Strong develop push for Ivey, Swan farms

The Ivey family and developer David Robinette will find out next month if hopes of developing the Ivey Farm off Union Road into a subdivision will be realized.

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission heard from the family and went over developers’ plans during its meeting Thursday, April 19.

FMPC agreed to take action on the rezoning of the Ivey Farm property, along with the Swan property, 12639 Kingston Pike, at its meeting May 17.

Robinette, president of Site Inc., Ltd., has asked to rezone five parcels, which makes up the 115-acre Ivey Farm, from Agricultural and R-1 to R-1 Open Space Residential to build a subdivision.

At the same time, Robinette also asked to rezone 28.76 acres of the former Swan Farm, from R-2, R-1 and Floodplain District to Commercial-1, R-4, OS-P and floodplain district, to build a commercial development with some residential properties.

The Swan property, which backs onto Union Road, sits across the street from the Ivey property.

The Swan property also could be the Town’s first application of its proposed neighborhood commercial district zoning.

“… The purpose of the neighborhood commercial is to look at areas that would be good transition zones between residential and, say, commercial major thoughoughfares,” Town administrator David Smoak said during the monthly Shop Farragut board meeting Friday morning, April 20, in Town Hall.

Mixing commercial and residential in the same development, “They’re looking at doing commercial on the front and some residential behind” on the Swan property.

“We are aware of the neighborhood commercial zoning, and that is our vision of what the commercial should be,” Askew said during the FMPC meeting. “There are no major boxes coming in that are larger than 25,000 to 30,000 square feet. They just aren’t there anymore, and that’s a good thing.

“We want a concept that looks like a town within a town.”

“The applicant for [the Swan] property is actually involved in the Ivey property on the north side of Union Road,” Farragut Community Development director Mark Shipley said at the FMPC meeting, adding there had been earlier discussions on how to coordinate the timing of the improvements with the development.

In previous meetings, the FMPC and area residents argued Union Road is too substandard for another residential development.

In that respect, Shipley said the Town is working with a consultant to finalize partial roadway design plans to improve Union Road and is submitting those plans to Tennessee Department of Transportation for requested design exceptions.

Susan Ivey Johnston, daughter of Ivey Farm owners Jess and Mary Ivey, said her family has been trying for 12 years to develop the farm.

“We speak tonight, not only for ourselves, but for our parents, Jess and Mary Ivey, when we say the transition of the Ivey farm, which has been in her family for 103 years, represents much more to us than merely rezoning for development of our farm,” she said during the meeting. “For the past 12 years, we’ve worked with several potential buyers in an attempt to sell our land.”

She said the town has repeatedly denied previous rezoning requests, citing substandard conditions of Union Road. She asked the Commission to reconsider the requests.

Last month, Robinette and FMPC also discussed creating a neighborhood commercial development at that site.

“We’re talking about creating a new neighborhood commercial zoning,” Shipley said. “This particular property, because it very close to a lot of residential developments would potentially be a good candidate for that rezoning district if it is created.”

FMPC member Noah Myers, whose company was hired a number of years ago to broker the property, recused himself from discussions.

Robin Askew, Robinette’s attorney, outlined conceptual plans for the subdivision and Swan commercial developments.

The Swan property would include a grocery store, coffee shop, restaurants, three retail shops, a bank and some residential units.

Shipley said Robinette is planning to extend Way Station Trail to Union Road and help construct a roundabout that would tie together the Swan and Ivey properties.

Before the rezoning request comes before the Commission for a formal recommendation, Shipley suggested the portion of the Swan property being proposed as R-4 zoning, to be conditional on the Way Station Trail extension “so anything that develops on the Swan property would have access to a street that meets the minimum design standards in the subdivision regulations.

“We could talk about that in relation to the Ivey Farm as well” to tie the subdivision to Union Road improvements, he added.

Askew said Robinette is proposing more than 200 residential homes on the Ivey Farm and on the Swan farm property.

“We recognize the concerns about the Ivey Farm being developed before the completion of the road work on Union Road,” she said.

“We are proposing a road along the western edge of the Swan Farm from Kingston Pike to Union Road and building a roundabout there, which would be done way before the Union Road improvements are completed,” Askew said. “This actually would be a benefit to the town, as much as it would give you an access point to Kingston Pike when you have to close Union Road, which you will have to do to improve the bridge and each end of Union Road.”

If the developer receives approval for rezoning next month, he would start on infrastructure, grading and the Way Station extension.

Askew estimates the completion of that work would take about 18 months.

“So the reality is, we’re not going to be asking for any building permits on the Ivey farm until — best case scenario — 2020,” she said.