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Citizens encouraged to take Franklin housing survey online


Alderman Ann Petersen chats with BBC consultants Mollie Fitzpatrick left, Peter Compton, and Heidi Aggeler at the public-input housing analysis meeting at Franklin City Hall last week.   Kerri Bartlett

Whether single or multi-family home with a yard, swanky condo, apartment, or senior housing, Franklin staff and consultants want to know your next move. 
Some residents say—more affordable housing. Some say—no more apartments.
Either way, the city encourages stakeholders to raise their voices (residents and commuters) about housing in the city.
BBC demographic reports based on the U.S. Census

• The population of Franklin has grown about 58 percent in the last 12 years reaching 66,278 by 2012 – a growth rate higher than the county.

• The number of adults 45-64 has increased by about 10,000, or nine percent.

• Half of the senior population has a disability.

•The minority population has grown in the number of Asians and Hispanics living in the city although the number of African Americans has decreased slightly.

• About seven percent of families live in poverty, while 12 percent of children live in poverty.

•Median family income is $63,800 per year.  Median home price is $419,600.
Last week, rounds of talks concerning housing in Franklin drew the ears of interested leaders from around the community, including developers, realtors, employers, nonprofit leaders, elected officials and stakeholders.
Consultants from the Denver-based BBC Research & Consulting, hired by the city, held a series of community input meetings over a two-day span for the Franklin Housing Needs Analysis. 
“What do you want to see in Franklin? What are your housing needs– what does Franklin need more of, less of,” said Heidi Aggeler, managing director of BBC.
The firm collected data from meeting attendees and plans to present their comprehensive findings to the city next month. The study, funded through the Building and Neighborhood Service, will cost $59,700. 
The community is encouraged to participate in the data collection process by completing a housing survey, which can be found at 
Residents and commuters will be able to answer questions about their current and future housing decisions. It is designed to help city staff understand the complex decisions people make when choosing a place to live and work and how those decisions may change over time. Responses are anonymous and confidential and will be reported in combination with other responses.
The need for a housing analysis grew from the Franklin Housing Commission’s desire to identify housing trends and gaps in the Franklin housing market as the city continues to grow. 
“With growth in our residential and non-residential population, we are trying to make sure that we are meeting the needs of the community and the people who live here,” said Vernon Gerth, assistant city administrator.
The study is designed to identify and address any “gaps” in the housing market in Franklin and offer strategies for future planning.
Community input
Among some real estate and nonprofit leaders, the lack of availability of affordable and senior housing options, or housing ‘gaps,’ emerged as themes. Some stakeholders also said that a gap in housing also exists for young couples with children.
During the talks, the consultants delivered a presentation on current demographic and housing patterns in Franklin. 
Also findings showed that about 43,000 people commute to Franklin each day, many of whom cannot afford to live [rent or own] in the city, although they make up about 85 percent of the work force.
It was also mentioned by an audience member that “affordability is going away from the place that people have called their neighborhood for years.”
“Homes below $300,000 are getting harder and harder to find. I’m worried that my children can’t live here,” a father in Franklin said about his young adult children. 
Some residents also expressed concern about the condition of Franklin’s aging neighborhoods consisting of lower-priced homes absent from renovation. A long time male resident cited a trend that when investors purchase the lower priced homes, they are turned into rental property and “not renovated like they should be.” 
He posed the question, “What is the city going to do to help those older neighborhoods?”
Some realtors have also observed the trend.
However concerns about infrastructure was also discussed.
“Instead of talking about more affordable housing, we should be talking about infrastructure,” said Sam Whitson, Franklin resident of 13 years. 
“That’s what makes housing affordable. I would like to see improvements in infrastructure first because of the intolerable traffic situation before we build large housing developments.”

Posted on: 1/16/2014


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