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News Town board hears public concerns

A resident of Forest Avenue went before the board of aldermen requesting that the board address the “urban decay” of the properties near her home, citing trash, vermin, mosquitoes and possible toxic water runoff from abandoned vehicles. Photos by Travis TallentThe Franklin Board of Aldermen held its monthly meeting last Monday night where members of the public raised some key concerns to the officials.

The meeting began with a public session where one Franklin resident, Rena Sutton asked the board some questions about the microbrewery that is in the works to set up shop at the old town hall property that is owned by Franklin and about other possible businesses that could come to the area in the future as a result of the rezoning of a C-1 to a C-2. The area in question is just down the street from the home owned by her and her husband.

“I'm just here to ask these questions because I sincerely want to know the answers to them,” she told the board members before she read them out loud.

  • Will the business or businesses be located in existing buildings or new buildings?
  • Will the proposed business produce an odor?
  • Will the property tax go up to surrounding properties?
  • Will there be more noise?
  • Will there be any air pollution?
  • Will there be excessive drinking at the business?

Though unable to answer most of the questions, Town Attorney John Henning Jr. informed Sutton that a C-2 classification actually provided her property with more protection than a C-1.

“The setbacks for a C-2 are actually bigger than a C-1,” he told her. “Before, they could come right up on to the line, but now you're really better off.”

Kim Leister approached the podium next to request officials' attention at a residence at the corner of Forest Avenue and Ulco Drive.

“On June 18, 2004, there was an article in The Franklin Press where then Alderman Bob Scott described ‘urban decay.’ One of places that was mentioned was Forest Avenue. Mr. Curtis at that time said that something needed to be done and, well, we're still waiting,” she told the board.

She cited the removal of junk cars and increased police patrol that have led to a reduction in crime to the area as a reason to be thankful for the town's efforts, but pointed to potential oil and gasoline runoff as another reason for concern. Two of the parcels in question are part of the estate of a deceased man and a third parcel is in the name of a man who is incarcerated.

"They are an eyesore. There's a lot of trash, vermin, mosquitoes. There's water runoff. We don't know what chemicals were in there. We can assume that oil and gasoline came from the old vehicles and it can run off into the creek across the road. Under the small bridge, you can see an oil slick,” Leister said. “So many people use the Greenway shelter that is there and this is what they see of Franklin.”

She described a trailer that is on the property that was burned years ago but still remains on the property in hopes that the description would incite efforts from the town to get the area looking better.

“Mr. Cabe, [former town manager] Mr. Setser and myself took a trip to that location last week and I assure you that Mr. Setser and myself are looking at every avenue that we can take to get that cleaned up,” said interim town manager, Summer Woodard. “There are minimal housing standards and a nuisance claim that we can put on top of that. Just bear with us a little bit longer. Within a month, myself or Mr. Setser will be in touch with you to tell you where we're going.”

A budget hearing is scheduled to take place at the next Board of Aldermen meeting which will be held on June 2 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall.

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