Kingston Pike Village details mulled by FMPC

A lively discussion regarding a site plan amendment related to Kingston Pike Village, which is designated as a Planned Community Development at 115 S. Watt Road, was featured during Farragut Municipal Planning Commission’s most recent meeting.

That development, slated to combine commercial, retail and residential components — including 228 upscale apartments — has long been discussed before FMPC, which approved its initial site plan in July 2018.

Two specific issues — the appearance of proposed retaining walls within the apartment portion of the development, along with the proposed rear retaining wall — were discussed.

“This plat was approved previously with a number of conditions, but the staff didn’t feel comfortable with making decisions” on these two issues, Community Development director Mark Shipley said.

Mark Bialik, who is one of the design architects on the project, explained an 8-foot difference between two of the apartment buildings within the development had designers rethinking some of the original plans.

“So we put in a retaining wall, which puts in a flat area for residents to use,” Bialik said. “We purposely did that to create a flat space.”

Vice Mayor Louise Povlin took issue with the plans and called them “unattractive.

“Every time we come back to (the development), the plans are less and less inviting and less usable,” she added. “You’re trying to fit a size 10 foot into a size 7 shoe.”

“What we had earlier was a concept, not a complete design,” Bialik responded.

“I know this is a difficult property to build on, but I feel we have compromised, and I can’t compromise anymore,” Povlin said. “I am very concerned about this. It is like death by 1,000 cuts.”

Bialik said the development already has 20 percent of open space planned — double what is required.

Ultimately, FMPC approved the interior plat design, with Povlin casting the lone vote against it.

Further discussion considered the development’s planned backdrop retaining wall, which will be as high as 30 feet in some places.

Developers are suggesting building a “soil nail” wall, which is constructed using long metal rods drilled into the soil at an angle, which anchors the wall. The FMPC soundly disagreed with the developers’ proposal of vines or veneer.

Mayor Ron Williams suggested developers consider imitating the brick and stacked stone wall the Town’s Public Works department recently oversaw.

“We were looking for guidance and I think we have it,” Bialik said.

The decision was tabled, but is on the April 16 meeting agenda.