Flood plain rules, name change on agenda for Franklin City Council

Published 11:11 am Saturday, January 23, 2016

At the upcoming Franklin City Council meeting on Monday night, there will be a joint public hearing between the City Council and the City of Franklin Planning Commission regarding the Flood Plain Regulations. Also during the meeting, the council will hear a name change recommendation for the Franklin Business Incubator.

In a letter that Donald Goodwin, director of Community Development, sent to City Council, “This request comes to Council as a result of the City’s last Community Assistance Visit (CAV) from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) conducted on site May 24, 2013. It was noted that the City’s flood plain ordinance had not been updated to reflect the changes that had been made to the Code of Federal Regulation. In developing floodplain management ordinances, communities who want to participate in the national Flood Insurance Program must at least meet minimum regulatory standards in Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulation (44 CFR) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“We are encouraged to enact more restrictive requirement where needed to better protect people and properties from the local flood hazard,” he continued. “The most common higher standard is a freeboard requirement. A 24-inch or 2-foot freeboard requirement is being recommended in this amended ordinance.”

According to FEMA, “Freeboard is a term used by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to describe a factor of safety, usually expressed in feet above the 1-percent-annual-chance flood level.”

The recommended action for the City Council is to motion to repeal and readopt Article XXI: Flood Plain Regulations of the City of Franklin Zoning Ordinance to include the 24-inch free board higher standard.

During a previous City Council meeting, Councilman Benny Burgess brought to attention that the Franklin Business Incubator Board of Directors had been discussing the possibility of a change in the name associated with the facility.

A letter to City Manager Randy Martin from President and CEO of Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc., Amanda Jarratt, said, “Please be advised that the Franklin Business Incubator Advisory Board has recommended that the name of the Franklin Business Incubator be changed to the Franklin Business Center. The issue of potentially changing the name of the Franklin Business Incubator has been discussed at length in recent months.

Upon discussion with various stakeholders and research, staff would recommend that if the name were to be changed that it be changed to, ‘Franklin Business Center,’ she continued. “Upon research of City Council minutes it has been discovered that the original name of the facility was ‘City of Franklin Center for Business Development’ and was changed to ‘Franklin Business Incubator’ in 2004 prior to opening to client.”

Jarratt’s letter also stated that City Attorney Taylor Williams had indicated that there are no legal impediments to changing the name of the building and that it would only impact the sign outside and internal marketing materials.

The recommended action is for the City Council to take action to approve the name change.