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Residents oppose retirement community

About 930 residents in Franklin have signed an online petition against the proposed Del Webb retirement community, which would be located off Cotton Lane and Del Rio Pike if approved by the city of Franklin. 

The “Say No to Del Webb” group will hold a community meeting Nov. 5.  Pam Horne

Members of the Whitehall Farms subdivision homeowners’ association have banned together in opposition to the development. 
Whitehall Farms, developed in 2000, is located within Williamson County’s jurisdiction, but the property under consideration is a part of the Urban Growth Boundaries and potentially within the development jurisdiction of the city of Franklin.
Whitehall HOA spokesperson Cindy Bhavsar created an online grassroots opposition group that is presented by the Facebook Page “Say No to Del Webb.” The page links to the petition, which includes 19 pages of resident signatures. 
The group will conduct a community information session Tues., Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Williamson County Administrative Complex, 1320 W. Main St. in Franklin.
Bhavsar said the group’s main concerns are the high density of the proposed development and additional traffic on already highly trafficked rural roads. “We are adamantly opposed,” Bhavsar said. 
“It’s not only about this development, but about the vision of the City. If this development is allowed to happen what else would they let in that’s so densely populated. People moved here because of the vast acreage and smaller density lots. We don’t want to lose the character that makes Franklin so special.”  
The group represents, not only those opposed residents in Whitehall, but all surrounding residents who wish to voice their concerns about the development.
The developer— the Pulte Group—issued a request for annexation on Sept. 10 to the city of Franklin for the 700-home retirement development which would offer units with prices ranging from $300,000-$500,000. 
The request to the city was issued in a letter from Bruce Sloan of the PulteGroup on behalf of the property owner Robert Rogers of Murfreesboro. 
Sloan, Tennessee President for PulteGroup, the parent company of Del Webb, is currently working with city officials and meeting with local residents about the project. Sloan says he believes that the development could be beneficial to Franklin.
"We are asking the City of Franklin to annex 400 acres located in the northwest quadrant of Franklin’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and designated as land to be developed.  We are working through that process with city staff,” Sloan said. 
“While we haven’t submitted official plans for the development, we have been meeting with neighbors, local officials and business leaders to share the benefits of having a Del Webb community that could meet the housing and lifestyle needs of the aging population and bring new revenue to the city.” 
At a Franklin Board of Mayor and Alderman work session earlier this month, the body discussed the annexation request of the property, known as the Rogers Farm, located at 3021 Del Rio Pike near Cotton Lane.
Although no decisions or voting has taken place on making the future development a reality, city staff is currently working on a required “Plan of Service” to examine the annexation request for the property. The plan would include assessing the range of city services— water, sanitation, streets and the feasibility of a recreation center, according to Vernon Gerth, Assistant City Administrator for Community & Economic Development. 
Preliminary discussions of that plan could be presented to Franklin alderman as early as the BOMA Nov. 12 work session. No votes are taken during BOMA work sessions.

Posted on: 10/30/2013


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