Town ‘entertaining’ ordinance changes to lure TopGolf

Sign ordinance to be reviewed

While Town of Farragut is “entertaining” an ordinance change affecting commercial zones along Outlet Drive — to bring TopGolf into Town limits and create an entertainment corridor there — a review of its sign ordinance will be the first such evaluation in years.

Though TopGolf and Town officials still have to work out differences between the company’s structural and esthetic design and Farragut ordinances, Town administrator David Smoak reassured Shop Farragut/Farragut Business Alliance members on this point during its monthly meeting Thursday, June 20, in Town Hall.

“Their concept doesn’t necessarily fit into a box of ordinances that most cities have,” he said about the challenges not being unique to Farragut. “… Not a lot of municipalities have ordinances that allow 156-foot-tall poles. … And lighting, parking. It’s just a different concept.”

However, the Town administrator said “a lot of modifications” would have to be made. “We’re going to get that to the (Farragut Municipal) Planning Commission in July … a public hearing, … So we’re going to create an ordinance just for this to hopefully get them here.”

“TopGolf is an entertainment facility, it’s more than golf,” Alliance member Jim Nixon said.

“I don’t expect a huge amount of local support that’s going to be there and hang out every night,” Alliance vice chair Candace Viox said. “But it’s definitely going to bring in people to stay in our hotels.”

Saying he was concerned about the “longevity” of interest in TopGolf customer-wise, Smoak said he “talked to a friend of mine from Birmingham about it, and she said (TopGolf) has been there three or four years now and it’s still humming along.

“… We’re having to craft a lot of ordinances to look at an entertainment area,” he added. “You’re not going to have another entertainment area, probably, around Town. It’s going to be specific to the Interstate (area), the type of modifications.

“So a lot of the changes that are going to go on are only going to be for that specific area. They’re not going to, necessarily, translate into Kingston Pike or Campbell Station Road or other places around Farragut.”

As for handling Outlet Drive traffic heading west toward the intersection with Snyder Road, “We let a project just recently to the Snyder Road-Campbell Station Road intersection,” Smoak said. “We’re trying to get two southbound lanes from Snyder Road down to the Interstate and allow for two left-turn lanes from Snyder heading south. That way, that 5 o’clock traffic that likes to back up all the way down Snyder Road will hopefully be somewhat alleviated.”

Meanwhile, “The first comprehensive review of our sign ordinance in a number of years” is approaching, Smoak said. “… The Sign Ordinance Committee is expected to meet sometime around the first of July … meeting over the next several months trying to work through the sign ordinance and see if any changes need to be made.”

Should this committee recommend any changes, those would be sent to Visual Review Board, then to Farragut Municipal Planning Commission — and for final approval from Board of Mayor and Aldermen.