By JOHN McBRYDE
Judging by the event’s name, the city of Franklin’s upcoming Planapalooza might appear to be a celebration of sorts.
And while it’s not another festival coming to town, the four-day event is a project that not only invites residents of Franklin to attend, but also encourages them to participate in some of the workshops and roundtable discussions that are scheduled to help revamp the city’s zoning ordinance.
“It’s an important undertaking, a massive undertaking,” said Andrew Orr, principal planner for Franklin’s Planning and Sustainability department. “We’re trying to engage residents and also engineers and architects that do business in town. We want to make sure it works for everybody and that we fine-tune it just right.”
Planapalooza, a code demonstration and design process where stakeholders and the community are invited to work directly with a multidisciplinary consultant team, will take place at Franklin City Hall Feb. 19-22. The project’s name is a trademark of the firm the city hired in October to assist in the finalization of the updated ordinance, Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative (TPUDC). A Franklin-based company, TPUDC specializes in all aspects of design and implementation of development and municipal projects across the United States.
“This is one of the ways they’re helping us, by facilitating the public outreach,” Orr said. “We’re using their Planapalooza as a way to engage the citizens.”
Franklin’s current zoning ordinance was adopted in 2007 and put into effect in 2008, and since that time the city has experienced considerable changes. Two years ago, in January 2017, the Franklin Municipal Planning Commission unveiled the city’s long-range plan known as Envision Franklin. Since then, the department of Planning and Sustainability has undertaken a major update to Franklin’s zoning ordinance, including an analysis of existing standards and the creation of a new outline and framework.
“With the adoption of Envision Franklin,” Orr said, “that created some inconsistencies between the two documents and we’re correcting those, and also trying to revamp the zoning ordinance to try to prepare us for the next 10 or 20 years of growth as well. The zoning ordinance is basically our rule book for development. It’s our 400-page document of standards that basically guides new development.”
The event kicks off with an opening presentation and a hands-on workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m. in the training room of City Hall. The presentation will provide the community with an understanding of the project, and the citizen workshop that follows will allow the community to provide input on existing and future development in Franklin.
Roundtable discussions will take place the following day, beginning at 8:30, on several topics, including the future of Cool Springs and open spaces and natural resources. Another roundtable discussion will happen Thursday morning at 8:30 on downtown Franklin, which is expected to draw considerable interest.
“There is going to be a little bit of structure to [the discussions],” Orr said, “but at the same time we want to allow flexibility for citizens to be able to voice their opinions, and we want to be able to hear them out in regards to those topics. I think the roundtables are a great way for citizens to engage if they’re specifically interested in one of these topics.”
Planapalooza concludes Friday, Feb. 22, with a work-in-progress presentation from 3-5 p.m.
For those who are interested but unable to attend, the opening and closing presentations will be streamed live and recorded on the city of Franklin’s Facebook page.