Franklin releases draft Historic Overlay District protection guidelines before potential adoption

A sign protesting a proposed adaptive reuse project Franklin Grove Estate & Garden outside a home on North Margin Street inside the city's Historic Overlay Zone. The city released draft revisions to its Historic District Design Guidelines March 10 ahead of the city's consideration whether to adopt changes to the rules. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)
A sign protesting a proposed adaptive reuse project Franklin Grove Estate & Garden outside a home on North Margin Street inside the city's Historic Overlay Zone. The city released draft revisions to its Historic District Design Guidelines March 10 ahead of the city's consideration whether to adopt changes to the rules. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)

A sign protesting a proposed adaptive reuse project Franklin Grove Estate & Garden outside a home on North Margin Street inside the city's Historic Overlay Zone. The city released draft revisions to its Historic District Design Guidelines March 10 ahead of the city's consideration whether to adopt changes to the rules. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)

After a lengthy review, the city of Franklin on March 10 released the final draft revisions to the city’s Historic District Design Guidelines ahead of considering adopting the changes.

The guidelines are the rules used to determine if proposed exterior changes to buildings within the city’s local historic overlay zones are consistent with preserving historic integrity of the areas.


The updated guidelines will be considered by the Historic Zoning Commission’s Design Review Committee at a meeting at 4 p.m. March 21 and the full Historic Zoning Commission at 5 p.m. April 11. Both meetings will be at Franklin City Hall, 109 Third Ave. S., Franklin, according to the city.

The guideline changes will then need final approval from the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen at a yet-to-be-determined date.

The purpose of the update that began in September 2020 is to create a more user-friendly, graphic-focused document for use by homeowners, property owners and design professionals within Franklin’s historic districts, according to the draft document's introduction.


Franklin has four National Register Historic Districts and seven locally designated historic districts. The local historic districts are collectively considered the city’s Historic Preservation Overlay district, which requires any proposed exterior alterations to buildings be weighed by the city’s Historic Zoning Commission to determine whether they meet the guidelines.

If a Historic Zoning Commission review finds a proposed project is not consistent with the guidelines, the commission can deny the work a Certificate of Appropriateness, a hurdle that can often delay or threaten approval of the work by the city’s Planning Commission or Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The final draft of the Historic District Design Guidelines update is available on the city’s website here.

The updated regulations incorporate both citizen’s feedback from surveys, open office hours, and public meetings and feedback from the Historic Zoning Commission on necessary changes, according to the city.
By