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Sidewalk to Houston High will remain open to public


A request from a Collierville Homeowner’s Association to privatize a sidewalk connecting the Dogwood Gardens neighborhood to Houston High School has been denied by the town’s Planning Commission.

The 88-lot single family residential neighborhood was created in 1996 and borders Germantown’s high school to the east.

Commissioners said legal concerns prevented them from making the public pedestrian easement a private sidewalk.

The easement currently allows pedestrian access to Houston High from the public sidewalk system in the Dogwood Gardens neighborhood.

However, neighbors say that the creation of the Collierville Municipal School District in 2013 eliminates a need for foot traffic going to the high school, which is now part of the Germantown Municipal School District.

The Dogwood Gardens neighborhood is now zoned for Collierville High School but there are some families within the neighborhood that were granted general transfers to send their children to Houston.

The Homeowner’s Association recently installed a gate over the public sidewalk. However, this currently violates Town Code.

The association was notified in January that the pedestrian easement is public and that gating a public sidewalk is a violation.

Specifically, § 92.06 states that “it shall be unlawful for any person owning or occupying property to allow any gate…over any…sidewalk.”

Since then, the Homeowner’s Association has asked that the easement for the sidewalk be converted to a private easement.

Dogwood Gardens Homeowner’s Association President Kaleb Reed cited increased traffic, trespassing and littering as reasons for gating the sidewalk and also for asking that the pedestrian easement be changed from public to private.

“Parents of Houston High students use our neighborhood as a shortcut to access the sidewalk with little regard to private property or traffic laws,” Reed said. “Cars routinely speed through our neighborhood to get to the sidewalk to drop off students. We also have cars lining our streets every morning and afternoon.”

Residents of the Houston Estates and Hughes Creek Estates subdivisions signed a petition opposing the request to make the sidewalk private. The petition states that the sidewalk should be open permanently “for adjoining neighborhoods to have access to the high school and park.”

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