May 4, 2019

Phillip Graves, Rushbrook/Watts Farm
Why don’t we just do what Alan said and buy the land, lol. 40 investors

May 4, 2019

Jo Ann P. , Elam
Somehow a few of us need to get organized create informative information about what is going on, I spoke to a lot of people that had no idea. Yes we need to bum barred the council with phone calls, we need to inform all the people in this area people on Tulip, lee, Elam and so on!Create something to hand out that explains everything that’s going on and the implications now and down the line of sustaining our neighborhood. I’ve just spoken to Diane Parker and we’re going to talk to other people. We need to get the word out, we need to cal out the city Council, and we need to vote these people out. We need to have people on the city Council that care about maintaining our town and allowing businesses and industries to come in but not in our backyards. They also need to figure out proper traffic patterns that do not go through quiet neighborhood. They need to do the traffic studies before they agreed to have these companies come in, not after the fact. We need everyone to get together and help, these are our home w they also need to figure out proper traffic patterns that do not go through quiet neighborhoods. They need to do the traffic studies before they agree to have these companies come in, not after the fact. We need everyone to get together and help, these are our homes And our property values and our peace of mind. People need to get up off their butts!

May 4, 2019

Jo Ann P., Elam
Informing people by way of social media is a very good idea the only problem is not everyone is that computer savvy and some of the older residents probably don’t even have a damn computer. So going around and talking to your neighbors and informing them in person of what is going on and trying to get their support that way is also something we should all talk about. Not everyone has an iPhone not everyone has a computer and I myself have never Logged into a blog

May 4, 2019

Kandee N., Savannah Ridge-Steven Bend·5h ago
No worries Keith, I enjoy a lively debate! I do think people tend to move away from problems in their community rather than become active and involved.. It’s also hard to make the time when you have a job with difficult hours or a busy family life. It’s important for us to find creative ways to inform people and have a voice in these matters though–even if it’s for those that come after us. Flyers do have more impact than you think. They plant seeds and awareness that sometimes take a while to manifest. We can all do more in that area–plus find other outlets to simply make people aware of whats going on that affects them. We cannot rely on news agencies—who are just as sold out to special interests as those in government. Maybe just getting out there on social media in a positive way–informing people as you are trying but also expanding the type of information offered especially around elections and council meetings. This past election I tried to inform myself and found it very difficult to find info on local candidates. Another thing is people will often react more to a recent decision after the fact than before! Human nature? Lol. Instagram is powerful–and there are already hashtags for our area, we just need to use them! I failed to think of it in time for the meeting-and I was working that night. But I would be happy to help print flyers and create social media posts.

My Reply: Well said, Kandee. If you stay active you are doing this so that it doesn’t happen again. The story ended for the Elam folks at the council meeting when the rezoning passed unanimously.

May 4, 2019

Phillip G., Rushbrook/Watts Farm·15h ago
Or other cities could offer incentives for businesses, why do people think big cities need to keep growing for the hell of it? Businesses that expand too quickly become unmanageable, same applies to cities. Takes 5+ years to build a bridge over Broad because of traffic but the answer is we need more people..ok

May 4, 2019

Tammy H.,  Christiana
If we must grow in this manner there should be an impact fee paid by the builders and developers. In my opinion, this was pushed through quickly before Council could form another level of type of development and possibly change the development area approval. Although,as a County resident, it has been deeply disappointing to see new housing development entering the county in areas without impact fees including road improvement or school land donation. There is a new massive housing complex being developed on Bradyville Pike not to mention a recent approval of a new venue on Big Springs Road adding a possible 4500 cars a year to this rural road and area. County Commission turned a deaf ear to our concerns and approved yet another venue. Just what we need the 18th wedding venue out here! Again another opportunity for folks to make bank while tax papers pay for road improvements and maintenance.


My reply: In towns with real planning, developers even have to contribute park land or pay an in-lieu fee if they can’t or don’t want to donate. This was true in the two cities I lived in before I came here 6 1/2 years ago — Fremont, Calif. and Old Bridge, N.J. We have an abnormal situation here — a town that seems to be run by the local development community.

May 4, 2019

Alan W., Lytle Creek Estates / Creekside Estates·45m agoNew
You know how you stop development on someone else’s land? You buy said land. That way you control it because it’s YOUR land. If you want rural, move to Cannon county. Rutherford is not and has not been rural for several decades.

My reply: Thanks Alan. As soon as I become rich, I’ll by all the land around my development. You are missing the point. I can only speak for myself. This is not about rural living or going back to 1950. It’s simply about a commitment to honest planning in which cities no longer put incompatible uses next to each other. Take a few minutes to read what is allowed under heavy industrial zoning in this city. Try massage parlors and adult bookstores for one. Petrochemical plants, sawmills, fertilizer plants (they sometimes explode) and junkyards. You can even put in a facility handing radioactive materials if they get a use permit. Is a radioactive plant a good and safe neighbor because it has a use permit? All I am asking is that Murfreesboro bring its level of planning up to the level of 18 of the other 20 biggest cities in the state. (I wasn’t impressed with Memphis’ efforts when I talked to a planner there. ) Or it could be honest, quit the sham and admit it really isn’t serious about planning.

May 4, 2019

Kandee N., Savannah Ridge-Steven Bend·47m ago
At this time the answer is to call out, vote out and work to get other candidates on the council–they all need to be targeted. They are there because people don’t even know who they are voting for!

My reply; Amen. But there is strength in numbers. We need to organize. The council ticks off people all the time. They’ve had so little opposition to the theater performance they put on that some of them have become arrogant.

May 4, 2019

Diane P., Elam

Diane Parker, Elam·Edited 47m ago
Folks, the plan that the city has for this area will decrease our property values and ruin our neighborhood. The Murfreesboro 2040 major transportation plan Includes widening Elam to 3 lanes and Connect Tulip Hill to S Rutherford. Trucks will start using Elam more frequently. It’s time to get really angry at both our county and city officials. Don’t forget about all the empty land for sale in our areathat will be developed soon. We need to have input into that development. Keith is right, it’s time to form some sort of alliance and band together.

