Historic Zoning Commission gives the OK for demolition of old Dotson’s Restaurant location


Historic Zoning Commission gives the OK for demolition of old Dotson’s Restaurant location

PHOTO: The lot located at 99 East Main Street, where Chartwell Hospitality has proposed a new multi-level development / Photo by Brooke Wanser

By BROOKE WANSER

At Monday evening’s Historic Zoning Commission meeting, members agreed upon general features of a proposed multi-level development across Main Street from Puckett’s Boat House, while expressing concerns with design details.

The space, located at 99 East Main Street, was once home to Dotson’s Restaurant, which closed in December 2014.

Chartwell Hospitality, led by applicant Will Schaedle, the vice president of acquisitions and development, has proposed a multi-level retail and restaurant space for the property that abuts the Harpeth River to the north and the Lillie Mills grain elevators to the east. The development, proposed to be 725 feet long, would include a rooftop bar and patio space.

Amanda Rose, the city’s preservation planner, recommended approving the demolition of the two buildings on the lot, which previously comprised Dotston’s. After over 60 years in Franklin, county historian Rick Warwick said the buildings on the lot, which were built in the 1970s, lack sufficient architectural integrity and importance to prevent demolition.

“A lot of us have had some really great meals in that building,” commission chair Susan Besser said.

Rose mentioned that minor alterations, like a window balcony and transparent screening around the rooftop bar, are not recommended under current design guidelines.

She recommended the commission pass with the following exceptions:

  • The applicants must alter for more historically accurate cornice detailing.
  • The entrance must be modified to make the submitted Juliet porch a functional porch, or to remove it.
  • All brick materials need to be compatible with historic brick.
  • The rooftop deck should not be visible from the street. In the current design, a parapet wall been utilized to screen that from street view.
  • Utilities proposed for placement must be on top of the building.
  • The application must meet requirements of city for zoning limited to a height of 42 feet; the highest point of the building is currently proposed at 43 feet.

Architect Mark Reece, a managing principal with Atlanta architecture firm Rabun Rasche Rector Reece, said he understood and agreed with the changes being asked for. He also noted that the design was only in its conceptual stages.

Former Heritage Foundation president and co-chair Mary Pearce expressed indecision about the plan’s details.

“This is a very big project for downtown Franklin. If the front entry isn’t just right. . .“ she trailed off. “Me having those thoughts makes me wonder… I want to approve it as quickly as we can, but I want to see what the front will look like.”

“It is a sizable project, but it is also the north gateway into downtown,” commission member Ken Scalf said.

“I am not comfortable with approving this tonight,” Besser said. “I think the project has come a long way, and I’m comfortable with it overall, but it may need a little tweaking.”

After two attempts, an amended motion, which approved the general scope, scale, and proportion of the building, passed unanimously. The applicants will have to present an updated plan of the project to the Design Review Committee before a building permit can be issued.

About The Author

Brooke Wanser is the associate editor for the Franklin Home Page, and can be reached at brooke.wanser@homepagemediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter at @BWanser_writes or @FranklinHomepg.

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