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Affordable housing becomes reality in Franklin

Developer Daniel Woods (left) and Steve Murray, executive director of Community Housing Partnership, achieved a victory Tuesday night for the affordable housing market when BOMA approved the Village at West Main development. Derwin Jackson (right), executive director of Franklin Housing Authority showed his support at the meeting.

The Village at West Main achieved a victory Tuesday night when Franklin’s Board of Mayor and Alderman voted to approve the affordable housing development.

The 35-unit complex will feature one-bedroom apartments with units under 600-square-feet. The price point is expected to be $625 a month.

After much debate over the past few months among constituents and community leaders, the project passed smoothly with little discussion on final reading– a contrast from last month’s public hearing.

“I don’t know two words [affordable housing] that produce such passion,” Alderman Margaret Martin, Ward 4, said during BOMA’s July meeting.

And passion, the project did ignite.

The project is a joint-venture affordable housing development between Daniel Woods, of The Addison Group, LLC and Community Housing Partnership of Williamson County.

“This is the first affordable housing development on West Main so it took some time and there were some learning curves on both sides,” Woods said.

According to Woods the project stemmed from the idea, “How can we make the community more diverse so that workers can live here – the police officers, teachers, waiters and everyone across the board.”

With a 6-2 vote, the lone dissenters – Aldermen Ann Petersen and Margaret Martin – said that the development’s location too close to the street on small acreage held them back from offering their approval.

About a dozen proponents of the project, including current and former members of Franklin Housing Commission, Franklin Tomorrow, Hard Bargain Association, and constituents voiced their support during BOMA public comments in July.
Previously, Steve Murray said that the Franklin community needs more opportunities for affordable housing.

“It’s not healthy for a community when it’s workers – it’s teachers, police officers and firefighters can’t afford to live where they work,” Murray said. “It’s up to Franklin to decide.”

Last night, with the decision finally made, Woods said he is glad that he can finally propel the project forward.

The property was scheduled to close yesterday, according to Murray. He said ground breaking should take place early next year. Murray also noted that “the door is still open” for Franklin Housing Authority to partner in the project, which was initially considered early on in the project.

“I’m not sure if this will open the flood gates to affordable housing, but it’s important that the discussion is being had,” Murray said.

Posted on: 8/14/2013


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