Improving the housing inventory crisis: Builders say city leaders need to approve more lots

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – There’s no doubt that there’s an inventory crisis in Middle Tennessee.

As builders struggle to provide housing inventory to meet the area’s needs, we’re learning it’s due in part to a shortage in available lots.

“It is stressful for sure, and it puts a lot of stress on the buyers,” James Carbine, president of Carbine & Associates said. “We’ve been eating up our inventory of lots for a number of years and it’s getting worse and worse.”

Some in the industry say the ability to develop lots is being hindered by city officials who are being pressured by residents to suppress growth. Without the lots it’s hard for builders to provide areas for more growth.

“There’s an attitude right now about slowing down growth when a lot of time that means slowing down houses; all things being considered, the ability to develop lots right now is being hindered by cities,” David McGowan with Regent Homes said.

We took the concerns to Franklin’s assistant city administrator to see how they’re handling their growth.

“We want to make sure we’re keeping up with infrastructure,” Vernon Gerth, Franklin’s Assistant City Administrator said. “There’s always debate.”

Charles Schneider with the Homebuilders Association of Middle Tennessee says planning commissions across Middle Tennessee need to approve new subdivisions to help with the inventory woes.

“We’re trying to put the brakes on maybe a short time solution, but generally it’s proven from a community development and economic development standpoint that it’s not a long term sustainable solution,” Gerth said, adding there are plenty of buildable lots, especially for detached single family homes. “People that develop in Franklin pay their proportionate share for the additional infrastructure we will need to maintain this desirable quality of life.”

“We’re trying to create an engaged conversation on how we grow as a community, and we invite opinions from each side of no growth to managed growth, and having managed growth in those discussions has proven to keep Franklin as a destination of choice for families and businesses.”

Franklin serves as a place to get away from the hustle and bustle. Gerth says some would like to keep it that way.

“In Franklin we have a very acclaimed downtown Main Street. It’s historic and the City of Franklin values history and we’re going to continue to have that,” Gerth said. “We look to engage in with the county; we already have looked at urban growth boundary that currently exists and can see how the growth trends over the last decade or two have been evolving or how we’re able to invest in infrastructure to try to keep up with that growth.

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