Nature Walk (Illustration courtesy of Park Trust Development)
During its regularly scheduled November meeting, members of the Rutherford County Commission will consider a revised proposal to rezone a portion of the new Springhouse subdivision for smaller homes.
The revised plan recently gained approval from members of the Rutherford County Planning Commission, following two months of delays and subsequent negotiations after the original proposal was met with resistance from homeowners in the Springhouse subdivision.
“I appreciate the fact that the developers worked with the residents of Springhouse, and from what I can tell, no one is upset about the revised proposal,” Commissioner Will Jordan (Dist. 3) said in reference to the owners of Park Trust Development, which is jointly by John Harney and Bob Parks.
The negotiations were made during a recent meeting attended by Harney, Parks and more than a dozen Springhouse homeowners.
“I think we came up with an amicable resolution to the situation,” said Jim Tate, who was one of the first people to buy a home in the Springhouse subdivision, located off Shores Road.
The revised plan is among several items on the agenda for the Thursday, Nov. 15, meeting that is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. inside the Rutherford County Courthouse in downtown Murfreesboro.
If approved by the County Commission, nearly 75 acres would be rezoned as a planned residential development called Nature Walk that would comprise 165 single family homes on lots roughly half the size of what is in Springhouse.
The main entrance to Nature Walk would be located on Franklin Road near Veterans Parkway.
Compared with the original Springhouse master plan, the proposal would still result in an increase of 29 more houses than what was originally approved by the County Commission five years ago.
Despite the increase, homeowners in Springhouse and Nature Walk would have more “usable green space” than before, an estimated 35 percent once both subdivisions are complete, according to the proposal.
“We decided, based on the research we did, smaller lots with more green space that everyone can use seems to be more attractive to buyers,” Harney said. “We are trying to encourage pedestrian-style living.”
Nature Walk is aimed at a different homebuyer, one who wants a smaller lot with a home filled with amenities, such as those included in the Springhouse homes, Harney said.
“We want both of these products to compliment one another,” he said. “There are three more phases in between the first portion of Springhouse and Nature Walk, so many of the residents who were upset will not be next to the smaller homes. … I think once the homeowners realized what we had planned, many of their concerns went away.”
Under the new proposal, homes in the Nature Walk subdivision would be required to meet a minimum of 1,800 square feet, which is 200 feet more than what was stipulated in the original plan.
According to a comparative market analysis, the average sale price of a Springhouse home is hovering at $309,000 – nearly $80,000 more than what the expected median price would be of a Nature Walk home.
Because the Nature Walk homes would be priced between the $200,000 and $250,000 range, Harney said more emphasis would be put on delineating the two subdivisions.
“We agreed to put entrance monuments where the projects join together to more clearly separate the two subdivisions,” Harney said, “and we also decided to add more trees to better define the neighborhoods.”
In addition, a requirement was added to the new proposal that stipulates vinyl siding would have to meet a 6-inch minimum in order to be allowed on the exterior of any the Nature Walk homes.
However, a restriction that would have prevented a homeowner from renting a property in the Nature Walk subdivision was not added to the proposal, as Springhouse residents had wanted.
“Everybody gave a little bit and met in the middle, and eventually, the best interest of both sides were met,” Tate said, noting both sides spent nearly two hours hammering out the issue during the meeting that was held in September at the Bob Parks Realty office.
Harney agreed, noting, “It was a very productive meeting.”
“We were very happy to meet with the Springhouse residents to resolve these issues,” he said, “and we are glad that it worked out to the satisfaction of all involved.”