Town staff points out issues with K-Pike Village site plan

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission and developers sounded off, and received a breakdown of concerns from Town staff, about challenges involving Kingston Pike Village, the mixed-use residential development proposed near the intersection of South Watt Road and Kingston Pike.

The proposed Planned Commercial District development, situated beside Little Joe’s Pizza, consists of 18.59 acres where a grocery store, apartments and two retail shop buildings would be located, along with dedicated common open space.

Developers Daniel Smith and Tyler Lindsey and engineer Mark Bialik had submitted an initial site plan, and the project already was discussed during a Town Staff Developer meeting Dec. 5.

While FMPC took no action at its Thursday, Dec. 21, meeting, Bart Hose, assistant Community Development director, presented Town staff evaluations of the plan to FMPC so developers could get members’ feedback.

“There were a large number of comments [from Town staff] for the site plan,” Hose said. “It is a very large and complicated project, so it’s to be expected that there would be a lot of issues with the site plan that was turned in.

“This is likely a project that will require multiple workshop sessions,” he added.

The major issues of concern as stated by staff were:

• “… the project’s use of an existing access point located approximately 130 feet from the intersection of Kingston Pike and South Watt Road. This access point currently serves Little Joe’s Pizza.” [Hose said a traffic study is required].

• “The plan does not adequately address vehicular and pedestrian connectivity to abutting properties.

• “Improvements to the site’s internal pedestrian circulation and landscaping should be considered. Additional sidewalks are needed to facilitate pedestrian movement in several areas.”

Town staff continues to question whether the proposed “‘open space areas’ satisfy the PCD ordinance’s objectives of ‘functional common spaces,’” Hose said.

“Some of the staff’s comments seem to be that we go back and make substantial changes to this development plan for some of those reasons, for the feeling there’s too much going on, etc.,” Smith said. “I think the position that we have is that this is not the best development plan for the developer, it’s not the perfect development plan for the Town of Farragut, but it is the best development plan that we have for this site — for us to be able to finance it, to go forward and get the retail … this is what we spent three months talking about and this is the plan the [Farragut] Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to pass and what the Planning Commission voted to pass.

“If we rehash everything, we are apprehensive about creating a whole new plan,” he added.

Smith explained re-doing the plan would cost time and money.

Regarding the access point issue, Hose said, “The site plan, as submitted, includes this as a second point of ingress/egress along Kingston Pike. The Town’s staff is opposed to this access plan and has discussed several design alternatives.”

They include closing off that existing access or making it a right-in, right-out-only ingress/egress.

“The Town’s preferred alternative would be to require the developers to work with the owners of Little Joe’s Pizza to close the existing access on Kingston Pike and either combine or reconfigure both sites to coordinate traffic flow between the site and route existing traffic onto an access point along South Watt Road,” Hose said.

“We can’t close that entrance,” Bialik said. “Closing it would kill [Little Joe’s Pizza’s] business.”

Commissioner Louise Povlin, who also is a Town alderman, said, “I am loathe to shut down [that access] and punish Little Joe’s Pizza. I have concerns about that.”

FMPC chairwoman Rita Holladay and commissioner Ed Whiting said they have seen cases where right-in, right-out accesses often are abused.

But Povlin said a right-in, right-out access would be an improvement to the area’s existing traffic conditions.