My reply: I think there is a fertile field for recruitment in this city. Your story Thursday night was repeated several times in the year that I attended city council and planning commission meetings. There should be a lot of ticked-off people out there. I am disappointed that the two hours I spent hanging flyers at Sommersby didn’t get any response. The council never acted in the first place to establish an industrial area away from homes. In fact, it even has homes in the middle of its so-called “industrial district” on Joe B Jackson.  I think I have an idea we can rally around. I personally have no problem with the warehouses or HVK seating on Joe B J. But so far the only way to get these relatively benign uses is by rezoning to heavy industry, which has a lot of uses that are toxic to the community. In other words, these bad uses are attached to the land forever if one of the benign uses decide to leave. Many of those uses are the ones the developer near Elam has agreed not to use. Finally, the council has agreed to look at a new, cleaner zoning district (General Industrial) that would eliminate the worst uses. I propose this district be establish for at least a fifth of a mile (more if we can get it) and a buffer around heavy industry zones. And we need to push to make sure general industrial has only those uses that we can tolerate as neighbors. I suspect developers like Heavy Industrial zoning because it has no restrictions. We have a strong case if we take the high ground and push for industrial uses we can live with and eliminate those we can’t.

May 3, 2019

I suggested Group Against Sham Planning or Group Against Simulated Planning as a name for us if we decided to organize. Carol H. of Christiana came up with something more catchy.

Carol H. Christiana·16h ago
Group Against S**t Planning?

May 3, 2019

Phillip G. , Rushbrook/Watts Farm·18h ago
Sounds like Murfreesboro is the same as big cities.. quality of life for residents is down the list of top priorities.

My reply. You nailed it Philip, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If we organize, we could curb the developers’ power. Council is used to acting in a virtually empty room. They count on public apathy. I disagree slightly on one point. Murfreesboro is not typical. Cities I’ve lived in, no longer put heavy industrial uses anywhere near homes. For 20 years I lived in a town a third this size in New Jersey (of all places) and even it had a separate industrial area. This was never in dispute there. The same was true in a California town that was this size in the 1970s. Two year ago, I interviewed planning people from the other 19 biggest Tennessee cities. Only one, Memphis, was even close to what Murfreesboro does. In New York City, the big furor was not over putting some factory near residential districts. It was about whether taxpayers should give Amazon huge tax breaks to build a headquarters there.  Amazon left to seek a sweetheart deal elsewhere.


May 3, 2019

Jo Ann P.

OK my husband and I attended the meeting. At least more than three people showed up this time but not enough. As different people introduce themselves and spoke, I sat there looking at the people on the council 99% of them were looking at their phones looking at the computers they truly were not listening to what these people were saying, let me phrase that better Begging the council to hear their concerns. There are only two members on the board that I believe truly in their heart cared. But when the vote came down they all voted unanimously to let heavy industrial back up against a beautiful little neighborhood! In fact the developer had offered 45 feet as a buffer but then was willing to increase it to 60 feet, and one board member just thought that was great well if you do that I’ll vote in favor of the zoning, are you kidding me 60 feet. The entire council was asked by two people who spoke, “I have a question if heavy industrial was going to be backed up to You property would you vote for it?“ No one had an answer. It goes to the old saying it’s not my backyard I don’t care, and they did not! The only two people that spoke in favor of zoning this area heavy industrial both had financial gains from it. There are a lot of tears on the way out Of the council meeting. These are people that are voted in and I would never vote for a single one of them again!

The one thing I don’t understand is why people who have a clear conflict of interest have a right to make decisions that affect peoples homes question as no one ever a question this fact in the past? And yes they go through the The motions because by law or guidelines they have to give the public the right to speak but they do it in the middle and then do not allow the public to answer questions about what the lawyers and developers stated after they initially spoke. So unfair and they truly do not give a shit. This sweet old woman who had lived in her home for 50 something years her daughter and her begged!!!! And they don’t give a shit. They were barely people on the council that even locked up. Something has to be done I just not sure what

April 24, 2019

Our reply: If you really believe in your cause you have to make a long-term commitment to organizing and opposing this council. I am thinking of something continuing. It would be like a political party — based on support for real planning here and taking away the absolute power that developers here have over council. We have to build a consensus in this community for real planning, not the fig leaf we have now. But what I have in mind would not be as burdensome as a party. There would be no dues and any interaction would not require you to spend time at meetings. Everything could be done online at this forum. Try to convince your friends to participate. A better model  than a party would be the League of Women Voters. We have to educate the public that developers here are in total control of our politics and are running wild. A council that rubber stamps the concerns of developers is not serving the community that elected them. The aim is to become powerful enough that we could have a candidates forum i which the candidates vie for an endorsement from us. This is the only way. If you just go to a meeting and scream at them, nothing will happen.

Diane P., Elam
Keith the zoning meeting for S Rutherford/ Lee Ln is May 2. I will TRY to put out flyers to my neighbors in Reidhurst and Somnersby, but to be honest there’s not enough time in the day for me to do it all. It would help if the people reading this post let their neighbors know of what is going on and of the upcoming city council meeting. There are many changes upcoming on our side of town and we need to band together To protect our neighborhoods and property.

My reply

Yes, Diane. We need a permanent group because we have to be on guard all the time and to turn out big numbers when it is needed. Nothing else will scare them. The beauty of it is that with this site and NextDoor everyone can talk things over without having to go to a physical meeting.

April 17, 2019

Cindy H., Rushbrook/Watts Farm·Edited
I was looking for info on rezoning and found this link to DNJ article from Feb. 24, 2019, with Map showing rezoning area. From article – The jobs would involve manufacturing storage barns and sheds and metal fabrication, said Reed, a Murfreesboro lawyer who’s representing zoning applicant Brian Berryman of Brentwood :


April 15, 2019

From Diana P., Elam

Hi, I am affected by the zoning off Lee Lane and S Rutherford … I hope to meet you at the zoning meeting in May. Really hate this crap that the planning commission and council thinks they can get away with. .

March 30, 2019

From Diane P., Elam
Keith thank you and please pass the word to your neighbors for them to attend the meeting. I am concerned because my land is directly affected, but also the traffic flow for heavy trucks needs to be clearly defined if they intend on approving this. Lee Lane and Elam Rd cannot and should not support 53’ truck traffic . Also needs to be mentioned adequate notice was not given about the planning meeting. Signs were put out two days before the meeting.

