Proposed ordinance would give Commission greater design review authority

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By Bill Short

The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed an ordinance on final reading this week that gives the Planning Commission greater authority over design review.

Board members took the action Monday afternoon during a special called meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Bethany Huffman and seconded by Alderman Don Lowry.

The motion was passed by six affirmative votes, with Alderman Al Bell absent.

The ordinance was unanimously passed on first reading at the board’s Oct. 11 regular monthly meeting.

It amends Chapter 12, Section 14-1201(3) of the Millington Zoning Ordinance, which previously gave the Planning Commission the authority to review the designs of only retail buildings.

But the Tennessee General Assembly has enacted Title 6-54-133, which allows a municipality’s governing body to designate its planning commission as a Design Review Commission with the authority to develop “general guidelines” for:

(1) the exterior of non-residential property,

(2) multiple-family residential property and

(3) any entrance to a non-residential development.

So, the new ordinance gives the city’s Planning Commission that designation and authority. It also allows any property owner who is affected by those guidelines to appeal a DRC decision to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The ordinance notes that the “appearance and character” of open spaces, buildings and structures visible from public streets:

(1) have a “material and substantial relationship” to the values of property within the city; and

(2) are important in maintaining the “aesthetic beauty” of the community, as well as in preserving and promoting “high-quality” design standards.