Southbrooke development sparks housing affordability discussion at Franklin city hall

Franklin BOMA
The Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen discussed housing affordability at its Jan. 14 work session. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen discussed housing affordability at its Jan. 14 work session. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)

While considering a resolution to annex about 75 acres of property into the city of Franklin as a part of the Southbrooke development located near Lewisburg Pike, discussions of city and developer efforts to promote more affordable housing options in Franklin were raised.



City staff did not recommend the development be allowed in its current form, citing 77 lots in the plan not meeting the minimum lot width of 45 feet set by the city in its Envision Franklin plan.



The development plan was also voted down in the Franklin Planning Commission in a 3-4 vote.



However, developer Greg Gamble said the development with its slightly small lot sizes of 34-44 feet would provide more housing affordability and diversity in Franklin.



“We have heard over the past several years that the city of Franklin is looking for more affordability in its neighborhoods,” Gamble said. “We think that this smaller lot size allows for a large portion of home buyers that are going to be working at Berry Farms to be able to purchase a house within close proximity to their job.”



If approved, the annexed land would be the site for a development of 204 homes in two neighborhoods that would take about five years to develop, according to developer Greg Gamble.



Gamble said the price point for the houses on the smaller lot would be between $500,000-$600,000. If the smaller lots were taken away in order to make every lot conform to Envision Franklin’s lot size minimum, the price point of the houses would increase to about $700,000.



“I like the plan and I like the diversity in the houses and the lot sizes,” Alderman Clyde Barnhill said. “I would’ve loved to see a price point a little less than that on a 34-foot lot.”



City Administrator Eric Stuckey said none of the price points for the proposed houses in the development, even those in the smallest lots, fit the criteria for workforce housing.



“That’s a concern,” Stuckey said. “If you’re going to give something up, give up a standard, you’re still not getting what you’re looking for. You’re not getting workforce-priced housing. I think that’s an issue. ...It is more affordable, but it is not affordable.”



Vice Mayor Dana McLendon said the board should consider the impact of the lack of affordable housing in their community, and that they should make policies encouraging the development of homes with lower price points.



“We’re the ones who make policies that directly affect the price of a house. ...Until there’s a sustained commitment to doing something about it, it’s not going to change,” McLendon said. “If you don’t want want to do it, then okay. It’s a rational thing to say, ‘I will suffer the consequences of the absence of affordable housing,’ until you can’t get chicken nuggets, and then you will care. ...I’m talking about being able to hire people to work for you who will make chicken nuggets, or teach kindergarten or get on a firetruck to come save your life.”



McLendon added that problems with traffic congestion in Franklin were directly connected to the lack of affordable housing options in the city, leading to an increase in commuters who lived out of town but came to work in the city each day.



“If you let people live near where they work, they don’t get in the way as much,” McLendon said. “I promise you, if you’re sitting at this table in 2040 and you didn’t do anything about affordable housing, the pitchforks and the torches about traffic are going to be real by then.”



Alderman Beverly Burger questioned why the conversation shifted from the Southbrooke development annexation to affordable housing options in Franklin, and said $500,000 homes were more affordable for working families than $700,000 homes.



“I’m not here to talk about affordable housing tonight, frankly, but I would like to see a $490,000 home instead of a $700,000 home in this development,” Burger said. “We live in a free market. Are we as a government going to try to control the free market? I don’t think so. We have very expensive housing here because we have very expensive land prices, and we have a lot of fees to pay and a lot of policies to match up to and you name it. That’s what makes it very expensive in our area.”



Mayor Ken More said any time a developer came to them and spoke to city staff about providing better price points, the discussion surrounding affordable housing would be raised, and he encouraged developers to come to the board with development proposals that would help alleviate the lack of workforce housing options in the city.



“We’re all very sensitized that we need more housing for the people that work in Franklin,” Moore said. “[Homebuilders] need to be part of the solution also. It can’t just be state government and city government solving the problem. ... We’re at the tipping point. Our hotels are having difficulty finding people [to fill jobs]. Our restaurants are having difficulty finding people.”



A public hearing for the proposed annexation will be held at city hall on Feb. 11 before the first of three readings of the resolution.



MOST RECENT

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Tennessee. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Tennessee coronavirus cases rise by over 1,500 in 24 hours

The daily totals also include 767 cumulative deaths, 3,378 cumulative hospitalizations and an estimated 38,272 recoveries to date. Fifteen people have died of the virus since yesterday’s update.

The Williamson County board of commissioners approved a resolution to create a task force to reevaluate the county seal in an 18-5 vote on July 13. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County commissioners approve task force to reevaluate Confederate flag on county seal

The task force, narrowly approved by the county budget committee on July 6, will be composed of various community members and historians to determine if there is a “substantial need” to change the design of the county seal, as required by the Tennessee Historical Commission.

The Williamson County board of education voted to endorse the framework plan for the 2020-21 Williamson County School year at its July 13 meeting in an 11-1 vote. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County Schools board of education approves back to school plan

The framework plan gives students and parents the option to receive on-campus or online learning, with a minimum semester-long commitment to whichever they choose.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Rising number of active coronavirus cases moves Williamson County Schools to 'medium' spread back-to-school scenario

The number of active cases in Williamson County is nearly 1,200, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. This could affect how many students return to school on campus next month.

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Tennessee. (Community Impact staff)
Tennessee coronavirus cases rise by over 3,000 in 24 hours, the largest increase yet in day-to-day cases

The daily totals also include 749 cumulative deaths, 3,284 cumulative hospitalizations and an estimated 36,996 recoveries to date.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Tennessee. (Community Impact staff)
Tennessee coronavirus cases rise by over 1,900 in 24 hours

In Davidson County, there have been at least 12,935 reported cases. Williamson County has reported 1,670 cases.

Williamson County Schools released a reopening framework plan for students and families on July 9 before school begins in early August, with students given the option to receive on-campus or remote instruction. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Williamson County Schools’ 2020-21 plan plus four other Nashville stories

Here are five recent updates from Greater Nashville on plans for education in the fall, governmental moves toward increased public safety and more.

Williamson County Schools released a reopening framework plan for students and families on July 9 before school begins in early August, with students given the option to receive on-campus or remote instruction. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Williamson County Schools releases plans for optional return to on-campus learning in fall

The district will be in communication with the county health department to determine whether to adjust plans based on the number of active COVID-19 cases in the county.

(Courtesy Pixabay)
Columbia State Community College to offer hybrid of virtual, in-person instruction for fall semester

The college, which has a campus in Franklin, said all lecture courses will be live streamed via Zoom, allowing students and faculty to interact in real time.

The Tennessee State Capitol Commission voted July 9 to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from the state capitol. (Screenshot via www.tn.gov)
Commission votes to remove Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from Tennessee Capitol, but it will not be moved just yet

The final decision on moving the bust will be made by the Tennessee Historic Commission.