The Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously Dec. 14 to approve a development plan for single-family homes to be built on Franklin’s historic Magnolia Hall estate on Boyd Mill Avenue.

The board also voted unanimously to partially exempt Franklin-based developer D9 Development from required fees for not building out a full sidewalk network on the exterior perimeter of the historic estate. The fees will be waived for a section of sidewalk on the east side of Boyd Mill Avenue and a sidewalk inside the development, but the developer will still pay $19 per square foot of unbuilt sidewalk along the property's perimeter along Hwy. 96 and on Glass Lane.

Alderman Matt Brown said the developer’s plan to build 10 single-family homes on the 12-acre plot of land and preserve open space and views of the historic Magnolia Hall Estate warranted some flexibility on fees in return for D9 Development's design retaining public views of the historic Italianate mansion built by Charles S. Campbell in 1840. The project also retains more open space on the 12-acre site, including a pond, according to the city planning department's report.

“So many times we see these unique properties that are challenging or historic and people want to throw all kinds of things onto their development,” Brown said. “We’ve got a developer here who has really done a nice job.”

The body also rejected the idea of requiring the developer to grade Hwy. 96 or Glass Lane outside the development in the event residents seek sidewalks in the future. That work was estimated to cost $500,000.

Speaking in favor of excepting the property from the usual rules, John Schroer, former mayor of Franklin and a resident of Glass Lane, said exempting the developer from building a full sidewalk network was the right decision, particularly along Glass Lane which is already narrow and not a normal pedestrian thoroughfare.

“If you make them grade for future sidewalks you will have to remove all the vegetation and then it will be gone,” Schroer said. “This is not a normal development and we need to preserve [Magnolia Hall] with standards that are not normal."

The total amount of sidewalk fees the city will collect for Hwy. 96 and Glass Lane was not yet finalized, officials said.

The Franklin Municipal Planning Commission approved the development plan unanimously in late October.