Creative Solutions: Keeping Local Land ‘Forever Wild’
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Jan. 21 special called meeting, the Monteagle Planning Commission approved subdividing a 350-acre tract that will enable Cooley’s Rift residents to assign restrictive covenants to the land to keep it “forever wild.” The commission first considered the request at the Jan. 4 meeting, but the plat presented failed to comply with Monteagle ordinances governing subdividing property.
The 350-acre tract adjoins the residential Cooley’s Rift development. The Cooley’s Rift developers offered the tract for sale for timbering. A group of Cooley’s Rift residents wanting to keep the property in its natural state decided to join together to buy the land so they could protect it with restrictive covenants. No one in the group could afford to buy the entire tract, so the property was subdivided into nine lots, explained Cooley’s Rift resident Pam Henning. Monteagle subdivision regulations require all lots to have access via a construction quality road, noted town planner Annya Shalun. All but one of the lots in the division proposed Jan. 4 would have had access through the land of the new property owner. One lot, however, was landlocked. [See Messenger, January 14, 2022].
At the Jan. 21 meeting, the group represented by Cooley’s Rift resident Eric Young presented a new solution. The landlocked tract was combined with another lot. Elaborating on the details, Henning said seven property owners would purchase tracts adjoining their properties, and the remaining tract, which had county road access, would be purchased jointly by the other 30 Cooley’s Rift residents in the group. The ultimate intent is to donate that tract to the Cooley’s Rift Home Owners Association, Young said. The restrictive covenants assigned to the 350 acres will guarantee the property remain in its natural state.