March 30, 2019

Jo Ann P. , Elam·
Well it seems that one person wants to turn in Murfreesboro into a heavy industrial unsafe town for people to live. You need more than three people to come out and fight the city Council and this guy’s proposal. I live on Elam Road and we made fliers and we talk to neighbors and three maybe four people showed up to fight the zoning of heavy Industrial between Hilham Road and South Rutherford. They listened but I believe the Mayans (council members?) were already made up and the decision was already decided. It did not seem to matter what anyone had to say. More people need to come out more people need to stand up and speak at council meetings to stop destroying our town. I wish you all the luck in the world if you get more people put it on here and I’ll show up.

March 30, 2019

Dana H., Savannah Ridge-Steven Bend·30 Mar
When is the next meeting?

My reply: May 2nd. Here is the public notice of the hearing:

Notice is hereby given that separate Public Hearings before the City Council of the City of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, will be held in the Council Chambers of the City Hall, 111 West Vine Street, in said City on Thursday, May 2, 2019, beginning at 7:00 o’clock p.m. for the purpose of considering Resolution 19-R-PS-08, Resolution 19-R-A-08, and Ordinance 19-OZ-08 for (1) the proposed Plan of Services for and annexation of the territory identified on the attached map as “Area to be Annexed” and (2) zoning for the territory identified on the attached map as “Area to be Zoned HI,” which territory adjoins the present corporate boundaries of the City. Copies of the proposed Plan of Services are on file with the Planning Director of the City of Murfreesboro on the 2nd floor of City Hall, 111 West Vine Street, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; with the Public Service Desk on the 2nd floor of the Linebaugh Public Library, 105 W. Vine Street, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and, at the Front Desk of the Murfreesboro Water & Sewer Annex, 220 NW Broad Street, Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

March 31, 2019

Janie M., Magnolia Trace
Thank you Keith for keeping us informed on this. I am also hearing about the possible extension of Joe B Jackson to cross Manchester Pike and extend the road beyond that intersection. I know that this has been rumored for a while, but with the continued development along Joe B., I just wonder how soon before we see construction trucks come rolling up to begin extending that road. How can we find out whether this is actually on the calendar, whether construction contract bids have been awarded, and ultimately if there is a projected start date?

March 31, 2019

Carol H., Christiana
There have been plans for @20 years to connect 231, I-24, Manchester Pike, and Hwy 70. Sort of a by-pass around Murfreesboro. Co. Planning should have a current map available of future road projects.

Keith, I appreciate all of the time and energy that you HAVE invested in this community awareness project. Your commentary has been valuable in that it enlightened many of us to what other communities are doing or have done, and how it compares with the issues currently facing M’boro. I will personally miss you, and the humor that you injected into this process. Godspeed, my friend.

P.S. I offer my apologies for this delayed comment. I had to go play with my grandchildren in Omaha, NE, and therefore I know that you’ve made a wise choice.

My reply:

Many thanks for the kind words, Jim. You can see that I am conflicted and am finding it hard to withdraw. Already I have used the Richard M. Nixon escape hatch from my “final” post. I find it hard to turn my back on the former United Methodist church in town if a way can be found to preserve it without having it be a drain on taxpayers. So it seems I am hitting the streets again.

But apathy here is overwhelming. It is hard to save residents here from themselves.That is evident in the news that only three people have filed to run for three council seats in the 2016 election. There is a lot to be said for those three candidates, but the lack of interest in running for the club is unhealthy.

As for the mayor’s move to limit my speaking, I thought it over and realized this is no loss. In general, speaking to this council is a waste of time. A 20% success rate is probably overoptimistic. I never spoke at meetings, for obvious reasons, when I was a real journalist. I do expect to wrap this up eventually because all the hobbies I had looked forward to pursuing when I retired have been sliding. I don’t want to have any regrets about that later. But I will be around for  a while longer. I hope you will, too.

Like you said, we’re in the ballpark. I’m not confident that it is possible to EVER get statistics from multiple sources that will legitimately compare apples to bicycles – or whatever that phrase is. Take for example that number of people with a bachelors degree or greater. With the state’s largest (student pop.) university, don’t you think we should rank a little higher, if only because we’re blessed with SO many residents who’ve earned Ph.Ds? Then again, how is our younger population skewed by the fact that we have 10’s of thousands of undergrad students; 20-25% of whom rotate in or out every year, by the way,

Yeah, the numbers are useful, but understanding their meaning is priceless!

My reply:

Once again your point is well taken and your logic impeccable. I thought I was being so scientific. You’re correct about MTSU also. Are our learned profs avoiding the census? Anyway, I am baking the chicken today in my humble pie.

What If?

With all due respect to the professional abilities and technical accuracy of Kendig Keast’s forecasts: What If… there’s no room for all those folks that are expected to come? What if we make a conscious decision NOT to allow further development?

Now, I’m not advocating that extreme option, but what if we choose a middle ground? Why don’t we decide what overall density we are comfortable with, then facilitate development accordingly? Maybe we’re willing to accommodate another 50,000, or 100,000, or even 250,000 people, or maybe we’ve already got more than we care to have. I don’t know the answer, but I’m willing to ask the question.

When I grew up in South Florida, all of the development was within 5 miles of the ocean. Today, you can drive 15+ miles inland, and there are still more houses being built. Just because they were able to drain the swamp (The Everglades) doesn’t mean that the alligators are gone. Now they’ve even introduced exotic non-native snakes!

The point being – unplanned, free-range development isn’t necessarily a good thing. If people are flocking to middle Tennessee, and Murfreesboro/Rutherford County doesn’t have a place for them. then there are plenty of other rural nearby counties that will undoubtedly welcome the influx. Just because I’m willing to be friendly and/or do business with someone doesn’t mean that I have to sacrifice my quality-of-life in order to accommodate them.

My reply:

You hit it exactly. My old brain wasn’t thinking. I took the “they’re coming and we have to provide for them” line without questioning it. I agree. I’m not anti-growth either as long as growth is in the interest of people already here and not just the people building apartments, condos, townhouses and homes.

