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The road more traveled Purple-clad citizens seek delay in development until treacherous South Carothers is fixed

The color purple was en vogue in the gallery at Franklin’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting and work session on Tuesday.

More than 20 people donned purple to demonstrate united opposition to new residential developments along a notoriously treacherous stretch South Carothers Parkway until safety improvements can be made.

Skid marks and scarred trees signal many of the hazards of this narrow road, which rises blindly over crests, juts surreptitiously back and forth within short distances, and features three harrowing 90-degree turns in four harrowing miles between Highway 96 and Arno Road. Many of those who drive it regularly said they do so with white-knuckle caution, others not at all.

“The children who live along this corridor have to take this road to go to Page Middle and Page High School,” one purple-clad protestor told the aldermen during the work session. “School buses have to take that road, and it's dangerous. I drive a Harley, and I never, ever, take that road.”

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore allotted each group – those speaking in favor of development, and those against – about 15 minutes to make their respective points.

“There will be a public hearing when you will be allowed to speak individually,” Moore said.

Developers of Simmons Ridge already have approval to build more than 200 homes on the 88-plus acres off South Carothers Parkway. They currently seek BOMA's approval to increase sharply the number of homes it would build in the development while lower the price point. The concern for the opposition is adding what could be hundreds of new daily commuters to an already heavily traveled and dangerous road that creates outbound backups at Highway 96 during the morning rush hour.

“This is an extremely dangerous road,” another person said to the aldermen. “The infrastructure is simply not in place to support these developments.”

Representatives for Simmons Ridge said the submitted plans would make the existing road more safe by removing trees along traffic sight lines near the subdivision's entrance, adding a turning lane at the primary access point on South Carothers, and by refashioning a section of the road into a three-way stop.

The city is developing plans for a new corridor that would relieve much of the residential traffic along the jigsawed portion of South Carothers Parkway. However, it would be all but impossible for the road to be built before construction would begin on Summit Ridge subdivision.

Milissa Reierson, Franklin communications manager, told the Williamson Herald, that it would be three months before the plans for the road are finished.

“Then we’ll have to go to [BOMA] for construction funding,” she said.

Williamson County Commissioner Kathy Danner attended Tuesday's BOMA work session. Although she wore purple, she did not address the officials during the proceedings.

The board also authorized spending $17,500 on an unrelated traffic-flow study at Carothers Parkway and McEwen Drive.

In addition, officials deferred until the Oct. 23 work session further consideration of new requirements for fences and walls. One person spoke out during Tuesday's public hearing.

“I'm asking you to reconsider establishing this ordinance,” he said. “I'm against it.”

Ward 2 Alderman Dana McLendon was absent from Tuesday's meeting, as was city administrator Eric Stuckey, who was attending the City Managers Association Conference in Phoenix.


Posted on: 10/10/2012


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