August 03, 2015

Boyle Official Tries to Ease Fears of C’ville Residents on Development

By Kevin McKenzie
– The Commercial Appeal –

To the residents of Natchez Street in Collierville: Doug Dickens heard you, and he doesn’t want to connect a scaled-down, new planned development to your street.

That’s one of two central messages that Dickens, vice president of Boyle Investment Co., is sending with an application to the town for the proposed Washington Gates Planned Development.

During the summer, residents’ opposition to a connection to the historic Collierville street helped sink Dickens’ proposed Natchez Planned Development.

That plan for an in-fill subdivision included 27 lots between Poplar on the north and Washington on the south.

Dickens said he gleaned two major lessons after the town Board of Mayor and Aldermen in August turned down a rezoning request that the Natchez development needed.

“No. 1, we have no proposed ingress and egress on Natchez Street,” he said.

“The other issue was density along Washington Street. We have modified that as well, and gone from eight units on Washington to five.”Washington Gates drops about two acres that Natchez had included along Poplar, Dickens said. It is scaled back to less than 51/2 acres on the north side of Washington and east of Mt. Pleasant.

In a move sure to please tree-friendly Mayor Linda Kerley, Dickens said his new proposal preserves tree lines along Washington, the proposed development’s perimeter and a stream or creek on the property to create a feeling of age.

On his previous try, the project tried to create that old-time feeling by massing eight houses along Washington sporting the architecture of a Southern railroad town of the 1850s to 1900s, like old Collierville.

The Washington Gates development proposes lots for 16 single-family residential homes, ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 square feet for five houses along Washington and larger, about 3,000 to 4,000 square feet, in the interior, Dickens said.

He estimated that the cost of the houses, required to maintain historic architecture, could range from about $375,000 to $750,000.

He’ll be asking the town’s Planning Commission to rezone the property, owned by the Walter Owens family, to high-density from low-density residential. He’ll also be asking for approval of a planned development, all tentatively in January.

The proposal includes a private road with access from Washington. And its warm and fuzzy features would include a tiered fountain and an outdoor conversation fire pit.

Dickens said he’s been crafting in-fill developments in neighborhoods from Downtown Memphis to Collierville for 30 years.

He contends Washington Gates is the kind of residential development that will help supply Collierville’s historic Town Square area with people who can walk there. “It needs residential rooftops that can support it,” Dickens said.

Hampton Parr, one resident of Natchez Street, liked what he’d heard.

“I don’t know all of the details, but I think it would be great for downtown Collierville,” Parr said.