It was brought to my attention this week that HUD (the US Federal Bureau of Housing and Urban Development) placed a public notice in the August 14, 2017, classifieds of The Tennessean concerning the Harpeth Square development.
The Harpeth Square project has received a lot of press in the last few weeks, with construction to begin any day now. The HUD notice received little to no attention in the media that I know of, and multiple discussions with Franklin residents the past few days have brought me to the conclusion that few were aware it had been placed. This is particularly concerning since the public notice states “HUD has determined that the proposed Harpeth Square project may have an adverse effect on the historic properties within the Area of Potential Effect (APE) of the Franklin Downtown Historic District.”
I believe it is important that the residents of Ward 4 and Franklin know that this was in the paper, even if construction gets underway soon as scheduled. I am particularly interested to see what the answer is to the “creative mitigation” referenced in the notice and am also wondering if the project has been approved as being in accord with the National Historic Preservation Act, as the first paragraph of the notice states that “All of the development is undergoing review to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and its implanting regulations at 36 C.F.R. Part 800, Protection of Historic and Cultural Properties.”
Section 106 of the NHPA can be found at this link.
If you are interested to see the plans for the Harpeth Square development, they can be found here.
Many people have expressed concern to me about the height of the building and its proximity to the curb, as well as the traffic impact from this development on Downtown Franklin. I think it’s important that residents and business owners have all the information on a project of this magnitude, and since it seems this notice went without much fanfare, I worry that is not the case. Unfortunately, the comment time for the HUD notice closed August 24th, only 10 days after the notice was filed, but I am going to reach out to HUD Technical Branch Chief Ms. Tilda S. Davis (the woman named in the notice from the Bureau) to see if I can get an answer to any questions people might have. I am also wondering if this was properly noticed to the public by HUD at all since it was placed in The Tennessean and not The Williamson Herald. Please let me know if you have any questions or thoughts as I definitely want to hear them.