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Letter to the Editor: Brownland Farm proposal a threat to public safety

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To the Editor, 

In 2001, Scenic America, a national conservation group, named the Harpeth River Valley as No. 8 on its Last Chance Landscape List of the Top Ten Most Endangered Scenic Places in America. In summary, they said, “Located in Tennessee’s Great Central Basin of fertile river valleys, wetlands, watersheds, forest, and rolling hills, the Harpeth River Valley contains a rich collection of scenic, cultural, rural and historic resources. From its quaint roads lined with stone walls to its collection of Native American historic sites, the Valley is a treasure that is likely to be buried soon under a landslide of residential developments, road construction projects, and environmental issues.” 

This August, USA Today listed the top 10 hottest housing markets in the U.S. Franklin was No. 10. They described it as “roughly 21 miles from downtown Nashville, it is an easy drive to this music and historic-filled town. The area also has rolling hills, farms, open space and gorgeous landscapes.” 

What USA Today failed to mention are the ever-increasing traffic and the ever-increasing intensity of rain and flooding events which are putting citizen taxpayers, residents and homeowners’ safety and pocketbooks in jeopardy.  

I think top 10 lists are beneficial because they call attention to important issues. I submit we should put the proposal of putting 470 residential houses on the Brownland Farm property at the corner of Hillsboro Road and Mack Hatcher Parkway as No. 1 on the list of endangering the public’s safety. 

It is said that a public office is a public trust. Elected and appointed officials are expected to act in the best interests of those they are serving. Their decisions should be for the greater good of the community they serve. Why, then, is the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA) not listening to the Franklin Planning Commission when the planning commission, with all its expertise, recommended that the Brownland Farm proposal be denied?  

They stated that this huge development does not follow the Envision Franklin plan. This plan was adopted from community input as to how Franklin should deal with growth and development. The planning commission stated that 52 acres of this proposed plan are in the floodplain. The Envision Franklin Conservation Design states, “… that conservation of floodplains has an inherent long-term value. The preservation of floodplains has a direct public safety purpose and helps minimize property damage during periods of flooding. Disruption of any conservation area should be limited to preserve the function, form and character of the area.” The planning staff firmly stated that they heard loud and clear in the Land Use Plan update that preserving floodplain was of extreme importance to the citizens and elected and appointed officials.  

Therefore, the planning staff stated they stand by Envision Franklin and cannot support any development within the current limits of the floodplain. Franklin taxpayers pay the planning staff, and BOMA should listen to their expertise and wisdom in making decisions which impact public safety as well as what the citizen taxpayers envision for their city.  

I lament, that is not the case. So, it is imperative that citizens from Monticello, Fieldstone Farms, Cottonwood, Del Rio, Old Natchez Trace and Temple Hills show up and stand up to stop this Brownland Farm development, which will exceedingly exacerbate our current and future flooding problems. This is a public safety and private property issue. Who will be liable when the inevitable fierce and formidable flooding is forced on us because BOMA did not heed their planning commission’s sage, safe advice?  

Our picturesque farms and fields are vanishing before our eyes. We must do all we can to ensure the treasures we are blessed and entrusted with will exist for future generations.  

Please show up at Franklin City Hall on Sept. 14 at 6:45 p.m. to sign up to speak in the public hearing. If you can’t speak, then please come and stand with us.  

Laura Turner 

Franklin

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