Public hearing set for zoning decision

Published 11:11 am Saturday, September 4, 2010

FRANKLIN—A long-vacant unfinished duplex at the corner of South and Wilson streets could soon be sold and finished — if the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals gives the go-ahead to complete construction.

The board is holding a public hearing on the issue at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, at City Hall. Clinton Smith wants to buy the property from its current owner, New York Mellon Successor Trustee Bank.

“His contract is contingent upon the (Board of Zoning Appeals) approving his appeal to continue construction,” said Community Development Director Donald Goodwin.

In 2004, when the building was permitted, the city’s zoning ordinance allowed duplexes in that district. However, the City Council later voted to amend the ordinance so that duplexes are not allowed in that district.

Since it had already been properly permitted, the duplex was considered a legal non-conforming use, according to Goodwin. In 2007, the developer ran into problems, construction halted, and that’s where the issue began.

“Once it becomes vacant and there’s no activity for two years, it has to revert to a permitted use,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin said he isn’t necessarily against allowing the structure to be completed, but wanted the Board of Zoning Appeals to look into the matter.

“Depending on the board’s decision on it, that will give me direction on how to proceed in my future decisions,” he said.

The duplex was part of the grant project that rehabilitated the Langston Street area. It was set to replace some rental units that were removed during the project.

Goodwin said recent changes in state statute could mean that the amended city ordinance doesn’t apply because the building had been previously permitted.