It took a man commenting at that homeowners meeting to get me thinking. There is no law that says we have to provide for everyone who wants to come here. When my agent showed me the house I bought here, I thought it was a bargain. If he had nothing to show me in my price range I would have looked elsewhere. You said it best. I have no idea what a proper ultimate size of this town should be. But the ultimate decision should be made on what size is best for the town and not on the idea we are obligated to provide for everyone who wants to live here.

I covered city politics in Fremont, Calif. from 1973-79. When I arrived, the town had 126,000 people, about the size of Murfreesboro now. It was a lovely place to live — a plateau framed by mountains on one side and the San Francisco Bay on the other. Its population has doubled since I left. I have been through the place a couple of times in the past ten years. What I enjoyed about Fremont, in my view, has been lost. I felt a crush of people . I would not want to live there, and their street system is as well planned as possible.

As I said, I am not against growth. But it does seem that the infrastructure here is already stressed. How much we grow, in my opinion, should be limited by how much we can improve our roads to accommodate that growth. We’re under no obligation to lose the great life we have here in exchange for unbridled and unplanned growth. The line from “Field of Dreams” is true: “If you build it they will come.” The flip side is also true: “If you don’t build it they won’t come.”  I, too, have no answer to the question”what size should we be, but it is worth debating. Kendig Keast isn’t doing that.

I wouldn’t say that this will be as simple as a Plug & Play computer program, but we aren’t being asked to try anything that hasn’t already succeeded elsewhere. All that we need to do is establish a vision for what we want the Boro to be, approve the enabling legislation, then muster the fortitude to put it into action. Putting that into a checklist format – that warms my military engineering heart – the steps would be:

1. A Community Leader (Mayor) needs to cast a vision for the community to get excited about and want to support.

2. The City Staff and Elected Politicians need to adapt our existing ordinances, and possibly delete or create others, that will facilitate and expedite that journey. NOTE: This isn’t a goal with a definable endpoint, it’s a journey, which should be periodically revised and improved.

3. The Chamber of Commerce, developers, business organizations, and social support networks need to be encouraged to “get on board” and utilise the synergy of this vision to achieve their own objectives while simultaneously benefiting the community at large.

My reply:

I think they have the execution part down pat, as you will see from a story I’m about to write about a historic Church on East College St. The tricky part is what the vision will be. The consultant says to thrive we have to make this an exciting place that talented people will want to come to. I’ve heard some concilmen say the town really jumps at night on the square. When I left the meeting at 10 p.m., I took a drive up to E. College St. to look at an old church that was featured at the meeting. Jumping? It wasn’t even weakly hopping. Even the traffic lights were meekly flashing instead of operating normally.

By the way, does your three-point practical plan mean I’m not getting my single pylon suspension bridge? Reality bites.

When I relocated to M’boro 9.5 years ago, my real estate agent made a point of promoting the [then] new Gateway area, where the hospital, and so many healthcare and supporting businesses have relocated. It seems that The Council had the foresight and fortitude to do something good a decade ago. Perhaps they can even improve upon that concept and do something similar – with a business park theme – before Joe B. Jackson Pkwy is totally lost to hodge-podge development.

Very well said Jim (Wirshing). I keep wondering why we vote for the lowest common denominators to represent us. I feel this city is truly run by some with the lowest IQ’s in the state.
Do you know what their answer was to speeding on Joe B Jackson in the 35 MPH residential area? A sign warning of the area is 35MPH.
People ignore the one sign, so a second sign should do the trick.
We are run by mental midgets.

Now is the end of my rant.

Tim Russo

My reply:

Tim, it is good to hear from you again. I don’t agree with your rant, but I’m glad you checked in.

One of the first things you do as a reporter is size up the mental ability of each member of any governmental body you cover. You want to see who the leaders are, which people do their homework and which ones just slide along.

I’ve been at almost every council meeting since last April. The last thing I want to do is get into names, but I see four sharp minds on this council. By that I mean people who do their homework, ask intelligent questions and are the kind of people who make you want to listen when they talk.

I also rate the city manager and his staff here highly.

The problem is not intelligence on this council. It’s money in politics — the same issue we see nationally. The council is run like  a private club in which the interests that pay in the form of campaign contributions get to play. The rest of us are irrelevant. If you doubt what I am saying just go up on the square to the elections office and ask to see each member’s most recent campaign finance reports as I did.

The clearest sign of this attitude is the speaking policy. Basically, the people who pay to play can speak as long as they want. At one meeting, John Harney, an influential real estate man here, went 7 1/2 minutes without getting interrupted. He was clearly making a personal comment on his history and development philosophy.

The public can only speak for three minutes — and only at public hearings and oral communications. The latter happens only once a month, before the TV cameras come on.

It’s not as if this limit s necessary. There are few speakers at oral communications. and most public hearings are closed with no one wishing to speak. There is no line of people spilling out the door and down the street waiting to come to the podium. At only one meeting I have attended — the one on Joe B Jackson in July — was there any justification for speaker rationing.

That happens to be the same meeting Mr. Harney went 7 1/2 minutes without anyone telling him to wrap it up. There is no way to prove it, but I had the feeling he could have gone 30 minutes without being told to quit.

Most meetings are over by 9 p.m. When I was doing this for a living in Fremont, Calif., I considered myself blessed  if I got out of a meeting by 11 p.m. And 1 a.m. was not unusual. They had no limit on speaking. If someone clearly abused the process, the moderator handled it on a case-by-case basis.

What we have now is basically some politicians thumbing heir noses at the public. It isn’t exactly “your democracy in action,” but it’s they system we have to work with.


I’m looking forward to that work on Middle TN Blvd. In fact, I thought that it was supposed to start about a year ago, at least, they had the mobile sign stationed at Mercury Blvd & Middle TN Blvd in anticipation.

Conducting those studies on those two districts should give the community and local developers some direction on what to do. I just hope that they can effectively integrate the proposals from the 2035 Plan.

My reply:

1, The story was delayed because I went up to Columbus the next day to see the Ohio State-Michigan State game with my son on Nov 21st. It was cold and rainy, and the team closest to our hearts played like the Little Sisters of the Poor. It took the win over Michigan Saturday to clear my writer’s block. Michigan is a lot like mental Ex-Lax when they suck.

2. I don’t see any problem on coordinating with the 2035 plan. I firmly believe that people never lie when they speak in public at council meetings. The consultant, Randy Caldwell of Ragan Smith, promised to turn cartwheels in order to get community input, to work closely with Kendig Keast and to bake cupcakes every Sunday for the life of the contract.

