Commission approves Mixed Use Planned Development; recommends zoning change

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By Bill Short

The Millington Municipal Planning Commission has approved a proposed Mixed Use Planned Development and recommended a zoning change from commercial to residential.
Commission members took the actions on separate motions during their Feb. 17 regular monthly meeting. Each motion was passed by five affirmative votes, with Brenda Barber and Mayor Terry Jones absent.
The MUPD will be located on 103.7 acres east of the Shoppes of Millington Farms and Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse.
Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, said the purpose of an MUPD is to provide the “means and guidelines” regarding which tracts of land may be developed using a “unified” approach instead of a traditional lot-by-lot development.
He noted that an MUPD contains a variety of residential uses, along with certain approved commercial, office and light industrial uses.
In the Millington Zoning Ordinance, an MUPD is an “overlay” zone that is laid on top of existing zoning districts. But no use is permitted in the MUPD that is not allowed in the underlying district.
So, Goforth said the 39.36 acres on which apartment units will be constructed must be re-zoned from B-2, General Commercial, to R-4, Multi-Family Residential.
He noted that the MUPD includes a General Plan showing how the development will occur and where everything will be located.
A Phasing Plan, showing when certain sections will be developed, includes the number of apartment units that will be constructed.
A Landscaping Plan includes screens that are consistent with the Veterans Parkway overlay.
There is also a General Conceptual Utility Plan and a Grading and Drainage Plan.
Goforth said Phases 1 and 2 will consist of 408 apartment units, and Phases 3-5 will be General Commercial uses.
Phase 6 will be a senior care facility, and Phases 7-12 are uses permitted “by right” in B-2 zoning.
Phase 13 will be for open space and stormwater detention.
Goforth said the MUPD must conform to all the regulations in the Zoning Ordinance for Veterans Parkway.
He noted that “access and circulation” will be based on what is approved in the Site Plan, unless it is modified by the commission.
Signs, parking and loading will have to meet all of the city’s requirements, and a drainage plan will indicate what specific drainage improvements will be made.
Goforth said the area where R-4 zoning is requested was shown as commercial on the city’s new 20-year Master Plan.
“No new ‘stand-alone’ apartment developments were approved under the Master Plan,” he acknowledged. “Our plan did not consider a multi-family as an integrated part of an MUPD.”
Under the maximum density of the 39.36 acres, Goforth said, 590 apartment units could be constructed. But the developers are proposing only 408, or approximately 10.36 to the acre.
“It’s our opinion that the multi-family will not create any type of incompatible use at this location, existing or proposed,” he noted. “In fact, this type of residential and commercial development can really work well together.”
Goforth said the businesses will be a “draw” to the apartment residents, who in turn will be customers for the businesses. And he noted that a proposed “trail” system will allow the residents to walk or bike to the stores and restaurants.
He said the traffic in that area will not be significantly affected, because there are many commercial uses that generate much more traffic than apartments do.
But he acknowledged that the city needs to analyze the potential impact on Wilkinsville Road through the residential and commercial areas after the development begins south of Glencoe Road.