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Housing shortage hits; town homes to be built

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This county is growing, perhaps not by huge leaps and bounds, but as a county official recently said, it’s no doubt, growing.  

A new set of town homes is being built off Madison Street, just before the intersection with Wartrace Pike on Highway 64, by developers Smith Douglas Homes, homebuilders based in Georgia.  

The Smith Douglas properties is probably to be the first of more to come as Shelbyville faces a housing shortage, especially in residences with mid-range prices according to Shane Hooper, Economic Developer and chief executive officer of Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership.  

Hooper added, “Bedford will experience tremendous growth in the next decade. Our focus is on creating the most positive environment for economic growth. Judicious management for the desired growth is imperative.”  

Housing shortage  

According to the 2020 U.S. Census, Bedford’s population is now at 50,000. The county is growing at 1.1 percent each year, which yields about 550 new residents each year, Hooper said. Taking this number and dividing it by the average household in Bedford of 2.8 people computes to 220 housing units.  

“The 220 new housing units only account for the new need,” Hooper said. However, “Several additional factors will generate a need for even more new housing units.”  

The new town homes off Madison, called “The Landing at Townsend,” will offer 97 units starting in the mid- $200s and are slated to open for sale in October with move-ins occurring in the spring, according to the Smith Douglas sales and listing coordinator.  

Zoning  

The five or so acres the town homes will sit on, behind the Circle K convenience store, is split between commercial and high-density residential, according to Planning Commission chairman Warren Landers.  

The planning commission’s job is to take recommendations to ensure the city grows according to the land map criteria. “The City of Shelbyville can easily be sold to industry, but the people who work and run those industries, where are they going to live? Landers asked.  

“They’re working in Shelbyville, but buying in Murfreesboro. We do have a shortage of housing; any realtor will tell you that.” There is also a shortage in average-income rentals, places designed for people moving to Shelbyville for a job that may not be long-term, Landers said.  

And this shortage in housing and average-income rentals is not unique to Bedford.  

Elaine Middleton, economic developer for Fayetteville, said their city is going “through the exact same thing,” with a shortage in average-income places to rent. 

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