Just the Facts

Franklin Town Council addresses code enforcement, sets temp use permit fee

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Dan Finnerty

In an ongoing effort undertaken April 1 by the Town of Franklin Planning Department, six public hearings were scheduled for the May 6 monthly meeting. The hearings were called in order to allow for public input on four conditional rezonings and one additional rezoning of 31.7 acres of Franklin High School property from neighborhood/mixed use to entirely residential (R2).

Town Planner Justin Setser addressed the council regarding recommended fees associated with a recently passed ordinance allowing for temporary use of campers or recreational vehicles while building a new or repairing a permanent residence. While he found some areas around North Carolina (N.C.) with up to a $500 fee and others that charged no fee at all, Setser advised council members that a $50 fee should be sufficient. Said council member David Culpepper, “I don’t like fees but I will motion for it so someone else can’t motion for a higher amount.” The fee recommendation was accepted unanimously.

During a public input session, one resident who resides near one of the proposed rezoning locations, addressed the council concerning hunting around residential areas within town zoning. The council advised that signs would be posted to ensure the area is within town limits and therefore not open to hunting.

One of the more involved discussions held during the meeting was focused on code enforcement and how best to execute it equitably. Regarding some residents who have pleaded they do not have money to clean up their property, Mayor Jack Horton said, “My mother said, ‘You can be poor but you don’t have to be nasty.’ If a person has a situation where they need to have it cleaned up and they don’t have the money to do that, there are several volunteer agencies here in Macon County who will be glad to come out and help clean it up.”

Vice Mayor Stacy Guffey also commented, reminiscing about his time growing up in the area and recalling what he used to witness at times.

“Whose property rights are more important? If someone has junk in their yard, are their property rights more important than people who have lived there previously? People have an expectation to live in a place that’s clean, that’s safe. I can tell you from experience that having junk piled up next to your house can lead to a lot of other [bad] things.”

He concluded, “I don’t know why we are sitting at this table if we aren’t trying to balance peoples’ property rights. You don’t have a right to adversely affect your neighbor, based on laws we have in place.”

The next regularly scheduled Town Council meeting is on May 6, at 6 p.m. There will be a special-called meeting on April 16, which is designated for a FY-25 budget work session

TDA votes on ’80s Flashback and Farmers Market funding

At its latest monthly meeting, the Town of Franklin Tourism Development Authority (TDA) voted on two requests for funding and considered an additional new request.’

Funding requests must be submitted two months before approval consideration. At their April meeting, TDA members determined if and how much funding to provide for this year’s ’80s Flashback Weekend and the new farmers market. The former will be held Aug. 2-4, while the latter is scheduled to be held each Saturday, beginning in May and running through October.

Representing ’80s Flashback, Tracy Griffith and George Young spoke on the application at the March TDA meeting, requesting $5,000 for the 10th year celebration. The annual event benefits Shriners Childrens’ Greenville, which is recognized as the “home to the largest team of pediatric orthopedic surgeons in the Carolinas.”

More than 62 families from the Franklin area have already or are currently receiving free or low-cost services from the hospital. This year’s event includes numerous scheduled activities, including An Evening with John Mellencamp tribute band, a 10th year anniversary celebration hosted along the Greenway, and culminates with a party featuring North Carolina’s top ’80s tribute band, ’80z Nation. TDA members approved the full request for the event.

For the other request, TDA member and Town Manager Amie Owens presented the $2,970 request originally brought to the board by area business owner Devon Depuis back in February. The weekly farmers market will operate from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. each Saturday on Iotla Street.

Market activities will include more than 40 local farmers and others, plus enrichment events, including cooking demonstrations, wildlife education, hands-on activities, farm animal education, and more.

Upon discussion and consideration, the board agreed to provide $1,400 of the original request in support of the new farmers market.

The new funding request reviewed for consideration was submitted by the Blue Ridge Bartram Trail Conservancy. The request for $2,000, is intended to assist with the cost of a banner and stickers for the Bartram Trail Conference, scheduled for May 30 – June 1, plus a kiosk illustrating the Bartram Trail and its path through downtown.

The next regularly scheduled TDA meeting is May 13.