That Technology Center sounds like it will be a great asset to the community. I hope that the meeting rooms will be equipped with projectors, whiteboards, etc., and that some thought has gone into the operational hours and staffing requirements.

I understand the council’s concern about possible fireworks loopholes. Here’s my question: “Is it the government’s responsibility to criminalize every possible means of morally reprehensible activity, or should the government simply outlaw the undesired result?” For example, should we legislate against murder, terrorism, and violent destruction of property, or should we prohibit the simultaneous possession of diesel fuel and nitrogen-based fertilizer (Timothy McVeigh, Oklahoma City)? Should we outlaw human mutilation, or should we outlaw steak knives (Lorraina Bobbit)?

My reply:

I’m all for legislation to control steak knives, but the American Cutlery Association is simply too powerful for any bill like that to pass Besides, according to my reading of the Second Amendment, it gives us the right to bear steak knives when cutting meat.

As for the technology center, I am excited about it. But then I get delirious whenever someone proposes something creative and new. I just can’t help myself.

I managed to watch the live broadcast on the City TV cable channel. I watched the Mershon Drive issue unfold, just like you said. We had to read between the lines, but it was obvious that the roadway connection will happen in a Master Planning meeting, and that community residents will have no input. How sad that we’ve allowed our political system to devolve to the point that the bureaucrats and their financial supporters can ramrod these issues down our throats – regardless of our concerns.

I also noticed on the new judicial building and garage that although the drawings included lovely landscaping, when the representative was questioned about it, he had to respond (apparently truthfully) that the trees around the garage were in the city right-of-way – therefore requiring the city engineer’s permission and approval, and that there is only a two-foot wide space around the judicial building in which to plant anything. Using an automotive analogy – CAUTION: building lines may not be as soft as they appear in the (smoke and) mirrors.

My reply:

I didn’t have to read between the lines. I’ve watched the same old routine too many times for it to be coincidental. I noticed one of the city’s Principal Planners defended the plan, so it’s a done deal. I probably would do the same thing if I were in her shoes.  On the other issue, I have always been a sucker for artist’s renderings. I should know better, but I just can’t help myself. I’m a little embarrassed on this one. I accidentally hit the publish button while I was still proofing it. It’s like going out late at night to take out the garbage in your underwear and having a neighbor turn on a floodlight.

That sounds like a “normal” agenda, in my book. Regarding the County Judicial Building – I would hope that both garage areas have high resolution security cameras. The NSA can read vehicle license plates from spy satellites that are 100+ miles in orbit. It astounds me that we rarely ever have a clear picture of the thief robbing the convenience store. By comparison, if our terrestrial cameras had even half the resolution of NSA’s, then we should be able to clearly count the freckles on the face of the convenience store thief! Additionally, I hope that they plan for the possibility of adding a photovoltaic roof over the top level of the public garage, as well as planter boxes for flowers and vines to soften the appearance of the structure.

Regarding the annexation of the 60 acres adjacent to The Reserve – shame on them for considering the technical loophole of leaving a 10′ wide access strip to the surrounded county property. What good does that do? Even a single-lane road should be a minimum of 12′ wide! Maybe they think that a bicycle path will be sufficient! If a citizen wanted to do this, to the city’s detriment, would they even entertain the idea? I suspect not.

My reply: Does normal mean dull? Exciting agendas are bad for the neighborhood. Judging from a meeting I attended The Reserve is not happy about high density development planned nearby. The developer made some concessions, but the people living who spoke at the meeting wanted large single family lots in tune with the surrounding developments. If there were a rabble-rouser in town he could “make hay” or some sort of crop out of their resentment. Speaking to council is a lot like talking to your living room wall.

One reason city planners sought a Planned Institutional District for the Judicial Building is to have more say over design and landscaping. From the brochure renderings and text it appears landscaping will be used to soften the building. And you know how reliable renderings are.

Another piece of the puzzle falls into place – The BZA meeting at 1:00 pm is minimally attended due to the time of day when it is conducted. Then, the City Council virtually rubber stamps the BZA recommendation because “they are the technical experts.”

I hope to be back from my trip to Florida and Alabama in time to attend this BZA meeting.

My Reply:

Au contraire, my friend. The BZA makes the final decision on use permits. I found out last night that the council isn’t involved (at least publicly). This is usual. he council should be the only lawkmaking body, and everyone else should be advisory. But a lot of things are different here — like the century our lawmakers are living in.

Although I haven’t visited either of the two new dealerships (GM & Toyota), I hope that the Planning Commission is requiring a fair amount of landscaping and trees, so that these dealerships won’t simply be a vast expanse of pavement, thus extending the urban heat island. Dealerships in south Florida finally started to learn the sales value of shade several decades ago.

My reply:

From sitting there at the meeting, my impression is they will meet the city’s stringent buffering requirements for the residential neighborhood behind them.

Dear Bird, you supply me with a limitless inventory of irony. Although I was conceived in Canada, I was born in south Florida (does that make me a Baby Boomer Anchor Baby?). Where did you discover a Canadian college professor named Florida? Have you been using my personal biography as the basis for your Master Plan review?

Regardless – keep drilling.

Interesting irony, but don't get a swelled head on me.
Interesting irony, but don’t get a swelled head on me.

Word from the Bird:

This is the top of an article on Dr. Florida in Wikipedia. His work, which looks down on slobs like us, is cited in a current bestseller: “Murfreesboro 2035” by the Kendig Keast Collaborative.


The Jones-Bird Collaborative

From Wikipedia:

Sounds to me like you’re going to meet that Nextdoor deadline. Don’t be afraid to reapproach neighbors multiple times. I had to ask one of my immediate neighbors two or three times before he finally registered. Although he never comments online, he follows the posts and comments to me in person about them. I also encourage the effective use of a judicious dose of guilt when you talk to folks now. Go tell the next 50 people that you need one more registrant within the next ten days so that the website will be permanent for your neighborhood!
I know that the ultimate outcome of the Master Plan will go through several iterations of pendulum swings. At this point, I see an active conversation being the most valuable thing contributing towards its future. Thanks for continuing to stir that pot.
My reply:
I can’t imagine they wouldn’t adopt it and give it the force of law. But they have surprised me before. Public opinion doesn’t move them.

