Tuesday, January 26, 2010

City Council to Discuss Midtown Overlay at Next Meeting

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 2:13 PM

The Memphis City Council's planning and zoning committee moved forward today on a plan for a Midtown Overlay District.

The council directed the Office of Planning and Development to work with the Memphis Regional Design Center and the Midtown Development Corporation to develop the overlay, a way of setting design and development guidelines for an area.

"This was an outgrowth of the Overton Square controversy and the recognition that there are several more of these coming down the pipe for the Midtown area," said councilman Shea Flinn, the resolution's sponsor. "Midtown is not anti-development, but we want to be smart about it, and this allows us to do that."

At least one of the council members, however, had concerns about the overlay.

"I'm not sure that's always the answer: to redo a whole area because of one project," said councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware. "The feedback I'm getting from some people in Midtown is that they want to see development. They're tired of buildings sitting there closed."

Flinn said he had discussion with the owner of the Overton Square property and he was in favor of an overlay.

"He thinks this would be helpful on the front end. It lets the property owner know what residents want," Flinn said. "It's not anti-development; it's smart development. Everyone wants development in the Midtown area, but they don't want to destroy the Midtown character."

The resolution is scheduled to go before the full council for discussion at its next meeting, Tuesday, February 6th.

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