City removes trees by IW-Franklin Skating Rink

Published 10:56 am Friday, October 13, 2017

The City of Franklin has cleared a parcel of land it owns in Isle of Wight County of all trees in preparation to market the land to potential buyers for industrial development. The parcel, designated on county zoning maps as 69-01-042, is located adjacent to the now-closed Isle of Wight-Franklin Skating Rink and borders both U.S. Route 258 and Carrsville Highway.

City Manager R. Randy Martin confirmed on Thursday that the city had hired a contractor to clear the land in late September, and that it plans to sell the resulting timber. Another city-owned parcel in Isle of Wight County near the Franklin airport is also slated to be cleared of trees in the near future.

“We’ve had it designated as an industrial park,” Martin said. “We’ll re-seed it in case it doesn’t sell soon, but we are hoping to intensify our marketing efforts to see something done with that property.”

He added that the city recently had a potential buyer express interest in the property, but the deal fell through and that was why the city decided to go ahead and clear the lot.

Trenton Blowe, a planner with Isle of Wight County’s department of planning and zoning, said the property is zoned limited industrial. The county’s municipal code defines this as “suitable for industrial activities that do not create appreciable nuisances, hazards or threats to the natural environment or surrounding development,” and further specifies that “this district is intended to provide for a variety of industrial operations, which are capable of meeting modern performance and environmental standards appropriate to a business/industrial park setting and location.”

A complete list of all business types permitted by right in this zone can be found in the county’s municipal code here.

All other uses would require a conditional use permit, which would necessitate the applicant appearing before the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

Regardless of who, if anyone, purchases the lot, the trees in back of the Isle of Wight County welcome sign at the intersection of Route 258 and Carrsville Highway will remain, as the city does not own that particular parcel.

The additional parcels to be cleared near the airport are designated 69-01-42 ,69-01-42C, and 69-01-43A, and are also zoned limited industrial.

Martin said that the city will also soon begin negotiations with Isle of Wight County concerning the future of the skating rink building, in which the city has partial ownership rights.