Mr. Jones:

I’ll try and answer your question from two perspectives:

The widening of Manchester Pike is on the City’s 2025 Major Thoroughfare Plan to be widened from the existing two lanes to a three lanes from Joe B. Jackson Parkway to approximately Cedar Grove Road. No funding has yet to be identified in the City’s near-term 5 year Capital Improvement Plan since this proposed project is a long term improvement in the outer years of the 2025 plan. Since from a priority standpoint, respective to all the other projects in the City, there are no immediate plans to widen this section of roadway, we have made no formal request of TDOT to pursue this project at this time.

The longer term viewpoint notwithstanding, it is expected that the Maples project will require improvements to Manchester Pike in proximity to their development. Based on previous approvals of the Maples project and stated conditions at the time of the approval, they will be required to submit a traffic study that will identify specific improvements that they will be required to be made to Manchester Pike. I would expect that, at a minimum, the traffic study will convey the need to provide a separate left turn lane into this development.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Dana Richardson

Transportation Director

City of Murfreesboro

Good evening. Do you know if Manchester Hwy will be widened due to the increased traffic that The Maples subdivision will bring?

My Reply: (updating)

I spoke to Heather Jensen, who is community relations office at the Tennessee Department of Transportation. She said the department is in a funding crunch — in part because more efficient cars don’t bring in as much gas tax revenue. The only project in development now along Manchester Pike, she said, is for turning lanes at Dilton Mankin Road, which is well north of the area you mentioned.

She added that the governor met with leading officials in the city, county and neighboring cities Thursday to hear their concerns about transportation issues and to explain the funding problems to them. I saw pictures of the session in the DNJ.

I looked on the Transportation Department’s list of projects it is studying and didn’t find anything about Manchester Pike there. I have written an email to Dana Richardson, the city’s transportation director. If he adds anything I will let you know.

I certainly see your point. Manchester Pike is heavily traveled now and with The Maples and a huge Planned Residential Development set to go in near me it will only get worse.

From: Richard J Baine In Response To Our Community Forum Page Submitted on 2015/08/01 at 6:18 pm Comment “It’s up to us, then, to have an attorney on staff” Who is (us)? The developer placed a weapon of sorts in the the hands of (us) when he offered some restricted covenants to be placed on the site. The problem seems to be that us is unorganized and lacking in logical leadership. (Us) could be a very powerful voice if the Homeowners Association(s) could agree that in case of covenant violations the Association would be the voice of (us) and any legal costs would be shared by the members. That works! A developer recently tried to build a (spec) house on a smallish lot in the Broadlands Subdivision. The Homeowners obtained the plans for the house and pointed out several violations of the building covenants to the developer along with a change it now or tear it down later edict. The plans were changed. If (Us) does not have a Homeowners Assn. how can you enforce the Covenants in your own subdivision? If you have one, that is your strength and with intelligent leadership it will be a force to be reckoned with. My reply: I agree with everything you say. “Us” is a rhetorical device to say it is up to the homeowners to get an attorney and sue if the covenant is broken. Right now that isn’t going to happen, so the covenant is worthless. It was also a way of saying there is no organized group on our side to be a party to any covenant with the developer. My goal with this site and the forum is to achieve the very thing you speak of. There was an association in Magnolia Trace, I’ve been told, but it died for lack of interest. On this (rezoning) issue, I think the council is in lockstep with the development community but out of step with what the citizens want — at least the ones I have talked to. We need to be organized the way the sports groups are organized or we will never be heard. The problem is apathy. On issues like this that affect several subdivisions it would be helpful to have an agreement to work together. Sommersby and Sunset Ridge probably need associations, too. My point is that it is a dumb way to run a city by “fixing” a bad ordinance through private agreements between developers and homeowners.

I share your skepticism. The RIGHT things for the commission to do would be to (1) Have an enforceable Comprehensive Plan, (2) Have well-conceived zoning categories within the plan, (3) Hold property owners to the requirements of the plan (allowing for reasonable variations), (4) Allow equitable input from the public.

When the commission enforces dissimilar rules on the public from the developers, and when they conceal commentary from public viewing (those pesky TV cameras), it is apparent that cronyism is afoot. This is NOT a good thing, Martha!

My reply: Because I’ve learned people won’t grant interviews unless the blog is more dignified, I prefer to be called Mrs. Washington.

At the risk of sounding overly cynical, am I the only one who has noticed that this report isn’t telling us anything that a college intern couldn’t copy & paste from the Cliff Notes version of his/her Land Use Planning textbook? Presuming that we’re paying more than $1.98 for this report, I expect to hear some actionable, specific details, not just generic platitudes.

Fly high, Bird. We’re lovin’ the birdseye view.

Chicken Little replies: It isn’t fair to judge the report from the summary I publish. Besides, I don’t need a lawsuit. I think there are some nuggets in it, but they are surrounded by a lot of detail and other recommendations that merely urge the staff to continue what it is doing. My concern is the report reads like a detailed narrative. I want to see how this is going to lead to a new comprehensive plan. There is no point if it doesn’t do that. The advisory comprehensive plan we are using now dates from the 1980s. The consultant is only halfway through his effort, and the bird has only seen the first ten minutes of the drama.I would not want to throw cold water on the city’s effort to do some real long-range planning. The alternative is scary. My impression is that the report is full of jargon that only a professional planner would love. My only idea was to put it into simple language that residents can read. My posts are a Reader’s Digest of the Murfreesboro 2035 study without humor pages and nothing about “the most unforgettable planner I ever met.” Maybe some original ideas got past me while I was dozing off. I don’t believe the ideas came from the Cliff’s Notes on Planning and Land Use. I think the recommendation that the city adopt a comprehensive plan with the force of law (instead of having an advisory plan) is worth the price of admission. I am also pleased that the consultant recommended adoption of a “business parks” zone. My personal belief is that there may not be answers to revitalizing downtown core areas. Thus, a consultant is almost forced to make “generic platitudes” because there are no magic bullets. I did like the idea of getting parked cars out of sight. Many people who live in New York City only drive a car when they leave town or go to a beach in New Jersey for a day. The consultant’s plan to build mix-use multi-story buildings would at least bring people to the core area on a permanent basis. If they live there, they might prefer to shop locally than get the car out and drive somewhere else. Hopefully, ideas from a professional planning consultant will carry more weight here than if you and I brought them up in the three minutes we are given to speak to council. You can tell there is a lot of research specific to Murfreesboro in this report. When the firm gave the council a midterm progress report, Councilman Rick LaLance said that there were many  facts and figures in the presentation that show much hard work. But he complained that there was not enough analysis (or solid recommendations) for him to say if the consultant is on the right track or needs a course change. That is my impression, too. I am overwhelmed by all the detail and don’t have a clear view of where the whole thing is going. But I haven’t read that much of the study yet, and what we are viewing is still a draft. But all the “continue to do” recommendations seem like a waste of paper to me. From what I’ve seen at planning commission meetings, the planning staff does a thorough job already on these “continue to do” recommendations. If a lawyer calls, tell him the bird is out.

