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Belleaire ‘points of concern’ presented

Eighteen points of concern and demand, as expressed by Belleaire, Shiloh and Derby Chase neighborhoods involving relocation of Belleaire Drive 220 feet to the east at Kingston Pike, were laid out at the most recent Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meeting.

Now incorporated into First Baptist Church, Concord’s $37.5 million Master Concept Plan, relocation of Belleaire Drive received unanimous approval from Farragut Municipal Planning Commission — 8-0, with Alderman Ron Honken absent — during its monthly meeting, Thursday, March 20, in Town Hall.

Arthur G. Seymour Jr., attorney representing Belleaire, Derby Chase and Shiloh neighborhoods, said his clients — most of whom are opposed to church expansion into lots formally part of Belleaire subdivision — are basically “resigned to” the reality of a new Belleaire Drive. “They never really have supported it.”

Seymour spelled out concerns from his clients in a letter made available to John King, church attorney, and FMPC.

The 18 concerns and requests from residents includes one point of sharp division:

• Four new residential lots, owned by the church and designated as “missionary housing,” must be used as single family housing only as included in Belleaire subdivision’s covenants and restrictions stipulations, which “are now being reimposed.”

King said he “didn’t have his client’s permission to agree to that,” adding the property already is zoned residential and no other action is needed. The FBC attorney also said “deed restrictions” are not flexible should the Town desire to rezone the property in the future. “We are unwilling to do that,” he


Among three citizens voicing opposition to relocating Belleaire Drive was Bob Jones, Crestview Drive, who called King’s explanation “a cop-out.”

Jones recalled a 2002 meeting with church leaders, where FBC pastor, the Rev. Doug Sager, “tried to calm us down a little bit, reassure us,” he said. “We were told the homes that were bought would be used by missionaries on furlough. In 2002 I think they owned three. Since then, they now own 21 percent of our neighborhood.

“We know those buildings have been used for things other than what they’re supposed to be used for,” Jones added. “… If they are truly for missionaries and truly for the work of God, why don’t you sign the covenants and restrictions?”

Other areas of concern/-demand:

• Shiloh condominiums, “in particular,” being concerned about elevation of the new road and shifting landscape features because of the move. In front of FMPC, Seymour added that Shiloh’s westernmost condominium units “are going to be very close to a road that was not there when Shiloh was established,” and that “the road elevation is going to be higher than the floor elevation of Shiloh. … Some four to five feet above their floor elevation at certain points there.”

Seymour also said close proximity to a new detention facility planned to border the new road to the east and “just to the south of Shiloh are of concern. We’re asking to review those … that they are developed in such a manner as to not cause flooding at Shiloh.”

King said road elevation “is a result of tying into Kingston Pike,” adding, “I believe it will be the same road elevation as the entrance that comes out of Shiloh.”

• No new curb cuts except for the four new residential lots being created. The church’s main campus would not have access to new Belleaire Drive, which would span approximately 1,212 linear feet before connecting with old Belleaire Drive to the south.

King basically agreed, but added the church would need to add a fifth curb cut “to allow access for maintenance of our detention pond.”

• Some sort of buffer, such as “attractive” fencing or planting, to prevent roadside parking to church functions. The same “attractive” buffer should be erected “where it parallels the western units of Shiloh.” Ruth Hawk, Farragut Community Development director, said staff recommended “a privacy fence of some sort” on the east side, and that berms, which were a listed option, would not be suitable because they would push drainage water onto Shiloh. King agreed with the fencing proposal.

• Existing Belleaire Drive should be closed as soon as the new road is open.

King said old Belleaire needs to remain open until on-site FBC construction allows traffic to flow to new church exits directly onto Kingston Pike.

Hawk read a proposal where old Belleaire Drive would cease being a church outlet when FBC’s “flat-top” and “A-frame” structures are torn down. No timetable was set.

• Minimal traffic obstruction during construction.

King agreed, adding FBC and construction personnel would attempt to warn neighbors about higher levels of construction traffic on a given day.

• Concerns about intersections into and out of subdivisions.

• Green space near cul-de-sac at the “Tobler property” should be maintained as green space only. King agreed provided Toblers maintain ownership.

• All utilities should be underground.

King said the church is flexible either way. Hawk said the area, based on one expert’s evaluation, “is very feasible to be underground.”

• No permanent or temporary lights or sound systems allowed at new church ball fields, and all athletic activities should cease by 9 p.m.

King said the church basically agrees to that for sports-related activities, but not for worship-related outdoor functions. The FBC attorney wished to amend the time deadline to “sundown.”

• Church ball fields should be located so that no balls are being pitched or batted onto adjoining homes.

King said ball field location prevents this problem, unless a “Babe Ruth” type hitter smacks an unusually long home run.

• Clients want to see a timetable for construction.

King said “it is very, very difficult to get a timeline now. … Your best estimate frequently is grossly inaccurate. … We will attempt to keep the neighborhood informed as we go along about our best estimate at that time as to what our completion date is for any particular stage of the construction.

• All stormwater plans should be reviewed by Shiloh or its engineers.

King said, “We don’t mind if they do.”

Seymour emphasized that Belleaire Drive “does not have any other outlets other than onto Kingston Pike” for his clients.

In apparent reference to Alderman/Commission Dot LeMarche, Jones said “we had an elected alderperson to represent our area, and she showed no interest in talking with us or attending any meetings.

“I feel a little let down by Farragut, and little let down by the church that nobody stood up took this thing by the horns and made us get together and solve these problems,” Jones added. “All that happens is a few people meet here, and few people meet there, and tempers get riled. It’s a prime example of how a government can fail a people.”


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