Resident upset with new town sign

Mike Mitchell, activist with Farragut Citizens for Responsible Growth and Development, said Farragut’s current signs used to mark property rezoning disenfranchise residents.

He spoke about the difficulty to see and understand the current rezoning signs at the Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meeting Thursday, May 19, and at the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen Meeting Thursday, May 26.

Mitchell said he came to BOMA because Ed Whiting, temporary FMPC chair, would not let him show pictures of signs at its meeting. He brought the sign itself to BOMA.

Mitchell said a new sign he saw for the rezoning of property near his neighborhood was difficult to understand while driving along Turkey Creek Road “I couldn’t read it because it was on the walking path,” he said to BOMA members. “It’s completely invisible in bright sunlight.”

Mitchell said its blue and white color scheme made it illegible and the sign tended to fall.

“This sign has spent more time on the ground than it has upright,” he said to FMPC members.

Mitchell said the sign’s wording was too vague and he thought the sign was for the beautification committee and if he had not seen the rezoning announcement in a newspaper, he would not have known the sign’s purpose.

“It’s just an issue of fairness,” he said to farragutpress. “This completely disenfranchised residents.”

Mitchell said at BOMA he knew law did not require signs.

“It may meet the letter of the law, but we’re better than that,” he said.

Mitchell said he preferred the previous signs, which had white lettering on a black background and read: “Use on Review.” Current signs read: “Notice: Action to be taken by the Town of Farragut related to this property” in blue letters on a white background.

“You shouldn’t have to go to the website to find out. That’s ridiculous,” Mitchell said.

“You have to go through a labyrinth of information,” he said, regarding the website.

Alderman Bob Markli said he did not see the difference between messages on the two signs.

“I already passed the one on Smith Road, understood immediately, first time I’d ever seen it,” Markli said.

Alderman Louise Povlin said letters faded in light and the Town needed to mount the signs in a more stable manner.

Mark Shipley, Community Development director, said staff would take an amended sign design to Visual Resources Review Board for approval.

“We actually appreciate his feedback. We’re going to make some modifications,” he said.

Shipley said Town staff ordered new rezoning signs because people had stolen the old ones and staff updated some outdated information that was on the signs.

We also made these new signs a little larger with larger lettering, and the signs incorporate our new Town logo and color scheme,” Shipley said in an e-mail regarding the current design.

Shipley said no law requires rezoning signs, only advertisements in general circulation newspapers.

“The town of Farragut greatly exceeds notification requirements in several ways, including the rezoning signs placed on the property, individual letters to abutting property owners, and meeting notifications on social media, the Town’s website and government cable station and in our two local newspapers,” Shipley said.