Tractor Convoy & Industrial Park Protestors Get Win At Planning Commission

Image Credit: No Industrial Park / Facebook

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

Protesters against a proposed industrial park who participated in a tractor convoy on Friday morning left Wilson County’s planning commission meeting with a win.

Nearly 40 tractors gathered early Friday at the James E. Ward Agricultural Fairgrounds in Lebanon, Tennessee, with some of them staged Thursday night, before making their way to the Wilson County Courthouse with the Sheriff’s department as an escort.

Many trucks followed in the parade with local business Absolute Kubota joining in with a few tractors also as the convoy headed to the Lebanon downtown square, ending up on East Main Street where fellow residents met them with signs of support.

Organizers of the protest called No Industrial Park have obtained almost 500 signatures on a petition opposing the plans of a development company based out of Texas with ties to the Perot family. Hillwood, whose chairman is Ross Perot Jr., proposes the rezoning of 1,400 acres of farmland in order to turn it into an industrial park.

Hillwood brought their plans to the planning commission for a rezone and land use plan amendment. With the planning commission’s permission, Hillwood proposes creating 10.35 million square feet of industrial style offices, warehouses, and light manufacturing spaces. Included in the proposal also is a retail mix in the northwest corner of the eastern Wilson County property, off Interstate 40 near the Linwood Road exit, and a conservation easement of 265 acres.

According to the plans, at least 11 buildings of varying sizes have been proposed, the smallest at 300,000 square feet and the largest at 1.2 million square feet.

Last week, No Industrial Park spokesman Michael Swope told The Tennessee Conservative that Hillwood’s plan to create the largest industrial complex ever to be built in Wilson County did not fit the community, as the property is surrounded by working farms. Many of the farmers who took part in the tractor parade on Friday morning were hard at work the previous day bailing hay on their farms that back up to the proposed site.

The site, currently owned by a land investment group, is spread across two commission districts represented by Commissioners Chris Dowell and Terry Scruggs. Dowel has stated that his constituents are vehemently opposed to Hillwood’s plan. 

Less than 10 miles from Lebanon, the property has a lack of public water available for the project and would need improvements to the existing public water infrastructure. As a result, Hillwood had agreed to install several miles of water lines as part of their proposal giving the added benefit of providing public water access to 50 properties along Linwood, Bluebird, and Bobo roads that currently rely on springs and wells.

After hearing from constituents who spoke both for Hillwood and against, the commission voted to deny the rezoning request. However, this does not kill the project entirely.

According to Development Services Director Tom Brashear, Hillwood can appeal to his office within 10 days in writing. After a 35 days waiting period, a public hearing notice would be advertised 10 days before the County Commission meets to consider the planning commission’s negative recommendation.

Watch the planning commission video below:

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at paula@tennesseeconservativenews.com.

2 thoughts on “Tractor Convoy & Industrial Park Protestors Get Win At Planning Commission

  • June 24, 2024 at 5:50 pm
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    Way to go farmers of Wilson County. Let’s hope you inspire many to get off the couch and get rolling!

    Reply
  • June 24, 2024 at 10:21 pm
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    Fight twice as hard the next time, the battle isn’t over yet! 👊🏻 We CAN win!

    Reply

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