Franklin approves rezoning for senior housing project

A proposed development in Franklin for aging Baby Boomers has completed its first step.

Franklin City Council on Monday approved the rezoning of 6.4 acres of city-owned land on Deardoff Road to suburban residential from office-institutional to develop patio style homes for housing for people ages 55 and older.

City Manager Sonny Lewis said as some longtime residents age they may not want to stay in or be able to maintain their current homes, but they want to continue to live in Franklin. He said this has been an issue since becoming city manager as aging residents feel there is no place for them in the city as they downsize their living space.

“We have a lot of people in town who have lived here all of their lives and want to stay in Franklin,” Lewis said.

Lewis estimated that 28 to 20 patio homes could be built on that property.

“We’re real tickled that we’ve moved ahead on this,” said Mayor Denny Centers.

Since the Journal-News first reported the proposed project, the city has received inquiries from several developers, according to city officials.

Lewis said the next step would be to put out a request for proposals to developers who might be interested in developing the housing project.

Law Director Donnette Fisher said there is a big demand for this type of housing.

“These would be single story patio-style homes that would be bought in a condominium-type arrangement and (residents) would not own the property,” she said. “Unlike a homeowner’s association, a condominium association cannot be dissolved.”

Fisher said the city would also require that the homes be handicap accessible and there will be deed restrictions.

“This will not be a nursing home or an assisted care facility,” she said. “This will look like a subdivision.”

Fisher said the request for proposals to developers would go out in August and received in mid-September. She said there may be a citizens committee appointed to review the proposals. After council gets community feedback and approves a proposal, the project will go to the Planning Commission for its approval.