Plans to build an outdoor sports outfitter facility and event space on Old State Road 46 received approval from the Nashville Development Review Commission earlier this month.

The request was for a maintenance building and two retail buildings to be built on a 71.6-acre parcel owned by Stephen Alexander. One will house an outdoor sports outfitter and the other will be used as an events venue.

Architectural project manager Eric Muehlhausen at the Nashville Technical Review Committee meeting on Nov. 4 that changes had been made to the original plans for a proposed luxury RV campground that were presented to the Brown County Board of Zoning Appeals in October.

The request was denied by the BZA unanimously due to concerns about traffic, sewer connectivity and flooding in the area.

The project’s proposal includes a lift station on the property that will connect to a lift station near Parkview Church of the Nazarene and flow into the town’s sewer system.

At the November meeting, Muehlhausen the RV campground is no longer planned for the property, but retail buildings were “still relevant” to what Alexander wished to do.

A driveway will lead to the 3,700- and 4,000-square-foot buildings with parking available on the property. The location of the driveway was moved further south of the hill on Old State Road 46 due to the high amount of traffic coming off the hill heading towards Clay Lick Road from Nashville. The new entrance will be halfway between the bottom of the hill and the bridge over Salt Creek. All buildings are north of the creek.

The developers presented traditional farmhouse designs for the buildings, which are to be built with brown board-and-batten-type metal siding and red metal roofs. There will be a decorative tower on-site to contribute to an “old farm-type feel,” Alexander said.

“We tend to be naturalists, try to fit into neighborhoods,” Alexander said at the DRC meeting on Dec. 7.

The theme they are working with is a rural farming community with a “historic kind of presentation,” Alexander said.

The purpose of the tower is purely decorative, Muehlhausen said.

“Want to make it a nice natural experience for visitors,” he said.

The 55-foot tall structure will not be lit except for a glowing light in its windows. People will not be able to go inside it.

“What we’re doing is creating a farm village kind of concept,” Alexander said. “When our customers come to visit and plan their events they see the concept of a country village setting.”

Due to the project area being in the floodplain, pads for all of the buildings will be filled to bring them up 2 feet above the 100-year flood levels. Buildings can be built on stilts, like buildings in coastal regions of the country, according to the presentation.

There will also be a pool on the property, but plans for it are not fully developed at this point. It will be with the second retail building that will be for event space.

The property is located within town limits and is zoned business (B3), which is a service and warehouse business use designation. Under that zoning all general business uses are allowed along with a commercial parking structure, car sales room, storage warehouse, filling station and tourist home, according to the town’s zoning ordinance.

The TRC reviewed the project in November and made a recommendation to the DRC who approved it on Dec. 14.

Nature programs and trails were highlighted as a part of the project, with walking trails and a potential connection to the Salt Creek Trail at State Road 46 East.

Alexander and his team have been working with Matt Herkhof from Hoosier Aquatic to help with nature habitats and “pools” to enhance wildlife in the creek and on the property, Alexander said.

A naturalist has also been hired to help develop landscaping.

Herkhof had Alexander and his team apply for a Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) grant from DNR. The noncompetitive grant would allow them to construct pool areas for aquatic life and stream bank stabilization and other efforts to promote wildlife and fishing in Salt Creek, Alexander said.

Part of their LARE grant proposal is to redirect Clay Lick Creek’s flow into Salt Creek, which Alexander and his team would help with flooding in the area.

Clay Lick Creek intersects Salt Creek at a “negative intersection” and water from Clay Lick flows “head on” into the southern flow of Salt Creek, Alexander said.

“They’re fighting each other when we get into a storm situation,” he said.

The parking lot they proposed will also be made of asphalt with filtration beds to disperse floodwater.

Concerns from neighbors

Neighbors to the proposed project have attended every meeting this project has been discussed. They were also in attendance at the DRC meeting where they further expressed concern about how developing the property could affect flooding in the area.

Neighbor JoAnne Himebaugh said she hopes to see Alexander and his team get a floodplain analysis to see what sort of impact there may be.

“It’s really important,” she said. “There’s a little checklist the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) puts out that says if you are doing construction in a floodway, you should have a construction and floodway permit, you should have a floodway analysis and regulator assessment. It stimulates an encroachment on how displaced water on impermeable surfaces in a floodway, how that’s going to affect (surrounding areas).”

Himebaugh described Nashville “a river town,” surrounded by multiple flowing water sources. The Alexander property itself she said is a “little wetland woodland.”

“Because of its topography, the hills come down and it does exactly what a wetland should do, it holds water,” she said.

“So, when we have rain, the water comes down in that area and it mitigates floodwater from homes and coming into town here. Because of the construction of (State Road) 46, it’s very unique and really important that we look to protect that.”

Himebaugh’s five-acre property is adjacent to the southeast corner of Alexander’s property.

At the TRC meeting in November, Himebaugh said her family had been there for 18 years. In that time, they’ve seen three 100-year floods and one 500-year flood. She is concerned the development may cause floodwaters to come closer to their home.

Planning director and county floodplain manager Chris Ritzmann at the November TRC meeting that since the project is in the floodplain, Alexander and his team will be required to get floodplain permits to build.

At the meeting earlier this month, Alexander and his team have not yet sought approval from DNR to construct in the floodway and floodway fringe.

Concerns were also expressed for any customers who may be on the property during a storm when flooding could occur.

DRC member Jocelyn Hawkins said Alexander and his team have to follow all permits regarding floodways before the project can be done.

“This board is just to basically approve the structure of the buildings,” she said.

Hawkins said that they would require draining around the parking lot that would take away and disperse water.

Town administrator Phyllis Carr said that applications can be done contingent upon all necessary approvals.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Muehlhausen said.