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News Aldermen discuss ordinances at brief meeting

Ordinances were proposed and discussed at a brief meeting of the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen on Monday. It also proved a vocal one for Alderman Carolyn “Sissy” Pattillo who voiced her concern for working through recent controversies faced by the town.

Unified Development Ordinance amendment

The Board of Aldermen voted to amend the town’s Unified Development Ordinance. According to Town Attorney John Henning, the original ordinance contained an oversight since it was passed in 2007. A public hearing on the matter was held, but no one from the public spoke.

The amendment contained clarification for the appointment of the board of adjustment and the planning boards and how their functions related to the UDO. Farrell Jamison made the motion to adopt the amendment, with Billy Mashburn seconding. The motion passed unanimously.

Indian Mound ordinance proposed

At the request of the board, Henning also introduced a proposed ordinance that would prohibit the public from setting foot or using motor vehicles on the Nikwasi Indian mound between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., unless given permission by the town manager.

Henning added that the proposed ordinance was reminiscent of a similar ordinance passed in recent years, although it would enforce a $50 fine on the misdemeanor offense. Destroying any vegetation on the mound would also be prohibited, according to the policy. The ordinance would be enforced by municipal police.

Town Manager Sam Greenwood said that requests to enter the grounds of the mound are rare, and have typically only been made by geologists or other cultural academic organizations. Alderman Bob Scott suggested tabling the issue, and that a public hearing be held for the ordinance.

New ordinances proposed

Two other proposed ordinances were also briefly discussed at the meeting.

One ordinance called for penalties for those involved in purchasing stolen copper, as such incidents have been known to occur “under the radar of locals,” according to Scott. The other ordinance discussed was a nuisance ordinance, which Henning pointed out would be difficult to enforce for municipal police. Due to the absence of Franklin police chief David Adams, the matter was tabled for September’s scheduled Aldermen meeting.

Pattillo: ‘Enough is Enough’

In the wake of recent controversies, Alderman Pattillo read a letter she had written addressing the local media and the public regarding the board’s efforts to tackle each issue. “I felt compelled to write a letter to the editor,” she said of her message, which she drafted for local media publication. The letter basically addressed three contentious issues: The TDA-sponsored “Smoky Mountain Rumble,” the treatment of the Nikwasi Mound; and the Alcohol Beverage Control Board’s recently quashed relocation.

Below is the letter in its entirety:

A Letter to the Editor

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with the DOT and the sidewalks committee to discuss a sidewalk project. It was so nice to be able to sit down with the group; discuss a joint project and come to a consensus without the project being torn apart.

The past 6 -7 months the Town Board has been consumed with three issues that have kept them from moving forward as it should have been doing.

All of us have opinions and we may have differences of opinions which is fine. However, I do have a problem when we do not have the same facts, so I took it on myself to find out my own information and I would like to discuss the three issues.

The Rumble

When this event was approved by the TDA immediately there was opposition before any facts were presented. Granted the Rumble has had its "bumps in the road" but fortunately those bumps or issues have been resolved and there will be a motorcycle rally.

Until we have gone through one rally how else would we know the economic impact on our community or the success of the rally?!

The Mound

Yes, the mound was sprayed. When the Town Board was made aware that the mound had indeed been sprayed, it was the Town Board's obligation to see that the mound would be reseeded. This is being taken care of.

I still contend it was not done maliciously and we did not owe an apology. I have problems with anyone or any group who demands an apology.

The mound is not ours - it belongs to the people of the Town of Franklin and it is not for sale. Let's stop stirring the pot. Enough is Enough.

The Proposed ABC Store

The ABC Board has been looking to build or buy a site for years.

Across the state many towns/counties are going into public/private ventures with real estate. It was at this point the ABC Board came to the town to see if the board would be interested in a venture of this type.

At the same time the town was also looking at refinancing some larger loans to lower interest and could possibly include this project.

A committee of ABC members and Town Board members was appointed to come up with a site. After looking at several locations and visiting stores throughout the region, the committee decided on the site at the Bright Myers Complex. This complex is also the site of the new Wal-Mart. When ABC stores were being compared across the region costs of the stores ran between 1 million and 1.2 million dollars to build or buy.

The Wal-Mart location would cost 1.2 million dollars to buy. (Yes, that is a lot of money.) The town would combine the ABC loan with their refinancing to hopefully get a better rate for the ABC Board.

Initially the town would borrow the 1.2 million dollars to pay the Bright Myers Developers and the ABC Board would pay the town monthly installments from the alcohol sales. NO TAX MONIES WOULD BE USED.

The monthly installments had been budgeted in the ABC Store's monthly expenses and no monies would be going out of town.

At our July meeting, in our public session, apples to oranges were being compared not apples to apples. None of the gentlemen who spoke had gone to the ABC store and asked for a budget, a daily finance sheet or a comparison of all the stores in our western area. Our store was being compared to a store that had never paid rent. They have owned their store since 1964 and just happened to be the only ABC store west of Waynesville for many years.

When you take the $70,000 our store is paying to the town, and the $74,400 paid in rent - that is a chunk of money. Our store will never come close to the profit margin our neighbor has as long as our store leases.

I take issue with the gentlemen saying the store is poorly managed. I strongly recommend these gentlemen go to the ABC Board and find out for themselves - not on the internet.

As we all know this did not work out and the store will remain at its present location. A lease has been signed with the developer and these monies will continue to go out of town. The monthly rent will be $6,820 per month or $81,840 yearly. This amount includes the 10% raise which was never negotiable as stated in the media.

I urge everyone to put these issues to rest and move forward for the benefit of our community. Enough is Enough.

Carolyn D. "Sissy" Pattillo - Town Alderman


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