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News General

Roadway panhandlers must adhere to specific rules.

For months now, even years, the town of Franklin has discussed how to handle the panhandlers who set up shop several times a year at the intersection of Main Street and the Highlands Road. While some groups who frequent the intersection are local, oftentimes the groups who go car to car, buckets in tow, are outside groups claiming to be collecting donations for outside organizations.

With complaints about the solicitation ranging from the legitimacy of the groups soliciting funds, to the safety hazard posed by donation seekers standing in traffic, the town of Franklin finally decided to seriously consider a town ordinance regulating the activity. During its December meeting, the Franklin Board of Aldermen directed town attorney John Henning Jr. to draft an ordinance to report to the board in January, which he presented Monday night.


Director Stahl urges quick action on road to expansion.

The county's landfill expansion plan gained ground Monday night when the town of Franklin unanimously voted to approve the county's re-zoning request for two properties located on Pannell Lane.

The two parcels of land, when combined total about 22.9 acres, and are located at 198 and 256 Pannell Lane. The county purchased the properties, which were zoned as residential properties, with the intention of expanding the county's current landfill, which is nearing capacity. The expansion is expected to add 40 years to the life of the landfill.

Franklin's Board of Aldermen unanimously voted to follow the town's planning board recommendation to approve the zoning request. The planning board noted in their recommendation that spot zoning was not an issue with the petition as the parcels are bordered by the Macon County landfill, which is already zoned for industrial use. The Little Tennessee River abuts to parcel two, 256 Pannell Lane, to the north.


The residents of Macon County may soon have a noise ordinance to adhere to. After commissioners tasked the Macon County Planning Board with deciding the feasibility of a potential noise ordinance, Matt Mason, county planner and member of the planning board, informed the board Tuesday night that a noise ordinance is something that the county should pursue.

Earlier this year, several residents spoke to commissioners with noise complaints regarding altercations with their neighbors. In the complaints spoken during public comment periods, several residents told commissioners about deliberate, malicious acts that involved confrontation with loud, unruly neighbors. Law enforcement was unable to mitigate the situation because there is no law about being too loud on your own property, even if it disturbs others.


After holding the position as County Manager for nearly a year, Derek Roland was offered a formal contract for employment during the November board meeting of the County Commissioners.

The vote, which was unanimous, was intended to give Roland a little extra job security. Until last month, Roland was working basically on a month to month basis and had been since he replaced long-time County Manager Jack Horton last December.

The suggestion to offer Roland the contract was made by Commissioner Jim Tate, who said that he wanted to ensure Roland and the county understands the exceptional job Roland has done since being hired.

“A year ago when we were considering who to hire as our next county manager, one of the selling points about you was the fact you were the only applicant who didn’t request a contract for employment,” said Commissioner Tate. “You were extremely confident in your abilities, your desires and your works to be the county manager of Macon County; it was very impressive that it was more to you than just the money. And the fact that Roland's was asking considerably less that what the other applicants were asking for."

The board of commissioners unanimously agreed with Tate and praised Roland for the work he has done for the citizens of Macon County in the past year. “When we hired you, you were thrown immediately into the fire and handled it all with style and class,” said Roland “You didn’t handle the job any differently than the way we had expected. We are thankful and grateful for your efforts, and we as board would like to reward you for your efforts and offer you an employment agreement contract.”

In addition to outlining Roland’s annual salary of $100,000, the contract states that Roland must remain a permanent resident of the county unless otherwise approved by the board. Roland’s contract also stated that he will be granted an annual travel allowance of $6,000.

Roland began working for the county in March of 2009 when he was hired as the county planner. After serving as county planner for three years, in March 2012, Roland made the transition to town planner to replace long-time planner Mike Grubermann. Roland served as the planner for the town of Franklin until last December when he rejoined the county payroll. Roland earned a B.S. Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Western Carolina University.

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