Board gives thumbs up to cemetery expansion

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 26, 2007

FRANKLIN—The Board of Zoning Appeals has granted a conditional use permit to the city for the expansion of Poplar Spring Cemetery.

The City Council is scheduled to discuss the matter at its regular meeting Monday.

The area where the first phase of the project will be constructed is in the R-O one-family residence district, and therefore required the permit.

There will be one entrance road to the area off of Homestead Road, and the new lots will not be connected with the rest of Poplar Spring because of wetlands and a ravine that separate the properties.

Public Works Department Director Russ Pace told the board that in the beginning, city officials met twice with residents adjacent to the property and addressed concerns, even redesigning the plan.

He said that at the final meeting, there was &uot;no opposition to the cemetery being built.&uot;

He also added that the cost of construction and the mitigation of the wetlands were estimated at $500,000.

&uot;I’m not telling you that (the properties) will never be connected,&uot; he said. &uot;But at this time, it is not budgeted for this phase.&uot;

The City Council is to discuss the matter at Monday’s regular meeting.

Phase 1 of the project includes about 502 lots, and remaining phases will include 1,750.

Ward 6 representative William Hopkins III was concerned about only one entrance and the fact that it is to be a gravel road.

Pace explained that the entrance abuts the historical Camp property and what is put down (as the roadway) is dictated by the state Department of Historic Resources—another expense for the city.

&uot;This thing has drug on and on,&uot; Pace said. &uot;People need (burial) spaces. We’re trying to keep the budget attainable so we can borrow the money and get it done.&uot;

Hopkins suggested it be recommended to the City Council that an initial portion of the driveway be paved in some way within a couple of years after the first site has been sold, citing there will be a lot of traffic with only one entrance, which will result in tracking on the road.

The board unanimously voted to grant the conditional use permit, adding a stipulation that the Franklin Beautification Commission review and approve the site plan. In addition, a proposed 25-foot natural buffer between the residences and cemetery will be recorded as a permanent landscape easement to &uot;ensure a long-term buffer for the surrounding residences,&uot; as recommended by the planning staff.

Alverce Holloway was not at the meeting.