Board says ‘no’ to Bank Street townhouses proposal

Published 9:11 am Saturday, July 30, 2011

FRANKLIN—The Franklin Planning Commission on Thursday agreed unanimously not to recommend rezoning a portion of Bank Street for 34 government-subsidized townhouses.

The decision is only a recommendation; City Council will have the final say.

Dr. Dan Peak, chairman for the Planning Commission, said neighbors against the proposal and a concern over the ratio of rental property to homeowners in the city led to the board’s decision.

“We would rather see single-family dwellings,” Peak said.

Out of a total of 3,595 housing units in Franklin, 1,713 or roughly 47.6 percent are renter-occupied, according to estimates from 2005 to 2009 by the American Community Survey.

The Bank Street property was formerly Suburban Gardens, a development of 75 units that was closed more than three years ago.

There is no moratorium on building rental units in the city. The city’s comprehensive plan states that rezoning for multi-family rental housing should be carefully considered until the percent of rental housing drops.

The denial leaves the Redevelopment and Housing Authority Board with a few options.

Board member and City Councilman Benny Burgess said the board could still ask City Council for approval. The board could also build single-family rental homes, which would be in line with zoning, or develop something the Planning Commission would support.

“We’re walking a fine line between what meets the needs of the city and what meets the housing needs,” Burgess said.

Another concern for the board is the possibility of having $400,000 in Department of Housing and Urban Development funding recaptured if a project does not get HUD approval in the next 60-90 days, Burgess said.