Proposed development of million dollar homes in Franklin met with concern

FRANKLIN, Ind. -- Some unexpected roadblocks could get in the way of a proposed development of million dollar homes in Franklin.

The homes would sit where there is currently farmland on SR 44 and Centerline Road. 

Right now, many executives are buying homes about 15 minutes away in Center Grove where million dollar homes are easier to come by.

Franklin's mayor says the city needs the development, but he still has some questions.

"Our planning director who does the right thing and goes off the comprehensive plan, has recommended not to do that - and it's something that we may want to annex," said Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett. 

Steve Huddleston, an attorney representing the developer, says the 'not favorable' recommendation came as a shock.

"Astonished because we had met with the staff and their committee 30 days before, and during that meeting they made no objections," said Huddleston.

The site would need to be rezoned from agricultural to rural residential. Since it has not been annexed, there are no city utilities.

The developer has already taken that into consideration.

"We have met extensively during the summer of 2017 with the Johnson County Health Department - they've actually went out and done on-site inspections and they have approved the locations of the septics and the wells," said Huddleston.

He says they also addressed safety concerns of nearby neighbors.

"So we have redesigned the subdivision to reduce the number of access points to SR 44," said Huddleston.

But the city wants a guarantee that the developer won't sit on the lots and if they don't sell, turn the project into something else.

"We definitely need that with the assessed values for our schools, we want the guarantees that we are going to get what we are promised to get before we change our comprehensive plan," said Mayor Barnett.

The developer has letters of support from the school system, which would benefit from the taxes.

The final decision on whether this project may move forward is up to the Franklin City Council.

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