Despite impassioned pleas from Saddle Ridge subdivision homeowners urging Farragut Municipal Planning Commission to vote against a long-discussed rezoning request, the board unanimously approved the rezoning of 115 acres along Union Road from Agricultural and Residential-1 to R-1 with Open Space Residential overlay.
Known as the Ivey Farm property, the rezoning request has been discussed for some time, and was most recently brought to the FMPC last April
Following FMPC’s vote, which came during its monthly meeting Thursday, May 17, in Town Hall, final approval or rejection of the rezoning will fall to Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
A concurrent issue is the need for repairs and upgrades to Union Road to support additional traffic, which would be generated by future development.
Saddle Ridge HOA president Cynthia Gallentine, who was one of about 15 interested parties at the meeting, took to the podium and read a statement in which she expressed concern about both the proposed development and the needed road improvements.
“First of all, very little if any information about the Ivey Farm development has been made public,” Gallentine said. “This lack of transparency ... only fuels people’s suspicions about what is being planned. The same issue exists for the Union Road inprovement project ... It is all very confusing to the public. ...”
Commission chair Rita Holladay said at the outset of Thursday’s meeting that comments would be limited to five minutes per individual. She advised Gallentine when she reached her allotment, but after arguing that “others had longer time to speak,” Gallentine continued reading her prepared comments.
At that point, a fellow Saddle Ridge resident, Michelle Muhlheim, went to the podium and finished reading Gallentine’s statement, which at that point addressed the issue of the land’s current owners’ desire for its future use.
During previous meetings, Jeff Ivey’s daughters expressed the wish to fulfill their late father’s “dream to develop the property,” Mohan read. “I am sympathetic to the Iveys, but (am also concerned) how much of the hundreds of resident will be affected.”
The statement went on to say improvements to Union Road had only been mentioned at the April 19 FMPC meeting.
“I would ask that the Board not be swayed by realizing one family’s dream at the expense of hundreds of homeowners,” Mohan read.
“Lastly, please uphold your commitment to integrity, improving our road safety and infrastructure for existing homeowners in the area and see it as a priority before all else,” Gallentine’s statement read. “Do not allow threats … from parties interested in this deal to bully you into making this change and keep you from doing the right thing, right now.”
Saddle Ridge resident Warren Smull also asked the board “to reconsider (approving the) rezoning.”
He suggested no building permits should be issued “until the design/right-of-way plans” for Union Road were determined.
Several other residents expressed their concern and opposition to the rezoning.