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The Morton-Brittan Historic Home stands at 7186 Nolensville Road on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. The home houses the Nolensville Historical Society Museum and is one of Nolensville’s three buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Nolensville Historical Society has identified property in the town’s Historic District that can host the circa 1870 Morton-Brittain house.

The house is on property that is being developed, and if a solution is not found soon, the house will be demolished.

A meeting of the Historic Zoning Commission is scheduled for Jan. 31 to vote on a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) to move the house onto property recently identified in the Historic District.

According to documents which have been submitted to the Commission, the property — located at 9927 Sam Donald Court —  is owned by town Alderman Tommy Dugger.

Although the developer’s deadline for demolition was set for the end of the month, the newly proposed timeframe to relocate the home is projected for Monday, Feb. 4.

The Nolensville Historical Society published the following questions and answers last week, after a couple who had agreed to take the house backed out:

What is the plan since the prospective property owners reneged on the written agreement with the Nolensville Historical Society and removed the Certificate of Appropriateness application from the Historic Zoning Commission on 1/22/19, the day of the HZC meeting?

Co-chairs of the Morton-Brittain project and a committee member met with Historic District property owner Tommy Dugger to discuss the possibility of moving the house to property behind his current historic house/office.

What are the benefits of this new location?

  • The property is located within the Nolensville Historic District as directed by the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County.
  • The house moving route is similar to that of the prior application site.
  • Instead of requiring two moves by only safe harboring the house at first, the house will be moved to a potential long-term site with the first move.
  • The property owner/project partner is community minded and will better maintain the house following restoration. The applicant has proven experience with a successfully restored and maintained historic district house/office.

What are the challenges if any of this new location?

The property is located within the flood plain, so requirements and restrictions had to be

studied. Typically, a structure can be raised approximately 3 ft. This process has been verified, similar to the preserved Nolen House.

The property requires a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Zoning Commission for the house relocation here and there is limited time. The Town of Nolensville permitted the Nolensville Historical Society team to secure signatures of adjacent property owners in order to call a special HZC meeting to review the request to move the historic house into the Nolensville Historic District as a temporary location. A new Certificate of Appropriateness application will need to be filed in order to keep the home at that location long term within 90 days.

How do recent events affect the house moving date?

Mr. Malakouti, the developer of the site where the house is currently located, has graciously allowed an extension to move the house that is projected to be 2/4/19.

The Historic Zoning Commission will meet on 1/31/19 to review the Certificate of

Appropriateness to temporarily move the Morton-Brittain to the requested site.

Was the new proposed property owner, the real estate agent for the developer where the house is currently located?

Yes, however, this is an independent, separate land transaction from the real estate representation of the land where the house is currently located. The Nolensville Historical Society pursued Tommy Dugger for potential historic district property participation and not the other way around. There was no way to foresee this property as the home’s destination or that the house would have to be moved at all for that matter. NHS appreciates this historic district location possibility in light of the recent setback

experienced when the prior long term historic district property was lost, putting the move date, thus the historic house in jeopardy.

Is the new proposed property owner an alderman and historic zoning Commissioner?

Yes, and as an applicant for this project will be disqualified from participating in the discussion, decision or proceedings of the commission in connection with this Certificate for Appropriateness. As an elected or appointed official, a business person can not receive special favor nor should the official receive negative bias within a fair and impartial process for all.

The current fund-raising effort protects the home from demolition by moving it. What are the plans to restore the home?

Fund-raising events and products will be developed, preservation grants written and donations collected to assist with the restoration project. The goal is to return the home as closely as possible to its original single-story condition. The preservation effort is a partnership. The land owner provides the property for the home, and the preservation community works to restore it as an architectural supplement to Nolensville’s historic village. Within Village zoning, the residence also has an opportunity to become a commercial venue in the future. Public access is required within the agreement to receive the historic home.

Is it typical for non-profit organizations to restore endangered historic structures on private property?

Yes. The property owner has forgone other opportunities for use or development of the parcel where the historic house is relocated. Without a willing property owner, the historically significant structure on the National Register of Historic Places would be lost forever to the community. The property owner leases the property and home to preservation organizations during the restoration period. The Morton-Brittain home remains the personal property of the owner with requirements for public access and

maintenance of its restored condition. The house is protected in perpetuity by the Nolensville Historic Zoning Commission due to its relocation into the official historic district.

Will the Morton-Brittain House lose its designation on the National Register of Historic Places even though it has to be moved in order to save it?

Although moving the home puts its accreditation at risk, there are cases where a home could maintain its National Register of Historic Places accreditation if the home is in grave danger and is moved to a similar setting. Again, this location complies with the recommendation that the Morton-Brittain home be moved within the historic district of Nolensville.

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