girls being run over?”
Her problem is what could be on Kennedy Lane, which is the only way in and out of her neighborhood. A now wooded lot could soon become home to a bar called “Privileged Nightclub,” according to city officials.
Kennedy Lane ties into an already congested area where Wilma Rudolph Boulevard intersects with I-24 at Exit 4. The area has seen recent development with the addition of Chick-fil-A and Chipotle.
"We're going to be at risk. That's our concern,” said fellow neighbor Rich Del Sesto.
Del Sesto said they understand the property is zoned commercial. A hotel already stands two parcels down. He said one incident at the bar could leave family after family cutoff.
"Fire crews, rescue crews come and respond. The road shuts down. If there's another emergency beyond that they can't get to us,” he said.
The proposed bar owner, Greg Parbs, also owns O’Connors Irish Pub on Tylertown Road near I-24 and Exit 1. Parbs did not return calls for comment Tuesday.
Del Sesto said they don't want to keep the business from operating, but don't believe it belongs so close to families.
"We understand that the builder wants to build a building. The nightclub owner wants to own a nightclub. Nobody is disparaging either party in that regard. It's just a terrible location,” Del Sesto said.
Dr. David Ripple with the Clarksville-Montgomery County Regional Planning Commission said he signed off on the project Tuesday because it met all zoning and other requirements. Ripple said current zoning forbids "Privileged Nightclub" from having adult entertainment, which has been a concern of some neighbors.
The property is in Councilman Jeff Buckhart’s ward. He said by phone the parcel has been zoned commercial since 1974, and the only way to curtail the project would be through traffic safety concerns.
A spokeswoman with Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan’s office said they shared that with residents last winter and agreed to conduct a traffic study along Kennedy Lane. The results will be shared Friday morning.
Fox said regardless of what the study reveals, they want "Privileged Nightclub" to know it’s not welcomed so close.
"We're going to fight. I mean at this point we're going to fight. We haven't given up,” she said.