The Murfreesboro Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday (Feb. 7) to limit multi-family residential uses to the more restrictive Planned Unit District (PUD) and Planned Residential District (PRD) zoning districts. The amendment, if approved by the City Council, would lift a moratorium the Council unanimously imposed on approving re-zoning for districts for higher density multi-family uses.
Planned development zoning, such as PUD and PRD, allows the Planning Commission and City Council to exercise a higher level of scrutiny over the layout, design, and impact of a proposed development during the zoning and entitlement phase.
In August 2016, the City Council placed a moratorium on rezoning districts to multi-family residential use (RM-12 and RM-16). Under the existing zoning ordinance, multi-family residential use is allowed in the Residential Multi-Family zoning districts, the Mixed Use zoning district (MU), and the Central Business District (CBD.) The moratorium, however, had blocked rezoning and thus only allowed multi-family development on land allowed zoned for such housing. The RM zones inform how many units may be built per acre, and apply primarily to apartments.
The moratorium did not stop plans already in process or previously zoned for multi-family residential. For properties that were already zoned RM-12, RM-16, MU, or CBD on or before Dec. 31, 2017, the zoning entitlement for multi-family residential as a by-right use would remain in place. Property owners who had already obtained zoning for multi-family residential would be able to develop their properties with multi-family residential units without having to rezone to PUD or PRD as long as they can meet all other zoning criteria.
Multi-family units permitted increased to 1,233 in 2017 from 445 units in 2016. However, the number of multi-family units in 2015 had been substantially higher at 1,149 units, up from 913 units in 2014 and 889 units in 2013.
Some of the recent multi-family developments constructed in Murfreesboro include Vintage at the Avenue (203 units), Henley Station (600 units), Everwood at The Avenue (336 units), 3342 Memorial (241 units).
According to data from the Murfreesboro 2035 Comprehensive Plan, 44.8 percent of the population rents in Murfreesboro.
The Murfreesboro City Council voted August 11, 2016, to impose a moratorium in approving any rezoning that creates higher density of RM-12 and RM-16 in an area of the city, to allow time for impact studies to determine where such zoning would be acceptable. The motion made by Councilor Rick LaLance did not apply to PRD or any RM-12 and RM-16 plans already in process.
At the time, Councilor LaLance suggested that the City needed “a chance to look at the impact these developments have on our infrastructure.”