Tell Council Members Not To Ignore The Consultant They Hired

* The city hired a consultant to plan for the next 20 years of rapid growth. He says the city should only seek green industry that will encourage MTSU grads to stay here. He thinks Joe B Jackson should be a business park, with quality buildings, beautiful landscaping and companies that provide upscale jobs.

He said the current trend toward warehouses and logistics businesses is stupid because these business don’t attract many jobs. Highest and best use is the way to go, he added.

Power play behind closed doors

* How did the councilmen react? The planning staff pressured the consultant behind closed doors to recommend light industry instead of business park for Joe B. We respect our professional planners and assume they are acting on directions from above.

* Light industry zoning is supposed to protect us from anything that shakes the ground, pollutes the air or is noisy. But it’s worthless. We have seen how quickly this council jumps to rezone from light to heavy industry any time a developer asks. It’s not so easy to justify a rezoning if a whole area is designated “business park.”

Heavy industry is like the wild west

Almost anything is possible in a heavy industry zone including fertilizer (X) and metal plants (X), chemicals (X) and radiation storage (S). Once a parcel is rezoned heavy industry these uses remain forever because the council isn’t likely to reverse itself. (See attached city zoning chart. S means you must get a use permit, which isn’t hard. X gives you a use by right.)

*I got 550 names on a petition opposing rezonings to heavy industry near homes. The council ignored them. More than 60 people turned out in July to protest the latest heavy industry rezoning on Joe B. The council ignored them. Now its own consultant is under pressure for telling them the same thing we did.

Just write a simple email

What can you do? Let’s build a groundswell of support for the consultant. Here is how to do it.

– You can email your concern to the city at

– Even better, email your support directly to the consultant by filling out a form at Put “Murfreesboro 2035” in the subject line. Say “I support your recommendation for a business park on Joe B Jackson.” We may not win, but we should at least make the council squirm if they vote for things that hurt us.

The city’s own chart is a warning

And here is a chart from the city’s zoning ordinance. It tells you what uses you can have in heavy industry For clarity, I have boiled down the chart to only some of the uses. I also combined their residential and commercial zones for simplicity. X means you get a use by right in this zone. S means you have to get a use permit. I think that is a distinction without a difference. The board that grants use permits is appointed by the council and is unlikely to reject anything the council favors.

Uses Permited                                      Heavy Ind.  Light Ind   Residential    Commercial

Animal or poultry slaughter                 S

Asbestos Products                               S

Auto Manufacture                                 X

Brewery                                                   X

Chemicals                                               X

Composting                                            S

Explosives                                               S

Fertilizer                                                  X (These plants have been known to explode.)

Petroleum, coal products refining      S

Radioactive materials                           S

Scrap Metal Processing                       S

Glass, concrete products                     X

Tire manufacture                                  X

Junkyard                                                S

Adult Cabaret                                        X

Adult Bookstore                                   X

Massage parlor                                   X