Roundabout added to Virtue improvements

A bird’s eyeview of Virtue Road shows the proposed improvements, which include a bridge replacement and straightening of an “S” curve. The newest plans, however, also show a roundabout in front of Brookmere subdivision, which currently is under development.
Farragut Municipal Planning Commission has voted to recommend approval of Town of Farragut’s preliminary plan to improve Virtue Road, which now includes at roundabout at the proposed Brookmere subdivision development.

The planning commission cast a unanimous

vote during its meeting, Thursday, Sept. 20. The Town is making improvements from 2,200 feet south of Broadwood Drive to 700 feet south of Kingston Pike.

Virtue Road extends from Boyd Station to Kingston Pike and encompasses 8,400 feet. Town engineer Darryl Smith said the road’s improvements are being done in phases, with this project being the first.

Phase I plans, which involves 3,700 linear feet, includes two 11-foot lanes with curb and gutter, an 8-foot multi-use greenway and a new bridge over Little Turkey Creek.

During FMPC’s August meeting, it asked Smith to consider adding a roundabout at the entrance of Brookmere subdivision as a traffic-calming measure.

“We’ve got a preliminary layout for that,” he said. “We may have to modify the island to the east of the circle some, but we feel this (roundabout) can be done and would actually be a compliment to the development without being too big of an impact on either side of the roadway.

“We have spoken with Bob Mohney, developer for Brookmere,” Smith said. “He had a positive response to this, provided we could make sure it doesn’t hurt his development.

“I think we can probably include some details that would complement the type of entrance that he’s building out there.”

Complementary to Mohney means “aesthetics — make sure it fits in and it’s not completely juxtaposed,” said Russ Rackley, engineer for the development and owner of Rackley Engineering. They also want a circle, landscaping and signage that tie in with the development’s entrance, he said.

However, “Our main concern is that it functions correctly … and essentially looks like a rotary intersection as opposed to just some thing sticking in the middle of the road,” Rackley said.

Sugarwood residents, however, were more concerned about keeping a concrete sidewalk versus an asphalt walking path.

“I have no problem with the roundabout — I think it works,” Sugarwood resident Rick Bullock said, but he added, “I really want to keep the concrete sidewalk.

While Planning Commissioner Louise Povlin agreed a sidewalk would be attractive, it is harder to walk or jog on than asphalt, she said.

Povlin added FMPC has to look at the sidewalk or walking path’s use in 20 years, not just it’s use now and “our vision for what we want to see from this day forward, a multi-use path.”

In other business, FMPC members talked with Watt Road area residents about a proposed Comprehensive Land Use Map, for which action is expected at its meeting Oct. 18.

Town’s CLUP committee has been studying the Town’s land use plan since last year and has recommended changes, particularly at corridors entering the Town.

“The point was to come up with what we got here with these proposed changes,” Mayor Ron Williams said, adding the Town is expecting to change the map next month, but before it could, there had to be a public meeting.

“We want to make sure everyone is on board,” he added.

Mark Shipley, Community Development director, said changes include making provisions for more multi-family and small commercial developments.

He told residents the map was important because it is the basis for any (zoning) changes the Town makes in the future.

“It’s a vision,” FMPC chairman Rita Holladay said.

“Visions can change; communities can change,” Shipley added. “This (proposed map) is the

first step. It’s a model for other corridors.”