The Franklin Metropolitan Planning Commission voted 6-1 April 25 to recommend passage of plans for the Refuge Center’s, including annexation into the city and rezoning the land to the General Office district.
The facility, currently located at 103 Forrest Crossing Boulevard, Ste. 102, Franklin, offers professional, affordable counseling services. According to its website, the center needs a bigger facility in order to serve more clients.
“With the need for our counseling services at an all-time high, it is imperative that The Refuge Center find a larger, permanent home,” officials said via the website.
Pike Williams, a Franklin therapist who has worked with the Refuge Center since 2013, said at the meeting that he believes the property is a “great fit for the Refuge Center and our mission.”
“The mission of Refuge is really this—to provide excellent and affordable professional counseling services in order to educate, empower and support individuals, couples and families in need,” he said.
Alderperson Ann Petersen, who also serves on the planning commission, was the sole vote against the plans, but did not comment during the meeting as to why she voted against the project.
Some residents of Long Lane and the Ladd Park neighborhood oppose the counseling center citing its potential effects on traffic, nearby green space and what they believe to be potentially dangerous entrance into the site, which is just over the crest of the hill on Long Lane.
Dan Oswald, who lives next door to the property, told Community Impact Newspaper that he moved to the area for the privacy and green space.
“I said to the aldermen, ‘How would you guys feel if your neighbors sold their house and turned it into a clinic that served 100 people a day, paved the back yard, turned it into a parking lot and put lights in?’” he said.
Michelle Sutton, a resident of Ladd Park, told Community Impact Newspaper that the property should not be rezoned commercially.
“I’m not opposed to change and growth, but it has to be smart, and the infrastructure needs to support it,” she said. “Right now, with this, the infrastructure doesn’t support it and it’s not a smart move on behalf of the city.”
The next BOMA meeting is May 14, during which the proposal will be presented to the aldermen and discussed.
This story incorrectly identified Michelle Sutton as the president of the Ladd Park Homeowner's Association.