Gibson-McFee zoning change fails BOMA 3-2 vote

Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen votes were split, 3-2, on allowing the rezoning of the Gibson farm property along McFee Road, with the motion for approval failing on first reading during its virtual meeting Thursday, July 23.

While Vice Mayor Louise Povlin and Alderman Scott Meyer voted in favor of the motion, made by Povlin, to rezone, Mayor Ron Williams and Aldermen Drew Burnette and Ron Pinchok voted against.

“… If we do this, and we set a precedent along that power line for this, for attached, then we’ve got quite a bit of land on the other side of McFee … there are power lines that go through there,” Williams said. “It’s not like this power line happens on this one particular piece of property.”

The developer, Russ Rackley, with Rackley Engineering, was asking the Board to approve a request to rezone 24.85 acres at 1013 McFee Road, from Agricultural to Open Space Mixed Residential Overlay.

“We have made an appropriate request,” he said. “… Why then are we being treated differently?”

Rackley said during a workshop earlier in the month he was given “two possible solutions.”

“If the (OSMR zoning) was unacceptable, why wasn’t it made clear?” Rackley asked.

Farragut Community Development director Mark Shipley said the property is two parcels south of McFee Park.

“It does have a (100-foot-wide) transmission line easement that runs through the property in a horizontal manner,” he said, adding the developer is asking for the same zoning district as the Cottages at Pryse Farm, which also lies along McFee Road.

“OSMR provides for detached single family and attached single family, just like the Cottages,” Shipley added. “Whereas the regular Open Space Residential only provides for detached.

“Based on the acreage of this tract, they would be permitted potentially up to 54 house lots.”

The objective “… was so they could cluster the attached part on part of the property and detached on the other part to kind of work around that large transmission line easement,” Shipley said. “Either of those zoning districts — OSR or OSMR — would be consistent with the open space cluster residential land use. Really, it becomes of question of what you want to see out there.

“It’s a pretty rural area,” he added, noting most areas along McFee Road are zoned Agricultural or Low Density Residential.

A meeting was held with residents before the Farragut Municipal Planning Commission, which voted 8-1 in favor of the rezoning at its July 16 meeting.

“When I went through the meeting with all the residents out there, they all seemed to like the single-family (detached),” said Williams, who was the lone vote against the rezoning at the Commission meeting. “That’s what they all conveyed to me and what they marked up on the maps that we had.”

“The property is compromised,” Povlin said. While at the previous meeting with McFee residents, she said the residents wanted to keep the area zoned Agricultural, which she thought was unreasonable.

Povlin maintained the Board is treating the developer and landowner unfairly and that the OSMR would create less traffic than an OSR zone. “When we’re talking about someone’ property, we’re supposed to be fair,” she said. “We’re not doing that right now, I’m very sad about what I hear right now.”

“The density is less in the OSMR, and it appears the attached (dwellings) would not front (McFeeRoad),” Meyer said.

Williams pointed out the Cottages at Pryce Farm had a large sinkhole, thus the reason for allowing an OSMR zoning.