Compromises have TopGolf, Town closer to a deal

Town officials engaged in a nearly two-hour phone conference with TopGolf project representatives Tuesday, July 2, developing parameters for a new zoning district and designation to cover the international entertainment venue’s needs if it ultimately decides to build along Outlet Drive.

Not only is it another step in possibly wooing TopGolf to Farragut, but project partner and developer Colby Price of RealtyLink — who previously said plans also include building a hotel and restaurant adjacent to TopGolf if the Farragut plans are approved — also has expressed interest in additional properties along that same corridor.

The phone conference took place during the regularly scheduled Town monthly staff/developer meeting, and key portions of it concerned the proposed Outlet Drive Regional Entertainment and Employment District, OD-RE/E.

It would replace the current C-2R/W zoning designation, Community Development director Mark Shipley said.

As proposed, the exterior would be a mix of masonry, metal and EFIS and would meet the yet-to-be established district’s proposed guidelines of a 10 percent minimum masonry composition — which TopGolf project architect Rachel Bohac noted was an increase from the original proposal. “It is rare for us to go off prototype,” she said.

Mark Shipley, Town Community Development director, said he and the rest of the Community Development staff would work on the ordinance changes, and send them out sometime this week.

The proposed new zoning district “establishes what we are doing, and how it is defined,” he added. “And this seems to work better for what (TopGolf and Price) are wanting to do.”

Town officials have discussed for some time possibly creating this new designation, not only for TopGolf’s purposes, but also to help guide development along Outlet Drive, which currently has a hodge-podge of businesses along with open land that has yet to be developed.

“The proposed regional recreational and entertainment facility (proposed designation) in the new zoning district would not just be for TopGolf’s use, but for a large multi-use type facility that targets a regional market,” Shipley said.

Robin Askew, one of TopGolf’s attorneys on the call, said she wanted to “commend you and the Town for taking this approach.”

“It definitely covers the category perfectly,” Price said.

Together, the group discussed nearly 40 different comments TopGolf representatives had made to the ordinance draft shared in advance of the July 2 meeting.

The group also talked about which parcels along Outlet Drive would be considered for the new designation if the district is approved.

Two items placed on the July 18 FMPC agenda for discussion and public hearings are the new Outlet Drive District designation and parcels that could effectively be rezoned along Outlet Drive.

Among those also attending the meeting were Farragut Mayor Ron Williams, Alderman Ron Pinchok, Town administrator David Smoak, assistant administrator Trevor Hobbs and Municipal Planning Commission members Jon Greene and recent appointee Scott Russ.