Your cynical review of the Comprehensive Plan submittals is appropriate. Having worked with dozens of Architectural & Engineering firms (as a client) over the decades of my professional career, I can assure you that they all tend to pump-up the prose, and short-change the actionable details. We need to press for specifics, not just generic platitudes. My reply:

Gee! You mean there was boiler plate? I thought I was being sincere. There has been a lot of community outreach by the consultant, but the draft report was not written for the average citizen. Have to go. My urban fabric is done in the clothes dryer.

* jimwirshing commented on How To Get Up To Speed On The Murfeesboro 2035 Plan: Chapter One Thanks for the Executive Summary of Chapter One. The stage is set. Bring on the thespians. My reply: There are a lot of hams in this drama. * jimwirshing commented on Chicken Little Ruminates: Give The Comprehensive Plan Some Teeth I spent 23 of my 26 year USAF career in Civil Engineering. Every installation had a Base Comprehensive Plan, which included “zoning categories” and a Five Year Projection for future growth. Any anomalous deviations where highly scrutinized. Any community that intends to live on less than 5 acres per household MUST be intentional about their community planning. Murfreesboro’s current process is anything but intentional. My reply: An ‘advisory” comprehensive plan” is only slightly better than having no plan. From July 15, 2015

Let’s not forget, if you bought your gasoline in the city, but did most of your driving elsewhere, then you might be due a refund! With all due respect to the councilmen, the British phrase of “Swings and Roundabouts” seems to fit this situation. Sometimes you pay more than your fair share, sometimes less. At the end of the day, it usually works out to be about even. I’ve only been on the Greenway once in eight years – I’ll give you a voucher for a portion of my allotted time. My Reply: If the sky starts falling again, I’ll take you up on it. I’ll need a place to hide — Chicken Little.


As Paul Harvey used to say, “And now you know the rest of the story.”

Hi Laura, My understanding is that under state law, no city in Tennessee can annex an area without the consent of a majority of property owners there, but I haven’t researched this yet. I assume it is true because I have heard a couple of councilmen, like Mr. Smotherland, call us freeloadeers at meetings. This is absurd. When I attended the county budget meeting, the finance director said a percentage of every sales tax dollar we pay comes back to the place where the sale was made. In spite of what Councilman Washington says, a Dollar General and a Subway restaurant, hardly eliminate our need to shop in the city. The biggest item in any city’s budget by far is public schools. We support our own county school system. The only city service I use and don’t pay for is parks. I’ve also been to Centennial Park in Nashville many times, but I don’t think Nashville is about to annex Magnolia race over this. If my walks on the Greenway mean I deserve to be annexed I will gladly give them up.

I was totally amazed that the city council members with the exception of Councilwoman Harris felt they have “the world’s decisions” on their shoulders. They are merely council for a small town. They are much like the wizard in the Wizard of Oz. Look behind the booming voice and tall screen and there is only an insignificant, little man. My reply: Pay no attention to those men on the dais.

I was out of town last night, but I’m glad to hear it went well. I will do my best to be at the next one if possible.

