Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen is expected to vote on proposed updates to its present ordinances when it meets Thursday, July 27.
Board members mulled over the proposed changes during a workshop, which took place before its meeting Thursday, June 22. Tom Hale, Town attorney, said if the staff gets the corrected document in time, it might be considered for approval at the next Board meeting.
While it would normally meet again July 13, that meeting was cancelled because a lack of a quorum [lack of required Board members to vote] is anticipated, David Smoak, Town administrator, said.
The Board had hired Municode to handle the adoption of all of the Town’s codes, Smoak said.
“They put them online for us,” he said. “They update our ordinances every time we have an updated ordinance, but obviously over a few years there can be things that need to be changed and comprehensively looked at.”
Smoak said Hale and Municode have been trying to fit the Town’s codes to be consistent with state law.
“The document you’ve gotten dated Jan. 24, 2016, was [Municode’s] recommendation after Mr. [Roger] Merriam, [senior code attorney with Municode,] went through the entire code and compared it with state law,” Hale said. “He had quite a number of things he suggested. Most of his suggestions had to do with where our code was duplicative of state law. He was recommending we just take it out.”
He said in some instances, state law had changed, such
as for the Town’s provision for massage parlors.
“The state now does that, so we didn’t need that,” Hale said.
However, in some cases Hale said Merriam did not like the way the Town did a particular ordinance code so he took his recommendations and created another document.
After looking over Merriam’s suggestions, Hale and the staff came up with their own suggestions, preferring to leave articles in the codes rather than deleting them so residents would not have to look up the reference in state law.
“If ours is written in a way that they can understand it, it’s written the way we’re used to it and it fits with state law, then we were not about changing that because we felt that made it harder on citizens that were trying to figure out what the regulations were,” Hale said.
“All in all, I think it’s a good document,” Hale said. “For people familiar with the old one, it’s going to take some getting used to, but it works.”
So, much of the time, Hale said he and the staff recommended leaving things as they were. For instance, ordinances dealing with development were recommended to remain the same.
After getting back with Merriam on the recommendations, Hale said Merriam created a 400-plus recodified code and reorganized the whole code.
“I don’t have a problem with the way he organized it,”
Hale said. “It just took a while to figure out.
Hale added the only major change, which is an addition, is a definition section. Board members will have time to look over the ordinances and make suggestions then he will send the document back Municode to be corrected before it is presented to the Board again.