Franklin to consider extending approvals for proposed Strauss Brands facility

Rendering: ESI Design Services
A rendering of the 152,000-square-foot meat processing facility Strauss Brands planned to build in Franklin. The company is now exploring the sale of the land instead. Rendering: ESI Design Services

The Franklin Plan Commission is slated to discuss an extension for permits previously approved by city officials for a proposed meat processing facility on the community’s west side.

The Strauss Brands project plans involve a 152,000-square-foot facility to be built on 30.2 acres southwest of West Loomis Road and Monarch Drive. The facility could process up to 500 head of cattle per day and would be staffed by approximately 270 employees.

Plan Commissioners are now considering extending the special use permit and the site plan approval for the project, both of which are scheduled to expire Oct. 7 and Nov. 1 respectively. Without an extension, both approvals would become “null and void, without any further action by the City of Franklin,” according to Plan Commission documents.

Franklin officials initially denied a special use permit for the Strauss Brands project in October 2020 amid opposition from residents. Two weeks after, the city reversed course and approved the project after Franklin business leaders expressed concern about how the proposal was treated.

The project ran into another challenge in December 2020 when a group of homeowners and a nonprofit organization filed a lawsuit seeking to void the city’s approval of the project.

The lawsuit, filed against the city by Franklin Community Advocates, the Woodlake Village Homeowners Association and nine individuals, alleges the approval of the Strauss Brands project lacked substantial evidence, interferes with adjacent developments, is contrary to applicable zoning, is inconsistent with the city’s comprehensive plan and violated due process with bias from city officials.

An attorney representing Franklin Community Advocates in the lawsuit did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The attorney representing the city in the lawsuit chose not to comment citing “pending litigation.”

The proposed extension under consideration for the permits, brought forth by city officials, would make both approvals valid for another year, according to Plan Commission documents.

“Until the legal challenge is concluded, the applicant is not able to begin construction. Therefore, an extension of both approvals is a reasonable expectation,” city development staff stated in Plan Commission documents.

“The city is working through it and we’re sitting on the side just waiting,” a Strauss Brands spokesperson said.

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