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Amendment to apartment moratorium fails to pass

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A proposed amendment to Germantown’s recent resolution establishing a moratorium on multi-family developments failed to pass Monday night during the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s regularly scheduled semimonthly meeting.

Alderman Dean Massey requested an amendment to the city’s decision to enforce an 18-month freeze on new apartments within the city’s “smart code” districts.

Massey sought to strike out language from the original resolution that limited the moratorium to specific multi-family developments in certain districts within the city. He proposed that the moratorium be applied to all new multi-family developments (including condominiums and town houses) throughout the city.

However, City Attorney David Harris warned that the amendment would likely violate the Tennessee Vested Property Rights Act, which limits the powers of regional planning commissions and municipal planning commissions.

When asked by Mayor Mike Palazzolo if the proposed amendment would “put the people of Germantown in direct conflict with state law,” Harris suggested that any developments that have already gone through preliminary planning approval would be affected by the amended resolution.

“My advice to the board,” he said, “is not to take risks that may result in litigation. If the city were to impair, delay or obstruct projects that had preliminary plan approval, that would, on its face, violate the (Tennessee Vested Property Rights Act).”

Board members voted 3-2 to adhere to the city’s original resolution, which was passed on Jan. 8. Alderman John Barzizza and Massey voted in favor of the amendment.

Barzizza encouraged the board to create a “study committee” to research the necessity and impact of future multi-family developments during the 18-month moratorium. Board members said they were open to the idea.

Earlier this month, the board opted to impose the freeze on new apartments in an effort to slow down rapid development in the city.

Gibson added an amendment to the moratorium to rezone the corner at Germantown, Cordova and Neshoba roads back to single family residential.

Commonly referred to as the Cordova Triangle, the area had possibly drawn interest for a future multi-family development.

There are four developments that are already underway. These will not be influenced by the moratorium.

They are:

• TraVure – Poplar and Kirby – mixed use development on 10 acres – five-story office, retail and hotel

• Thornwood – Germantown and Exeter – mixed use development on 16 acres – hotel, retail, 278 apartments

• Forest Hill Heights – Winchester and Forest Hill-Irene to Crestwyn – mixed use development on 303 acres – hotel, retail and currently two apartment buildings (Watermark and Veridian) with more than 600 units

• City Center/Carter Property – Germantown Road and Miller Farms Road – mixed use development on 33 acres – hotel, retail/office and an estimated 300 apartment units

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