This chart shows how the process of developing and rezoning property in Rutherford County, Tenn., will be handled in the future. (Illustration courtesy of the Rutherford County Planning Department)
Following years of preparation and work, members of the Rutherford County Commission have unanimously approved the proposed zoning ordinance that will significantly affect property development in the future.
“Everyone with the (Rutherford County) Planning Commission should be commended for their work,” Mayor Ernest Burgess said. “I am very pleased that we can move forward with these changes. This is a great day in the history of Rutherford County.”
Although the zoning ordinance and map initially caused a stir, not a single resident came forward in opposition of the plans Thursday during the regularly scheduled County Commission meeting in downtown Murfreesboro.
“I am excited – a little flabbergasted,” Burgess said, adding it is a testament to how well the Rutherford County Planning Department and Planning Commission worked with residents to resolve any issues they once had with the plans.
The new zoning ordinance and map replaces the existing regulations that were passed more than 25 years ago, at a time when much of Rutherford County was overwhelmingly rural.
Since then, it has become one of the fastest growing counties in Tennessee – meaning residential and business development has largely occurred without the appropriate regulations.
“This zoning ordinance and map is the product of a process that began four years ago to replace the regulations that were originally adopted,” said Doug Demosi, director of the Planning Department.
Demosi said the new ordinance is designed to help guide development into a more cohesive direction, noting, “he feels this is the most important item that the Planning Department has ever brought before the County Commission.”
“The main goals of this process,” Demosi said, “were to create a more modern zoning document, as well as to make it more consistent with state law.”
The one person who did speak during the public hearing portion of the County Commission meeting was Murfreesboro resident Chris Jensen, who addressed members on behalf of the Rutherford County Homebuilders Association.
When the rough draft of the zoning ordinance was made public last year, members of the Homebuilders Association strongly disapproved of the proposal. After some tweaking and further discussion, the proposal eventually gained support from the organization.
“We do need more regulations concerning the development of Rutherford County than what are in effect today,” Jensen said, “but the regulations that are needed will direct development, rather than hinder it, and we feel this proposed ordinance will do just that.”