Public hearing set for controversial development
By Kerri Bartlett, Assistant Editor
Last night the Board of Mayor and Alderman approved a public hearing upon first reading for a rezoning ordinance that could allow a controversial development to be constructed at 1416 Columbia Avenue, consisting of a two-story townhomes.
The public hearing is set for October 8.
“I am against this project but will vote in favor to get this to a public hearing. I would like to hear what more residents think,” Alderman-at-Large Brandy Blanton said.
Alderman Beverly Burger, Ward 1, agreed stating her opposition to the development, but support of a public hearing.
Ultimately, the public hearing passed 5-3, with Margaret Martin, Ward 4, Mike Skinner, Ward 3, and Ann Petersen, Alderman-at-Large, voting against. Previously, the Franklin Municipal Planning Commission voted to recommend disapproval of the rezoning request 7-0.
Holding conversations with city officials and preservation groups for months, Developer Daniel Woods, of the Addison Group, proposed rezoning the .38-acre property, located at the Columbia Avenue Power Spray Car Wash, from central commercial to residential variety.
The proposed development would house seven residential units consisting of 1,200 to 1,400 square feet each priced between the low $200,000’s to $250,000.
However, some preservation organizations oppose the rezoning of the historical site.
The property is considered historically significant because of its vicinity on the Columbia corridor that marked Confederate soldiers’ march to the Battle of Franklin.
“It [proposed development projects] needs to be sensitive to the look of the town. The townhomes face the corridor, are close to the road and comprise seven units on less than an acre of land,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County.
“When we start rezoning, land values escalate and affordable homes could be torn down. It’s a slippery slope.”
Pearce previously stated that she prefers the current zoning, which would allow two homes to be built or a small retail shopping center.
However, selling agent Larry Beagle said that the proposed development would improve the area.
“I haven’t seen one individual [resident] come to any meeting to speak against this plan. Not one neighbor has complained about it,” he said.
Woods, who serves on the Franklin Housing Commission, is also the developer of The Village at West Main, which the city approved in July.
The development, in collaboration with the Community Housing Partnership, will offer one-bedroom apartments that are 625-square-feet and priced at $600 a month.
They are located across the street from the county’s administrative complex.
Woods said that he doesn’t want to categorize the proposed Columbia Avenue development.
“I am happy to hear further discussion,” Woods said of the vote for a public hearing. “We don’t want to put a label on it. We have a competitive price point.
“The townhomes [which would include home offices] would allow residents to live close to downtown Franklin and work from home.”
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Posted on: 9/11/2013