The Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution to initiate the annexation process for a plot of land off of Old Charlotte Pike, located adjacent to Gentry’s Farm, at its March 10 meeting.
The vote will allow city staff to begin work on a draft of a city services plan for if the annexation and possible development of the property are later approved by the board. In other words, the vote is not an approval of the lot’s development by the board or its annexation.
“The reason we set this up is so you can give us some direction going in—not only [on] whether you want to pursue the process but also [on] if there are specific topics or areas you want addressed,” City Manager Eric Stuckey said to the board. “This is an opportunity to tell [city staff] subjects or topics you want addressed in the process of reviewing an annexation request and whatever subsequent development plan might come with it.”
The applicant, Brentwood-based developer CPS Land, had not yet submitted design plans, but city staff said preliminary discussions suggested the intent to construct 154 single-family attached and detached townhomes on the land if approved.
Developer Greg Gamble, who said he was representing CPS Land, said he proposed an amendment to the development plan that would relocate a road initially planned to go through Gentry’s Farm as part of the development.
“We understand from the joint-conceptual workshop that there was some concern about a road proposed through Gentry Farm,” Gamble said. “That road proposed through Gentry Farm is on the major thoroughfare plan adopted by the city of Franklin. We have been working with the city of Franklin engineering department as well as the neighbors around us looking at alternatives for that road.”
The resolution was passed in a 7-1 vote, with Alderman Brandy Blanton dissenting; Blanton said she was against any progress towards the property’s potential development due to its proximity to the historic Gentry’s Farm.
“I can only speak for myself, but the road through Gentry Farm, to me, is despicable, and I have already contacted city leaders to make that amendment to the major thoroughfare plan,” Blanton said. “As to the development moving forward or the plan of services for annexation, I know it is a gray matter right now, ... but I just can’t support development out there.”
Blanton also read a letter from Scott and Melanie Gentry at the meeting before the vote that expressed their disapproval of the property’s development.
“On behalf of the Gentry family, we would like the board to know we are very much against any high-density development at 841 Old Charlotte Pike,” the letter read. “This annexation would bring a permanent change to our family’s heritage and way of life.”
Alderman Margaret Martin said she supported the resolution and wanted to get the process started and see what plans the developers had for the property before voting on the development’s approval.
“Of course, I’d like to see it all stay farmland. Everybody would, really, except the people who own the land,” Martin said. “It would behoove us to look at the developers. This is not someone who’s coming from California to fill up the land. It’s somebody that lives here. ... So they know how we feel about preservation. They know how we feel about rural areas. Every one of them [does].”