Public hearing set for Habitat rezoning

Published 10:17 am Saturday, June 12, 2010

FRANKLIN—Southampton/Franklin Habitat for Humanity’s request to rezone a piece of property so it can build two new homes is up for public hearing before the City Council on Monday, June 14, at 7 p.m.

Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that provides interest-free loans to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to purchase a home, has requested a conditional rezoning of a .48-acre piece of property at Gardner and North Franklin streets downtown. The area is currently zoned for general business and the request is to rezone it to a general residence district.

In April, the Planning Commission voted to recommend that the City Council deny the rezoning request after a public hearing where concerns were raised about the risk for flooding and the proximity to certain businesses.

When asked about her thoughts on the request, Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson said Friday the potential for flooding at the site is a concern.

“I am willing to listen,” she said. “I’m going to listen to people on both sides—and staff—and hear everything out.”

Mayor Jim Councill said he is also waiting to hear from citizens, as well as the justifications behind the Planning Commission’s recommendation, before deciding on the rezoning request.

Powell Farms Rentals, LLC, the property’s current owner, approached Habitat’s Board of Directors about donating the property, said Nita Holt of Southampton/Franklin Habitat for Humanity.

Holt said building on donated lots would cut the costs for the new homeowners.