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Sparse crowd attends city design session

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Authors of a document that would provide guidelines for those looking to develop property in the city of Murfreesboro sought public input Thursday night.

Attendance was low at the open house held in the rotunda of Murfreesboro City Hall, but Ragan-Smith Associates took down several questions and comments they will consider when working on a final draft.

The final draft is expected to come before the Murfreesboro Planning Commission and City Hall for approval this summer.

Design guidelines were written to give developers a clear understanding of what city planning staff and other city officials are looking to see in new development. They include more specific criteria for what the city expects in terms of streetscapes, signs, landscaping and building design and materials.

The umbrella document provides a "broad overview of the city's desires, expectations and requirements for development within the city limits," stated the document's introduction.

Design guidelines make developers consider the placement of utilities and garages, types of landscaping used and the preservation of historic properties.

The guidelines will help ensure the building of aesthetically pleasing developments with adequate means for service delivery whether it be city utilities, mail or fire trucks, said Joseph Aydelott, Murfreesboro planning director.

Questions asked by residents and developer included: Will design guidelines cause the local cost of living to go up? Will guidelines make develop easier or more complicated? How will guidelines be enforced?

Other comments expressed were: appreciation that historic preservation is encouraged; concern that officials want the city to look like Brentwood or Franklin; and wanting to ensure commercial signs stay visible from the street.

"I don't think it will have an incredible impact on cost of living here," Aydelott said of the implementation of the provisions included in the guidelines.

Many of the guidelines are already being implemented in new development introduced to the Murfreesboro Planning Commission, he said.

Aydelott reiterated that the design guidelines are guidelines and may not be strictly enforced.

Matt Taylor, of SEC Inc. site engineering consultants, attended the open house to orient himself with the guidelines. He frequently goes before the Murfreesboro Planning Commission with new development projects.

Taylor said he thinks having a document showing what the city of Murfreesboro expects from new development will be benefital to developers engineers.

As he was looking over the guidelines, Taylor said none of the provisions seemed unreasonable. He did ask whether a wide sidewalk on one side of the street in a new subdivision would be acceptable instead of sidewalks on both sides of the street as outlined in the guidelines.

Aurelia Holden, a lifelong city resident, said it is important the city holds on to the qualities that residents appreciate and that attracts new residents and tourist dollars to Murfreesboro.

The drafting of design guidelines is a positive step to ensuring Murfreesboro stays attractive, she said.

Architecture of single-family housing is not included in the guidelines.

A draft of the Design Guidelines is available on the city of Murfreesboro's Web site at www.murfreesborotn.gov.
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Business, City Council, Murfreesboro, Planning Department, Real Estate, Rezoning, Site Engineering Consultants
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Members Opinions:
May 18, 2007 at 12:00am
I stopped attending such meetings and gatherings because our leaders are going to do what they want to do. Remember the Urban Growth Boundary?
May 18, 2007 at 12:00am
Why bother? I think I am like many others. This average citizen feels powerless in this developer driven county.
May 19, 2007 at 12:00am
I agree Conservative Reaction and TimeforJustice. They are all going to do what they want to do regardless of attendance. I think they just hold these "public sessions" to say they did. Our city is a hodgepodge of design elements. The shopping area traffic flow through the Linens n'Things/Outback/Wal-Mart area is crazy. Poorly planned. I SO wish there would be uniform signage requirements and not so much variance between what is installed. The low signage at The Oaks and across at Chop House and Bonefish is nice. The tall signs at The Outback and Panera are very different.

It's all screwy.
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