PHOTO: Jordan Vaughn (left), president-elect of the Williamson County Association of Realtors, stands alongside Kelly Baker-Hefley of Franklin as they look over some of the visuals from Tuesday night’s Planapalooza at Franklin’s City Hall. / Photo by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
For good or bad, The Future of Cool Springs is expected to be a hot topic of discussion as the second day of Planapalooza gets underway Wednesday morning at Franklin’s City Hall.
“A lot of people will be interested in Cool Springs,” Brian Wright, founding principal of the consulting firm Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative (TPUDC), said after he kicked off the city of Franklin’s zoning ordinance update Tuesday night with a presentation on just about all facets of zoning.
“It’s the economic engine for the city and really the region in some ways,” he said of Cool Springs. “It also happens to be one of the places [people] focus on when they talk about things they don’t like about Franklin. It’s either the character or, more often than not, the traffic.”
Tuesday’s crowd consisted of a few developers, designers and architects, but the training room in City Hall was mostly filled with regular citizens who are interested in the future of Franklin and making sure it maintains the qualities of why people live here. Planapalooza, a trademark of the Franklin-based TPUDC that is used in cities across the country, is a process that will help Franklin update its zoning ordinance to be more aligned with the city’s Envision Franklin adopted two years ago. Wright said it’s beneficial for the professionals involved directly with zoning decisions, but just as important, it’s for the everyday citizen.
“First and foremost,” he said, “it’s important just understanding what the project is, what’s going on. … [We want to] get that information out there, get people up to speed. People don’t even know what the options are, so it’s hard to conceive of doing something different than we do now if we don’t know what it is. So we help with that discussion. Just being able to get people … to come to talk is key.”
Following The Future of Cool Springs, other focus meetings on Wednesday are Open Spaces & Natural Resources, Architecture & Design, Connectivity, and Housing & Neighborhoods. There will be a focus meeting Thursday morning at 8:30 on Downtown Franklin.
Kelly Baker-Hefley, who lives in downtown Franklin with her husband and daughter, was among the residents soaking up all things zoning Tuesday night.
“I’m always very interested in what’s going on with the built environment in Franklin,” she said. “I sit on the Historic Zoning Commission, so I have some interest in what happens particularly in the downtown area, but also in what’s going on across the city.
“I’m hoping to come to all of them if I can,” Baker-Hefley said of the focus meetings. “The Connectivity one is the most interesting to me because I like to utilize the downtown area. I live downtown so I walk downtown quite a bit. It would be great if I could walk my daughter to school and to all the different restaurants.”
Wright said his firm had heard from citizens as part of the preparation for Planapalooza.
“The No. 1 thing we heard, and there was consensus about this, is to protect the character of Franklin.”
Plans are to have the zoning ordinance adopted later this fall. A public review of the draft will take place in the spring.
For more information, visit www.zonefranklin.com.