Community Planning Assistance Teams

Franklin, Tennessee

Final Report and Planning Foundation Support

Help support community-based, pro bono efforts like this one, which are made possible through The Planning Foundation. Find out how you can make a difference in communities across the U.S. at

Read the team's final report (pdf)

Community Background

A 2009 Great Place in America, Franklin, Tennessee, has invited a CPAT for summer 2013.

The original Town of Franklin, Tennessee, dates back to 1799 and is located on the Harpeth River just south of Nashville. One of the commercial gateways into the Historic Downtown (5th Avenue North) is located in the 100-year floodplain. The city's land use plan encourages redevelopment of this corridor while modifying floodplain boundaries to create an urban gateway into downtown. However, this appears unrealistic based on the city's level of protective floodplain regulations and the depth of floodplain.

Fifth Avenue North contained marginal commercial uses prior to the May 2010 Nashville Flood, and multiple buildings have been vacant since that time. The city recently amended the zoning ordinance and passed a resolution in an effort to provide some flexibility for property owners while the city pursues a study by outside expertise.

The city is seeking national-level, objective, interdisciplinary recommendations regarding the potential futures of the 5th Avenue North corridor.


September 15-19, 2013

On September 13, the full team arrived in Franklin to spend a week exploring the issues of flooding and development in the Franklin downtown core. The team had a walking and driving tour of the study area as well as the city of Franklin to become familiar with the needs of the community. The team held various stakeholder meetings with local community organizations, property owners, elected officials, and city staff to receive each group's vision for the study area and hear all the concerns. On September 17, a community workshop was held, where all residents were invited to come and speak to the team. Each team member had a table covering a specific topic of economic development, open space, mobility, flooding, and architecture and design. The next two days were spent brainstorming ideas and working through specifics of what to present on Thursday evening to the community. The preliminary recommendations were outlined in a public meeting, but the meeting served also a time to receive more feedback from the community. Now the team will work to write a full report, with more specific recommendations and steps that the community can take towards development in the study area.

May 8-9, 2013

Franklin CPAT Team Leader, Rich Roths, AICP, and APA project manager, Thomas Bassett, conducted a preliminary visit to Tennessee. They toured the city and project site to get an on-the-ground look to decide what kind of expertise will be needed when the full team returns later this summer. Along with City Planner of Franklin, Kelly Dannenfelser, the two met with multiple stakeholders from the public, private, and NGO worlds. They all had dinner with Franklin Mayor Ken Moore to discuss his vision for the city. Roths and Bassett have a big job ahead of them, while they select the team for the CPAT, which will try and balance development with safety concerns of flooding.

News Coverage of the Franklin, Tennessee Project

The Tennessea: "After flood, Franklin looks to revitalize corridor"

Meet the Team

Rich Roths, AICP, a semi-retired Principal Planner with URS Corporation, will lead the CPAT in Franklin, Tennessee.

Rich Roths, AICP

Rich Roths, AICP, Team Leader

Rich Roths, AICP, is a semi-retired Principal Planner with URS Corporation. He is a nationally recognized expert in floodplain management and mitigation planning. He has provided mitigation assistance to at least 20 States and their communities.

Kimberly Burton, AICPKimberly Burton, AICP

Kimberly Burton, AICP, is an experienced program and project manager, in addition to a professional engineer and certified planner. She has 14 years of experience working in the public and private sectors. In addition, Ms. Burton teaches energy, sustainability & resiliency planning courses at the Ohio State University. During her career, Ms. Burton has worked on a wide variety of planning, engineering, and environmental projects. Her skillsets include city and multi-modal transportation planning, community & economic development, environmental documents, grants, noise & air quality analyses, safety studies, and public involvement activities.

William Harris, FAICPWilliam Harris, FAICP

Bill Harris, FAICP, presently is Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Georgia Regents University. His research interests focus upon inner city economic development and citizen empowerment.

Gail Henrikson, AICPGail Henrikson, AICP

Gail Henrikson, AICP, earned a Master Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ms. Henrikson is currently the Director of Planning and Zoning for the City of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, a coastal community of 23,000, that is located approximately 20 miles south of Daytona Beach. As Director of Planning and Zoning, Ms. Henrikson was involved in drafting the City's first neighborhood plan and in establishing a Neighborhood Council to assist in creating a citywide vision for future growth. In addition to her work for the City of New Smyrna Beach, Ms. Henrikson is also the incoming Vice-President of the Surfcoast Chapter of the Florida Planning and Zoning Association.

Marc YeberMarc Yeber

Holding degrees in architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture from University of Southern California (USC), Marc Yeber currently serves as Planning Commissioner for the City of West Hollywood. Previously, Marc served on the Historic Preservation Commission. He is a member of ASLA and AIA as well as APA where he serves on California Chapter of APA Board of Directors as the Commission & Board Representative. In his current practice, CONT-X Studio, Marc is focused on urban design and landscape infrastructure projects. He is also consults for others involved in the entitlement process by identifying key elements of a project and producing presentation materials to effectively communicate the design intent to various stakeholder groups.