Despite protest, FMPC OKs Grigsby Park

Dr. Sophronia Ward and Doug Kimsey present arguments about increased traffic on Grigsby Chapel Road, using a PowerPoint presentation, during Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meeting Thursday, April 19.
Despite neighboring residents’ objections, developer Travis Fuller has received Farragut Municipal Planning Commission’s approval to continue with plans for Grigsby Park subdivision off Grigsby Chapel Road.

In a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Rose Ann Kile abstaining, FMPC approved Fuller’s concept plan for the 24.9-acre property located adjacent to Westside Unitarian Universalist Church and west of Chapel Point subdivision, during its meeting Thursday, April 19.

Fuller’s plans involve a 66-lot single-family home development, which would be similar to Chapel Point and Farragut Commons, both off Grigsby Chapel Road.

Gerald Tharton, who represented Westside Church, opposed the development, saying the plan shows a road running across the church’s property.

“We just learned recently that there was an amended concept plan that changes the plan in certain ways,” he said. “(The developer) did not talk to us about the road.”

Tharton asked FMPC not take action on the concept plan.

“We think there hasn’t been sufficient examination of the concept plan for that subdivision,” he added.

“There are a couple of major discussion points on that project — the access to other developments or to the west, where the church is located,” said Mark Shipley, Farragut Community Development director.

Kile said she abstained because she wanted to see results of talks between the church and the developer.

Chapel Point was proposed as another option for a second access, but Fuller said Chapel Point residents indicated they did not want a connection from Grigsby Park to their subdivision.

Wyndham Hall residents Mul Wyman and Ron Smith; Doug Kimsey of Lanesboro Way; and Dr. Sophronia Ward, a Knoxville data analyst, argued traffic on Grigsby Chapel Road has increased since the last traffic study.

Commissioner Louise Povlin said when she drives along Grigsby Chapel Road, “the only time I see it back up is (the 7 a.m.) time frame, when you’re getting ready for school in the morning.”

She referred to a couple years ago, when an assisted living facility was proposed along Smith Road.

”At that time, the concern was the incompatibility of the zoning for senior living,” Povlin said. “So, what I’m hearing now is, ‘We still don’t want you to do this because of the traffic.’ That frustrates me, and I imagine the landowners are frustrated by that because they’ve come at it (every) which way they can.

“It is zoned R-4,” she added. “In my mind, they do have a right to develop it as currently zoned, as Chapel Point (residents have) a right to that lot No. 7, to decide they do not want a connection there. It is their right to deny that access.”

“It’s not that we have any problem with the use of the property, the problem is with that intersection and the amount of traffic,” Smith said.

The property fronts Grigsby Chapel Road, across from Wyndham Hall subdivision. It extends northward to the Interstate 40/75 right-of-way and to the east behind and north of Chapel Point and Farragut Commons developments, Shipley said.

“The property is subject to several physical/environment development constraints, including areas of steep slopes, the North Branch of Turkey Creek and its associated floodplain and several potential springs and wetland areas,” Smith said.

However, Shipley said the development’s concept would “allow the developer to better cluster the units and limit disturbance in some of the more constrained portions of the property.”