FMPC mulls creating new ‘non big-box’ zone

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission is considering creating a new district, which would be smaller than “big box” shopping centers.

FMPC gave Mark Shipley, Community Development director, the go-ahead to work on an ordinance creating a Neighborhood/Convenience Commercial Zoning District during its meeting Thursday, March 15.

Shipley said the idea for the district is a result of Comprehensive Land Use Plan Steering Committee’s ongoing work with the plan’s updates and past discussions with FMPC and individual Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen members.

“The CLUP Steering Committee has identified several critical areas in the Town where the development and application of a new commercial zone might be needed,” he said.

In fact, the Town held a public meet Wednesday evening, March 21, in Farragut Town Hall Community Room, to discuss the vision for one of those zones, the North Watt Road corridor.

Alderman Louise Povlin said when she saw the request to rezone the Swan property, located across from the former Weigel’s off Kingston Pike, as Commercial, the proposed district came to mind there as well.

Shipley said he thinks the existing C-1 (General Commercial] District is too broad and needs to be “broken down.

“This new zone would be more neighborhood-oriented and focused on less intensive uses,” Shipley said. “The Town’s existing C-1 is, as its name implies, a generalized commercial zone that allows for a wide range of commercial activities with limited controls on the scale and intensity of permitted uses.”

“I don’t think we want a Big Box [business] on a small property,” FMPC chairwoman Rita Holladay said.

“The new Neighborhood/Convenience Commercial Zoning District would eliminate some permitted uses from the broader list of uses permitted in the C-1 District and limit the size and intensity of other uses with ‘maximum building size’ standards, enhanced attention to site lighting, placement of dumpsters and other site components that could have a negative effect on nearby residential developments,” Shipley said.

In the proposed district, he added, “You could build a Renaissance.”

He referred to a draft ordinance for the new district. Among the permitted uses proposed are retail sales, personal services and professional services. The draft indicates the maximum building size of a free-standing structure could be 25,000 square feet, and the maximum footprint area for a single, multi-use shopping center building could be 50,000 square feet with no individual use exceeding 50 percent of the total footprint area.