Log in Subscribe
The Issue

Comprehensive plan a must

By ZOË WATKINS - zwatkins@t-g.com
Posted 3/11/23

It’s exactly what Bedford County needs at this moment: a vision for the future that’s cohesive and benefits the whole community. 

If you had asked me a couple years ago what a …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
The Issue

Comprehensive plan a must


It’s exactly what Bedford County needs at this moment: a vision for the future that’s cohesive and benefits the whole community. 

If you had asked me a couple years ago what a comprehensive plan is, I would have had a difficult time identifying what one truly is. 

However, after attending Tuesday night’s public input meeting for Bedford’s own comprehensive plan, it’s something I’m very excited about.  

If you read my front page article then you’ll know a comprehensive plan is essentially a 20-year zoning plan that creates a goal for how a community is going to grow.  

People are always going to sell and buy land from each other, but how can we ensure that those transactions and developments are done cohesively? 

It’s a complex issue the more you start thinking about it; developing a community affects more than just the person buying the land.  

Therefore, it’s going to take time.  

That’s why I was encouraged to hear that the zoning department had been working with Volkert, a planning and engineering consultant with more than 50 offices nationally, since before 2020 to try and establish a stable vision for Bedford.  

Together, they’ve been looking at what Bedford has and needs — whether it’s with roads, intersections, schools, housing.  

Doesn’t everyone have a different vision, though? 

Not really.  

I can confidently say everyone wants good roads, good school systems, low traffic, places to eat and shop, places to live that are affordable, and green space. 

Now where to put all that is the question, and it’s what a comprehensive plan will try to answer.  

When Melissa Peagler from Volkert showed a map of Bedford County during her presentation, I was encouraged by all the green space still on the map. Bedford has a lot to work with — and a lot to work around. For instance, no one wants to see a century farm be developed into something urban.  

But I think there’s a lot of potential and work that can happen in Shelbyville, in its outskirts, and in the downtowns of Wartrace, Normandy, and Bell Buckle.  

Concentrated growth allows for the green space to breathe in Bedford’s rural village areas — like Halls Mill, Wheel, Flat Creek, and the many pockets of rolling hills and forests people call home.  

I hope to encourage you to attend the meetings and give your thought-out input about how you want to see Bedford grow. Keep following the Times-Gazette for meeting announcements. In the meantime, input can be emailed to zoning@bedfordcountytn.org, or you can call 931-685-1336.  

 But even if Bedford grows acceptably, we’ll still lose history, right? 

Yes and no. Bedford will not look the same. No place has or will. 

The county’s initiative to “preserve” Bedford history through a documentary is a good start. They’re working with Navigation Advertising of Murfreesboro to create a historical documentary video of Bedford County. 

The owner of the company, Christian Hidalgo, is an award-winning producer of other historical documentaries including the history of Rutherford County. 

So, they’re looking for all kinds of memorabilia — small and big — to put together a documentary that will encompass a cohesive — there's that word again — history. Hildalgo will take the best of these stories, photographs, mementos, and include them in the documentary which would include an interview with the submitter. 

If you are interested in sharing your story or photographs, please send them to Bedford County Planning Department, 1 Public Square, Suite 300, Shelbyville.  

They can scan or copy photographs and documents for you. They ask to have your story or submittal items postmarked no later than March 31 to have them included in the plan. 

I was struck at Tuesday’s meeting when Hildalgo asked if people thought local history was being “lost.” Most people didn’t hesitate to raise their hands.  

We all feel this way, which is why it is so important to submit your content. That’s one reason why I’ve loved working for a relatively “small” paper in a relatively “small” town. It’s so much easier to meet people, hear their stories, and preserve them in the columns of our paper.