Ordinance authorizes ‘Planned-Unit’ instead of ‘Mixed-Use’ developments

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Ordinance authorizes ‘Planned-Unit’ instead of ‘Mixed Use’ developments
By Bill Short

The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has passed an ordinance on final reading that authorizes “Planned-Unit” developments instead of “Mixed-Use” ones.

Board members took the action during their Sept. 13 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Thomas McGhee and seconded by Alderman Larry Dagen.

The motion was passed by six affirmative votes, with Alderman Don Lowry absent.

The ordinance was unanimously passed on first reading at the board’s Aug. 9 meeting.

It has repealed the previous Chapter 22 of the Municipal Zoning Ordinance and replaced it with a new one that the Millington Planning Commission reviewed during a public hearing at its June 21 meeting.

The commission voted at its July 19 meeting to recommend that the board repeal and replace the previous chapter.

Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, told the board at its Aug. 9 meeting that the Mixed-Use Planned Development Ordinance had been a “problem” for Millington, because it was an “overlay” zoning district. It only allowed uses that were permitted in the underlying zoning.

He recalled that, many years ago, an MUPD was approved for approximately 75 acres on Raleigh-Millington Road, but it was never developed.

Goforth said the problem was that, to accomplish the uses that were requested there, the entire area was zoned R-4, High-Density Residential, for apartments.

And although the MUPD “went away,” the R-4 zoning could not be removed under the law at that time.

Goforth noted that, when the city approved its 20-Year Master Plan, it worked with the owners of the property, who were able to “substantially reduce” the R-4 zoning.

So, he and City Attorney Gerald Lawson proposed that the MUPD ordinance be removed and replaced with a Planned-Unit Development ordinance that will be “its own zoning district.”

Goforth recalled that, at its July 19 meeting, the commission asked the planning staff to add “some maximum densities” in the ordinance. But he noted that, at its Aug. 16 meeting, the commission decided to remove them.

“So, that’s the only change in what we looked at before,” he said. “But the planning commission and the board have the authority to set the densities as part of this.”

Goforth said the planning staff believes the new ordinance will be a significant improvement over what the city previously had. He explained how it has also been “tied to” the Tennessee Vested Property Rights Act of 2014.

“If somebody chooses to get something approved, and they don’t proceed with it,” he noted, “we actually have the authority to take it back.”

Under the VPRA, multi-phase projects have three years to meet the requirements and two years to begin construction. 

But regardless of the number of phases, the total “vesting period” for a multi-phase project will not exceed 15 years, and the developer must maintain all required permits.