A 176 Victory Station Apartments proposal will come before the Murfreesboro Planning Commission May 15. Scott Broden, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
The fast-growing Blackman community may gain 176 more apartments, according to plans for a Murfreesboro complex on Fortress Boulevard.
Plans for Victory Station Apartments on 11.6 acres on the west side of Fortress just south of Lazarus Way are scheduled to come before the Murfreesboro Planning Commission during a 1 p.m. May 15 meeting at City Hall.
Victory Station is a Planned Unit Development (PUD) that dates back to 2000 and has been modified since then. A unanimous City Council that includes Kirt Wade approved an amendment to the plan April 2018 to allow apartments near the full Blackman schools.
"As our city continues to progress, there is a need for all types of housing," said Wade, a Blackman area resident. "The new millennials are moving into apartment complexes because they cannot afford a house."
Because of growth off a five-lane Fortress Boulevard connected to Interstate 24, the Rutherford County Board of Education scaled down the Blackman High zone and will move some students to Rockvale High, which opens in August on New Salem Highway.
Blackman High began this school year with 2,412 students and depends on four portable classrooms. Nearby Blackman Elementary has dealt with overcrowding and began the year with seven portable classrooms to help serve an enrollment of 958 students.
This photo shows what the planned 176 Victory Station Apartments may look like, according to Murfreesboro City Council records.
Wade: Development should follow city’s 2035 Plan
Councilman Wade said he favors all types of housing as long as they fit into the city’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan.
A number of apartment complex developments have popped up in the Blackman community in recent years.
"We must make the right decisions on allowing apartment complexes to be built in our city," Wade said. "Every apartment complex should be done by a case by case study."
This rendering shows plans for 176 Victory Station Apartments off Fortress Boulevard near Blackman schools.
Commuters frustrated by apartments
Councilman Ronnie Martin is among the Murfreesboro Planning Commission members who will review the Victory Station Apartments. He lives in the Puckett Station development on Fortress Boulevard, about a mile north of the proposed apartments.
"What I try to do is make sure that the staff is comfortable with any PUD or site plan and that they feel like it’s consistent with the history of what we expected from other developments in Murfreesboro," said Martin, adding that it’s important to respect existing development rights.
Many residents are annoyed with apartment complexes with 300 units dumping traffic onto two-lane roads, said Martin, who joined the council after winning a four-year term August 2018.
"It’s frustrating for people commuting to work," Martin said.
Martin wants condominiums
Martin said he’d rather see more mixed-use, higher density plans with condominiums that residents own instead of rent.
"If we are going to continue to grow, we would rather have home ownership," said Martin, adding that mixed-use condominium developments are popular in Nashville.
A higher-density, mixed-use plan that includes retail and commercial on the first floors of buildings and condominiums above allows people to walk to nearby restaurants, shops and offices, and takes "cars off the road," Martin said.
Such developments reduce the demand on infrastructure needed for a 200-acre housing development, he added.
"We want less sprawl and more walkability," Martin said.
California developer seeks apartments
The existing Victory Station development offers a mix of uses, including Victory Pointe, a single-family residential subdivision to the north, and The Crossings at Victory Station, an assisted care living development to the south of the proposed apartments
Across Fortress Boulevard, another part of the PUD includes Cross Creek at Victory Station apartments, church, some commercial lots and the proposed Villas at Stones Retreat townhome development, city records show.
The land for the planned apartments is owned by Joe Swanson Jr. of Murfreesboro-based Swanson Developments. The developer on the project is Steadfast Companies from Irvine, California, according to city records.
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What should be the city’s focus be for future development? Reach Scott Broden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-278-5158, and follow him on Twitter @ScottBroden.