​University Releases Lots for Residential Construction

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
The University’s release of 10 lots for residential construction headlined the discussion at the Oct. 9 Sewanee Village Planning meeting. Questions concerning a proposed Pilates studio were also addressed.
“Plans originally called for release of 13 lots,” said Superintendent of Leases Sally Green, “but three lots at the top of Alabama Avenue were pulled for archeological research related to the Slavery Project.”
In an effort to address the employee housing shortage, the lots will be offered to full-time University employees first. After six months, if the lots remain unclaimed, the Lease Office will offer the lots to community members for primary residences.
Beginning the week of Oct. 15, not before, interested lessees may declare their interest at the Lease Office.
The time leading up to Oct. 15 has been set aside for gathering information so potential lessees can “make an informed decision,” Green said.
The lease office will assign lots on Oct. 22. If multiple parties declare interest in a lot, a drawing will be held.
The lots range from one-quarter acre to one acre in size and are randomly located throughout campus.
“It’s possible more lots may be released if these go,” Green speculated. Asked if existing leaseholds would be divided to create new lots, Green said, “That’s not what we intend to do. None of these lots were created in that way.”
As is the case in the Parson’s Green housing group, leases on these new lots can only be transferred to individuals who will use the home sites for primary residences. To qualify as a primary residence, the individual holding the lease must reside in the home nine months out of the year, Green explained.
Priority will be given to potential lessees who do not already have leaseholds. The University will offer financial incentives to employees who are first-time home builders. New lessees have one year to begin building. Some lots are within the downtown planning zone, and homes must conform to the Village Pattern Book architectural styles. On the two lots where sewer service is not available, septic systems will be allowed.
Contact the Lease Office for a map showing lot location and more information.
Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor Frank Gladu, who heads up the Village Planning project, addressed a number of questions regarding the Pilates studio instructor Kim Butters hopes to build on a newly-created downtown leasehold.
Gladu said he first began working with Butters to identify a location two and half years ago. Butters persuaded two leaseholders to give up vacant portions of their lease to create a lot for the studio.
“The land had to be surveyed, a new lease created, and the existing leases amended,” Green said. “It was May of 2018 by the time it was all approved.” The Lease Committee also needed to amend the commercial lease clause to accommodate Butters’ proposed project.
Butters’ architect submitted a schematic design on Sept. 21.
“The design is under review by the town planner, Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative, to gauge adherence to TPUDC’s Pattern Book criteria,” Gladu said. The next step is approval by the Lease Committee; then construction can begin. Gladu predicted the project would go before the Lease Committee before the end of the year.
“The Lease Committee has said it will approve what the town planner approves,” Green said.
The Lease Committee previously approved the Pattern Book criteria, Gladu explained.
In the event a design doesn’t conform to the Pattern Book guidelines, adjustments can be made, Gladu said. Special circumstances may be taken into consideration.
Asked about parking for the studio and nearby buildings, Gladu said county planning commission parking requirements had to be followed, but parking specifics couldn’t be determined until the building’s footprint was known.

For more information, go to the Sewanee Village website at www.sewanee.edu/village.