Franklin Debating Historic Preservation Ordinance

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Franklin Mayor, Jim Brown, says, “The overall background is, Franklin has a historic square like most towns our size."

Franklin has had a Renaissance group that maintains historic downtown buildings for several years. Now the groups want the city to enact an ordinance that would enforce the preservation of that history.

Restoration consultant, Jan La Rue, says, "It was not a reading but it was an introduction to sponsor a preliminary look at a rough draft of a preservation ordinance."

If the city of Franklin approves a Historic Preservation ordinance the board would be responsible for conducting a survey of historic buildings and areas and preparing a plan for their preservation. Some people are concerned that having an ordinance would keep them from doing what they want to their property.

Mayor Brown says, "I think everyone who grew up in the 60's and 70's grew up with the philosophy wanted to make sure when we bought something we had the right to do with it what we wanted."

But proponents say that's not entirely true.

LaRue says, “It doesn't prohibit additions. It doesn't prohibit alterations. What it does is it's a guideline to make sure that anything that is exposed or visible to the public."

If the ordinance is passed property owners would be able to make any interior changes they wanted or any changes out of public view. LaRue says the ordinance would make way for more specialty shops and restaurants on the square. Some are afraid these changes may mean less parking for businesses already there.

LaRue says, "As far as losing parking spaces, time will tell what happens. There is a possibility of losing some."

Before any changes take place city commissioners will have to decide whether to approve the ordinance.

Because the city of Franklin does not currently have an ordinance preserving historic buildings, owners are not given any government assistance for their property. If the ordinance is passed, they could receive incentives such as tax breaks and grants for restoration purposes.