Above: The field being considered for "upscale commercial" development by builder Mark Carstensen.
With thanks to Joel Dietl, Franklin's Planning Manager, here's a thumbnail guide to the differences between a CITY CIVIC CENTER ZONE and a CITY CENTER DESIGN OVERLAY DISTRICT, both elements of discussion for the proposed Shops at Wyndham Village:
CITY CIVIC CENTER ZONING is what Mark Carstensen is requesting for this parcel of land (it's currently zoned "R-2," which would permit multi-family residential units). City Civic Center zoning allows for everything from government facilities (fire stations, etc.) to commercial buildings. It is meant to be pedestrian-friendly, "slightly more urban" than the surrounding suburb in terms of buildings allowed to be closer together, etc., but also tries to situate parking to the rear of buildings and away from where people would have to see it.
The parcel in question lays within the border of the CITY CENTER DESIGN OVERLAY DISTRICT (outlined in blue below).
The City Center Design Overlay District is meant to present a set of architectural and detail guidelines to anyone building within that district, based on the 27th Street Design Overlay District. Carstensen makes the point that since the land in question is within that district, rezoning it to City Civic Center is consistent with the Comprehensive Master Plan.
Residents nearby are a bit wary of the project because they fear a busy commercial complex near their homes, and because Carstensen has been unable to specify which stores might go into the complex (though he has mentioned Sendick's, which has not confirmed anything).
And, of course, WAL-MART is always something to be wary of. Up to now, Carstensen has been unable to guarantee that Wal-Mart will not build there. The zoning is fairly non-friendly to big boxes in terms of square footage allowed, he says, so Wal-Mart would not find The Shops at Wyndham Village appealing as a site. I have a feeling that residents in the surrounding area will need more assurance than that before they support the project.
A public hearing is scheduled for Halloween night.