Mayor Jamie Clary appointed two new members to the Hendersonville Regional Planning Commission this month while not renewing the terms of long-time members David Jenkins and Darlene Stringfellow.
The two new members, Hendersonville residents John Evans and Wendy Slatery, were introduced during the Jan. 4 planning commission meeting. Later during the meeting, Jenkins and Stringfellow, who were not in attendance, were thanked for their service to the city.
Jenkins, an Assemblies of God pastor, had been a member of the planning commission since 2005. Stringfellow, who retired recently from the Tennessee Department of Human Services, was appointed in 2011. Their last three-year terms ended in December.
The 10-member body meets twice a month and, with the city’s planning staff, makes recommendations to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on planning issues like land use, transportation and zoning changes.
Nine members are appointed by the mayor and the 10th member is a city alderman elected by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Ward 2 Alderman Lee Peterson is currently serving in that position.
Clary said that Jenkins and Stringfellow served the city well.
They are the last two members of the planning commission who were appointed by former Mayor Scott Foster. Clary was first elected in 2016 and was re-elected in 2020.
“They did nothing wrong,” said Clary. “I just wanted new perspectives like I’ve done with my appointments for the past five years.”
Evans owns his own insurance underwriting company and had previous political experience before moving here from Arkansas.
“John is the former mayor of a city in Arkansas, a local business owner, and has shown great interest in how Hendersonville continues to grow,” said Clary.
Like Jenkins, Evans lives on the Walton Ferry/Sanders Ferry peninsula, Clary noted.
Clary said he named Slatery to the Citizen Redistricting Committee after she contacted him about serving the city.
Clary said he was impressed with the way Slatery, who works from home for a medical equipment company, handled herself on the committee.
“There were times in that committee when someone made a point that disagreed with her, but they all came to a reasonable solution,” said Clary.
A resident of Hendersonville for six years, Slatery brings the perspective of someone recently new to the city, Clary added.
“These people wouldn’t be on there if I didn’t think they reflect the values of the people of Hendersonville,” he said.
And what are those values?
Clary says that in general residents tell him they want more offices, nice restaurants and retailers, and are opposed to high density projects.
“Buildings need to reflect higher standards here than in other communities,” he said. “And we need to consider the negative impact everything new has on things like traffic and drainage.”
Jenkins said he had a front seat to the growth the city has experienced in the last 16 years.
From Indian Lake Village, a 400-acre mixed-use development on one part of town to the recently approved Music City Studios in the Free Hill Business Park, Jenkins has helped shaped that growth.
“It’s been a privilege. It’s been a joy,” he said.
He said the first meeting he attended in 2005, they were discussing how many shops were coming to the Streets of Indian Lake.
“We all knew Hendersonville was poised for growth,” he said. “It’s just deciding what kind of growth the city wants.”
Jenkins said he expects the city’s planning department to stay busy.
“The question is how do we continue to facilitate growth and at the same time honor what the citizens want – that’s a hard tightrope to walk,” he said.
Jeff Coker, the president of a local insurance company, will replace Jenkins as the planning body’s chairman. Coker was appointed to the commission in March of 2021.
Members also voted on Jan. 4 to name Tim Altizer its vice chair. Vanessa Silkwood will serve as secretary, and Charles Hasty will serve as vice secretary.