Southbrooke housing development undergoes further scrutiny at Franklin BOMA meeting

Commissioner Betsy Hester speaks to the board at the public hearing.

Commissioner Betsy Hester speaks to the board at the public hearing.

Discussions continued at Franklin City Hall on the planned Southbrooke development during the Aug. 12 Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, and some residents shared their thoughts on the large housing development planned for Lewisburg Pike.

The BOMA voted 5-4 to advance the annexation for the property to a third and final reading, which will likely take place Aug. 27.

The plan of services passed 6-2, with Blanton and Bransford opposing, and the zoning ordinance and development plan were tabled until the Nov. 12 BOMA meeting, which will be after local elections have taken place.

The 318-acre development will have 358 detached homes and 749 total units, and its design characteristics will resemble Westhaven and Berry Farms. Some of the homes will be on smaller lot sizes than Franklin’s long-term planning document recommends, according to previously-presented plans for the project.

Greg Gamble, the founder of Gamble Design Collaborative, is representing the project before the BOMA. Gamble told Community Impact Newspaper that the development will help the city keep up with traffic thanks to job growth in the nearby Berry Farms mixed-use development, as well as other job centers in the area.

“We have 49,000 people who have to drive in to Franklin every day. We see it on the roads, we see the traffic,” Gamble said. “As more office [development] comes in, if we don’t build supporting hotels and residential and all those kinds of things around Berry Farms, where are the people going to come from who work there?”

Home prices will range from $250,000 to $1 million, Gamble said, and 60-70 will be built per year over 12 years.

Alderman Margaret Martin said she is concerned about growth, but that the location is fitting for development.

“This is in our [Urban Growth Boundary], it’s by the interstate and it’s developable right now,” Martin said. “I think we would not be very farsighted if we did not look at it right now.”

Alderpersons Brandy Blanton, Clyde Barnhill, Pearl Bransford and Ann Petersen voted against the annexation.

“I don’t think right now is the time, I don’t,” Blanton said. “I think we’ve got to be cognizant of the growth that's already at Berry Farms, and the growth that's coming at Stream Valley ... I’m not saying no, I’m just saying not now.”

Five nearby residents spoke in opposition to the development, including county commissioners Betsy Hester and Judy Herbert, who both brought up traffic and infrastructure concerns.

Herbert asked the board to limit the amount of houses in the plan, raising the concern of another property tax raise that she said would be needed to cover the costs of infrastructure and education for new residents.

“If you put over 700 houses on these 300 acres, what you're doing is you’re voting for a tax increase, because that’s a new school," Herbert said.

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