By Bill Short
The Millington Municipal Planning Commission has unanimously recommended a zoning change for construction of a Planned Residential Development to be located northeast of Centennial Park.
Commission members took the action during their Feb. 22 meeting on a motion offered by Vice Chairman Brett Morgan and seconded by Curtis Park.
Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, said a request was submitted to re-zone the area from M-P, Planned Industrial, to R-4, High-Density Residential. But he noted that the property would be limited to development of townhouses.
Goforth said that, when the city’s 20-year Master Plan was approved in 2018, all that property, including the Centennial Park area, was zoned commercial.
“It didn’t make a lot of sense,” he acknowledged. “But they didn’t know what they wanted to do with this property at the time.”
Goforth said city officials thought it would “not likely” be residential because of the “noise problem” with the Millington Memphis Airport.
But because the “noise contour” extends diagonally across the property included in the request, he said it is “outside” of any problem areas.
Goforth recalled that the city spent approximately $3.5 million purchasing the property and another $500,000 clearing the buildings off of it. Then, it was given to the Millington Industrial Development Board, which is currently selling the property to the proposed developers.
He said the IDB needs to consider the “bigger picture” of how the remainder of the property should be zoned and submit “some plans” to the commission.
“There will actually be units facing to the north,” he noted. “And right across the street, you could have an industrial use.”
Goforth said the developers are proposing to use existing streets on the property and to construct two additional “small sections” of streets. Although the townhouses will “front” on the streets, he noted that all the access will come from alleys in the back.
He said each of the lots will be 20 feet wide and have a 20-foot front yard, with no side yards where the townhouses are attached. Each lot will also have a garage and a parking area behind it.
In response to questions by commission member Mike Caruthers, Goforth said the townhouses will be restricted to “owner-occupied,” have at least 1,600 square feet and cost approximately $200,000.
Because that property was initially developed almost 70 years ago, Goforth said it has “old clay sewers” that are starting to deteriorate.
And the water lines are 6 inches instead of 8 inches in diameter, which means they do not have enough pressure for multiple family development.
He also said only East Navy Circle has been paved in recent years, because it is used to get to the YMCA. He noted that the main roads to enter the property will be National and East Navy.
But Caruthers said most residents do not use the main roads and will continue to take West Navy Circle to reach the YMCA.
“Well, they could,” Goforth acknowledged, “but I don’t know why they would. It would be farther for them to go that way.”
On Goforth’s recommendation, and with a motion offered by Caruthers and seconded by member Leanna Dagen, the commission unanimously approved the “outline” of the Planned Residential Development with the following conditions:
(1) A Site Plan, detailed Engineering Plan and a Final Plat must be submitted that indicate the proposed size of the townhouses, number of bedrooms and exterior elevations.
(2) Existing streets and curbs must be repaired, sidewalks replaced and handicap ramps provided.
(3) An adequate storm drainage system must be installed.
(4) Electric service must be placed underground within the site.
The developers must:
(1) install a new water distribution system consisting of 8-inch mains, new water service valves and fire hydrants.
(2) extend an 8-inch water line along Navy Road westward from this development to the current terminus of the city’s existing 8-inch main near West Navy Circle.
(3) install a new gravity sewer system to replace the 70-year-old system.
Goforth acknowledged that “a lot of work” needs to be done on the area, but he would “love” to see the development happen.
He noted that the developers like the location because of its proximity to the YMCA, and because they believe they can “get some Navy personnel” into the townhouses.