Plans for Brownland Farm in Franklin set off protest over flooding concerns

Developer plans to build in floodzone
Flooding protest poster Monticello resident
Posted at 5:54 PM, Apr 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 12:37:54-04

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — A group of Franklin residents stood with signs on Hillsboro Road on Sunday in protest of a plan to turn a farm and surrounding properties in a flood zone into a neighborhood.

"Building on the floodplain is beyond the pale. It really is crossing the rubicon regarding where the city of Franklin stands on the safety and welfare of its residents and citizens," said Laura Turner, a resident.

For two years, the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen has allowed developer Kevin Estes to keep moving forward with a plan to develop properties on either side of Hillsboro Road near Mack Hatcher Memorial Parkway. The current plan calls for 356 residences, although originally it was 740. Brownland Farm is at the center of the proposed development.

View the current proposal here.

"Envision Franklin basically says that you're not supposed to build in the floodplain, yet the developer wants to manipulate the floodplain and put 350 houses on it," Turner said.

Residents of the Monticello subdivision joined the protest.

"Fieldstone, Cottonwood, everybody down there, they're going to get flooded," said Marci Adams, who lives in the Monticello neighborhood. "It will happen if they displace the land here in a flood zone."

Adams' home is across the street from a field that Estes wants to turn into a greenway with walking paths.

"Water comes down a concrete culvert, down a hill and it empties out into the field that is right in front of my house. Frankly, I feel like the field is really helping keeping the flooding down," Adams said.

According to the developer, the project does include installing storage for 24 million gallons of additional floodwater.

However, that doesn't change the minds of some residents who think flooding, which is already an issue, will become even worse with new construction.

"It is very, very dangerous to have a flooded main road that is part of an exit plan for many residents: ones here now and those that are proposed," Turner said.

The Brownland Farm project was vetted and cleared by engineers with the City of Franklin and an independent consulting engineer who analyzed the flood safety aspects of the development.

The Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen meet Tuesday, April 26 at 7 p.m. to vote to rezone the properties.