The Franklin Board of Aldermen met on Monday for its monthly meeting to discuss a lengthy agenda that included a lease for a new brewery, discussions about the Gazebo on town square and stop sign updates.
After a short public session, the proposed lease of the old town hall property was brought up for discussion and action. Local residents, Ken Murphy and Lenny Jordan approached the board last month to propose a lease that would allow them to install Franklin's first brewpub. The business would brew beer onsite as well as allow locals to sample and enjoy the custom brews on the property.
After allowing the lease to move into an upset bid process and receiving no counter bids, the aldermen discussed the proposal again.
“If we go through with this proposal, what expense will we as the town still have?” asked Alderman Farrell Jamison.
Town Manager Warren Cabe pointed out that there would be very little expense if they accepted the lease.
“There is a roof leak that will have to be addressed. If you all don't accept the lease, it will still have to be fixed. Besides that, utilities bills until the property is in their hands,” he said.
The only change in the lease was with a portion that in the original paperwork allowed the $5,000 paid for the option to buy to go towards the total of $325,000. In the new lease, the $5,000 was in addition to the $325,000.
Jamison made a motion to accept the offer to lease the old town hall building with an option to buy with Alderman Barbara McRae seconding. It passed unanimously.
The board also addressed an issue with its Unified Development Ordinance that disallowed alcoholic beverages to be consumed on town owned property. Town Planner Justin Setzer suggested to begin with a definition of a brewpub—an establishment where beer and malt beverages are made on the premises in conjunction with a restaurant or bar where 40 percent or more of the beer produced on site is sold on site. Where allowed by law, brewpubs may sell beer “to go” and/or distribute to offsite accounts. A brewpub shall not exceed 1,000 barrels (a barrel is approximately 31 gallons) of beer production each year.
The portion of property where the old town hall sits is classified as a C-1 (commercial) and Setzer added “brewpub” to the list that already includes civic centers and cultural arts facilities, civic clubs and fraternal organizations, music and art studios and so on.
“I added a barrel limit in order to keep it small. Basically to keep larger operations out of the downtown area,” said Setzer.
The board voted to send the recommendation to the town planning board with Alderman Verlin Curtis opposing the move.
'Town Hall' meeting yields gazebo ideas
Angela Moore was at the meeting on behalf of Venture Local and the League of Women Voters, and relayed to the board some of the findings of last week's “town hall” meeting concerning the design of the Gazebo.
Some points that were made:
“In reference to the issue of restrooms in the downtown square area, opinions both for and against restrooms were expressed, but through the comments and speaking with individuals, they did not seem to be mutually exclusive,” said Moore. “Those opposed to restrooms were opposed to having facilities on the gazebo property, but not necessarily downtown. Those wanting restrooms did not seem to have any strong feelings about the locations, as long as it was accessible to visitors in town square both during festivals and during normal business hours.”
A simple, cost effective suggestion that came out of the meeting last week was to improve signage to the courthouse bathroom.
The board did not take any action on the gazebo and will return to the design issue at a later date.
Moore thanked those who attended the design meeting (Aldermen Joyce Handley, Patti Abel, Barbara McRae and Mayor Bob Scott.)
The next Board of Aldermen meeting will take place on May 5 at 7 p.m. at town hall.