From Laura: Submitted on 2015/07/10 at 10:05 pm I think two things became very clear from last night. 1) Mr Harney is the one who developed Magnolia Trace. Last night in his nice little story he indicated that he developed all of this land and had it all planned out from the start. Therefore if all of this was planned out from the beginning it proves he developed a subdivision with the intent of putting heavy industrial adjacent to it. If that is the case, it is insanity to trust him because the planning to do that from the beginning proves lack of concern for the residents. 2) The council tipped their hand when they made the comment that “we” don’t pay city taxes but enjoy ALL the benefits of Joe B Jackson and the related development. They may have said “you don’t live in the city and don’t have any impact on whether we get re-elected so we don’t care what you say”. But when it comes right down to it I don’t understand why they are so eager to write a blank check by rezoning to heavy industrial One council member wanted to put restrictions on the rezoning – well then it wouldn’t be “heavy industrial”, I don’t know what it would be – something that doesn’t exist in their zoning codes at this point. The only thing I can figure is Parks Harney has something to do with their election/re-election. I don’t believe they are paid that much as council members so I am not sure really what the ultimate motivation is – that is quite a mystery. . My reply: Laura, Great stuff. See my article thanking everyone who showed up last night for my views. Our country is built on laws not on giving men or women blind trust. I’ve heard Councilman Smotherman call us freeloaders who deserve to be annexed. How are we freeloading? By walking the Greenway? If annexation is the price, I will give it up. Communities everywhere build parks that outsiders use. I’ve been to Centennial Park in Nashville many times, but I don’t think Magnolia Trace is under any danger of being annexed by the Music City. We support our own county schools, so we’re not freeloading on their schools, which is the major budget item in any community. In fact, the county has been sharing some school money with the city, although it is cutting back this cycle. Finally, every time we shop in Murfreesboro, a percentage of the sale tax is rebated back to where the sales were made. And where else are we going to shop? Freeloaders? We deserve a tip of Councilman Smotherman’s hat, but I’ve never seen him wearing one. As for your last paragraph, stroll down to the election commission office on the courthouse square and ask to see the campaign reports of people sitting on the council. Pay attention to how much was spent to win the office and where a lot of it came from. I spent an entire day pouring over them. From Tony Engle: Submitted on 2015/07/10 at 7:26 pm This is the email I just sent to the entire council. I just thought you might want to pull some highlights from it to add to your comments. I know a lot of people are upset and speaking from the heart, but we’ll need tangible points to sway the council members minds. Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to post the maps from 1997-2014, but I can email them to you if you’ll send me your email address. (You can email me at __________________ I don’t want to take a lot of your time, but I would first like to thank Councilmember Madelyn Harris for motioning for a deferral. I feel had you not done so, members of the panel would have called for a motion to pass. It seems some of the Councilmembers minds are made up and that this would be a good thing for Murfreesboro and it’s communities. It was suggested this was going to pass even if it was deferred. I do not believe as it was stated that “growth hurts” and that the community should blindly trust their officials to “do the right thing”. I would like to simply point out some issues that I observed last night. 1) When I spoke last night, I mentioned that it was disingenuous of the presenter to show a map and state that this change is in line with the area and that it would affect only a small amount of people. Councilmember Rick LaLance disagreed with me and said the map was very helpful. I stated that it was disingenuous because I live less than a mile from that property and did not see my house within his 1 mile radius map. It’s my opinion that his map was incorrectly scaled to show a limited impact. I’ve included a picture that is correctly scaled and shows that within 2 miles…there is a large impact including schools, churches, innumerable homes, golf course, farms, commercial and light industry. (2014 Joe B Jackson Overlay.jpg) 2) I also reiterated the developer is offering to include contingencies to lessen the impact on the area. Why not have those restrictions in place prior to any passage of a re-zone? Until it is signed and in writing it is only words. I think that is very kind of them, but I’m not certain that in the long run it would matter. I f the developer were to ever sell the property, it would be imperative that those prohibitions be included in the deed for the land. Otherwise, another developer could simply buy the land and not be bound to any restrictions. I think the community knows that something is going to be built there and that it will create jobs. It doesn’t have to be something potentially harmful to the communities though. The area next to it was re-zoned HI some 10 years ago, however I think everyone would agree that whereas Amazon and HK often break the noise and light pollution codes, they are not necessarily detrimental to the area. 3) One of the Councilmembers asked why there wasn’t anyone to speak out against this re-zoning when it passed the planning commission. The answer to that question was overwhelmingly obvious. The communities were not informed and an un-informed public is easily taken advantage of. Thankfully there were a few that followed this development and organized as many as they could in the short time. That is why there was such an outcry at the council meeting and not at the planning meeting. It is also of note/concern that at the planning meeting the developer had a company in mind for the property that would not be too harmful to the area (but would require HI due to the constraints of the zoning laws), but that within a short time of it passing planning that company was no longer interested yet the developer wished to continue the re-zoning. 4) It was stated by Councilmember Ron Washington that the area was never planned nor intended to be a residential area. I have included a sequential map of the area from 1997 to 2014. I believe I heard that the original re-zonings to Industrial were in early 2000’s. Now I’m not a city planner, but when you look at the map sequence and see that the area was overwhelmingly residential prior to any industry re-zoning or moving there then I have to question whether it was truly intended for residential and later became industry and not the other way around as stated. Especially considering that a lot of the neighborhoods in question that supposedly were never intended to be there were there first (for years prior to rezoning) and built by some of the same developers. 5) Finally, it was stated by most of the Councilmembers that the residents had to have known that the area they were moving into was rated HI. The fact is the vast majority of the industry came in after the homes were already built, purchased and lived in for years by their owners. I feel that none of you can honestly say your realtor has ever told you that the home your about to buy could go way down in value. The only way to know that would be to pull zoning permits, to be on the planning commission, or “be in the know”. Which everyday citizens either don’t know how to do or are unable to do so. We rely on the realtor to tell us the negatives of the home and area. Those repeated comments simply insulted the community members and frankly made you appear unsympathetic and elitist. I hope we all want what’s best for Murfreesboro, Rutherford county and the area in question. All the community is asking is that there be a plan in place prior to a carte blanche stamp placed on the land. Again, I thank you for your consideration, time and service to the community. My reply: Tony, You nailed it. When I did my measurements, I found Magnolia Trace, Sunset Ridge, Del Sol and Sommersby are all within about 3,000 feet of the parcel. Draw a circle of about 1.5 miles and you take in a lot of additional developments. From memory, I believe the large circle includes Coldstream and the entrance homes at least on Irby and 12 Oaks. For my reaction to the meeting see my lead story. We didn’t lose tonight. I have a new offensive I am asking everyone to mount, and you won’t have to listen to a lot of boring jabber about the 1980s. We have to turn the page and get behind something positive. I tell you what it is in that article. Thanks and keep submitting stuff to the forum. From July, 9, 2015 From: janice mullins Submitted on 2015/07/09 at 2:13 am If time permits, a city school, Black Fox, and a county school-Whitworth-Buchanan Middle school are near the proposed site with 1000 students and teachers. From June 11, 2015 A reply to Janice Mullins from Mayor McFarland Submitted on 2015/06/11 at 6:24 pm Janice, Thank you so much for the email! I value your opinion and I know these are areas we will consider and talk about. Have a great weekend! Thank you, Shane McFarland Sent from my iPad From June 10, 2015 From Janice Mullins: Mayor McFarland, I want to voice my concerns about rezoning any of Joe B. Jackson highway. Heavy industrial brings great concern about our personal property values and health. Also, schools are very near Joe B. Jackson on both sides. Black Fox elementary and Whitworth Buchanan Middle School. The county built this new middle school only 5 years ago and to have heavy industrial as a close neighbor is detrimental to at least 1000 students in these schools. The schools are 2 miles from the proposed industrial plots and much closer as the crow flies. Finally, heavy industrial does not really seem appropriate way to honor Joe B. Jackson’s name. Please, reconsider any and all proposals to change the zoning here. I appreciate your help with this matter. Bill and Janice Mullins, 106 Ramsey Road in Magnolia Trace subdivision 37127. From May 12, 2015 From Tim Russo: I actually received a response from the mayor. It was brief, but he was thankful for my email. I answered a couple of questions for him. I also asked if he would be interested in meeting with a small group of us to have a civilized discussion about our concerns. I’ll provide an update as soon as I hear back. On another note, how can we change the road name? Joe B Jackson is just another politician and builder. I’m so tired of us naming roads and all after politicians.