Michelle Willard, Daily News Journal, May 23, 2016
MURFREESBORO — Neighbors are disappointed by a recent Murfreesboro Planning Commission vote in favor of plans for a proposed apartment complex on Manson Pike that could threaten a historic home.
“It saddens me for the history. It saddens me for the cave system,” Heather McQuiddy said after learning the Murfreesboro Planning Commission gave its initial approval to redesigned plans for a controversial apartment complex on Manson Pike.
The Murfreesboro Planning Commission unanimously approved Wednesday afternoon the initial design from Bonavic Development for a 270-unit complex, called Springfield Luxury Apartments.
Springfield Luxury Apartments features two- and three-story buildings, some with garages on the first floor and others with standalone garages. The new design also preserves the historic house as an amenity, said Margaret Ann Green, principal planner, Murfreesboro Planning Department.
“We changed the site design several months ago to preserve the existing home and many of the mature trees surrounding the home. That site design was approved by the city through the PRD zoning process and is now in place to ensure the home’s preservation,” said Charles Haskett of Bonavic Development.
At an emotional public hearing on annexation and rezoning requests for the same project in November, McQuiddy, who describes herself as “not a history buff,” and others expressed concerns about noise, security, traffic, privacy and density, but mainly they spoke out about threats to the local watershed and concerns for the future of a historic home on the site.
The home, commonly called Springfield, was built between 1805 and 1810, said John Lodl, the director of Rutherford County Archives. It was home to the Smith, Washington and Crockett families. He added that one of the homeowners was a fifth cousin to President George Washington.
“The house is amazing,” McQuiddy said. “The city could have done something to save it.”
McQuiddy’s pleas in November didn’t fall on deaf ears.
At the November hearing, Councilman Ron Washington moved to defer action, giving Bonavic Development time to come up with a plan to develop the land while protecting the home and watershed.
The developer came back with a plan Wednesday. The commission gave the initial design its approval, but the plans must be approved a second time because the property is in the Gateway Overlay District.
At the meeting Thursday, Haskett explained the complex’s design was inspired by the early American architecture of the Springfield house and “in keeping with architectural intent” of the historic home.
McQuiddy still wasn’t satisfied by the new design, saying she would be happiest if the piece of U.S. and Tennessee history could be preserved and used for educational purposes.
“Whatever they do, the house isn’t set up for history, it’s set up for an apartment manager. It’s a disgrace to be honest with you,” she said.
Reach Michelle Willard at 615-278-5164, on Twitter @MichWillard or Rutherford County Business News on Facebook at facebook.com/DNJBusiness.