Breezeway school gets unanimous approval from BOMA -- on to Planning Commission for approval of site design
By Donna O'Neil, Staff Writer
An expedited rezoning process for a new elementary school in the Breezeway subdivision on Clovercroft Road in Franklin that began publicly with the first reading at the Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting July 27, came to a close Tuesday with relatively little fanfare with the board’s unanimous support, 7-0.
Only Alderman Beverly Berger was not in attendance at the Tuesday night meeting and Alderman Margaret Martin reversed an earlier vote against the rezoning to make it unanimous.
Parents in the neighborhoods surrounding the property and at overcrowded schools in eastern Williamson County contacted both school and city officials with their concerns and raised their concerns at a series of public forums and hearings held by both the city and Williamson County Schools. What began with city officials and school officials as polar opposites came to a meeting in the middle with the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding, an Interlocal Agreement, outlining the responsibilities of both the city and the School District.
Prior to the vote to approve rezoning the 22.7-acre lot that could have platted 29 homes, BOMA approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the School District. In part, the MOU defines the roles of both parties, essentially a legal handshake for both parties to work together.
Franklin Mayor John Schroer reversed the order of business at Tuesday’s meeting to consider new business before old business, so both documents could be in place before the rezoning was considered.
In part the document states, “Both the WCBOE (Williamson County Board of Education) and the COF (City of Franklin) recognize and agree that engaging in a legal dispute regarding this disagreement is not in the best interests of the parents of students of Williamson County and the citizens of Franklin, Tenn.” At a previous BOMA meeting, Alderman Dana McLendon said, “There is one lawsuit that doesn’t make sense. It’s a lawsuit where both sides are being paid by the same people.”
He amended the interlocal agreement to add language giving the city a chance to respond to submissions regarding sanitary sewer and contributions rather than just accepting the county’s submittal.
The MOU concludes with the stipulations that the WCBOE will “reserve asserting its legal position relative to the application of the Franklin Zoning Ordinance,” when requesting to rezone the property. And the city of Franklin, “will expedite it’s review procedures as discussed at the administrative meeting between” both parties.
The Interlocal Agreement outlines the additional responsibilities of the School District in order to make the project work for the site. It includes: paying additional tap fees for sanitary sewer access, traffic signal installation at the intersections of McEwen and Wilson Pike and Clovercroft and Wilson Pike, other traffic mitigation issue, landscape improvement, and the funding terms for these items.
City Administrator Eric Stuckey told aldermen the school will contribute $1 million toward these and other traffic measures and the city will have a two-year timeframe to spend the money due to constraints of the bond issuance.
“I think it is a good deadline for us to move forward,” Stuckey said, adding he suspected the bond would be sold in October.
“This is a testament to what can happen when governmental agencies work together for the good of the boys and girls,” said Superintendent of Williamson County Schools Dr. Mike Looney.
He said, “I feel good about the vote last night. I feel we did our homework and did everything we could to argue our point of view and enter into a good faith arrangement and partnership with the city.”
School officials will meet with the Franklin Planning Commission Thursday, Aug. 26 for a site review plan. Looney doesn’t expect any surprises in that meeting as the school building plan set for the Breezeway property is the same used for the Pearre Creek Elementary School in the Westhaven community.
Posted on: 8/26/2010