‘It was by all means ethical:’ Williams, Hale on FMPC public voice consideration

Recent e-mails sent to the Town involving Farragut Municipal Planning Commission’s Sept. 17 action to amend its Comprehensive Land Use Plan led Town attorney Tom Hale to assure that FMPC’s vote was proper during Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s Thursday, Sept. 24, meeting.

Mayor Ron Williams replied by e-mail to a resident’s question, answering, “‘Yes, it was by all means ethical.’”

Hale said there has been a “substantial amount of conversation and confusion over the past week over (an item) that was presented” to FMPC involving it adopting a resolution to approve some amendments to a portion of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Hale emphasized the Town adopts CLUP “as a guideline or as a vision for the development of the Town.

“The suggestion has been made that the resolution … was improper because certain comments that had been submitted by citizens were read during Citizens (Forum, at the end of the meeting), rather than during the discussion on the proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan that were being considered by the Planning Commission,” Hale added. “The suggestion that somehow that was done improperly caused me to think that I should look into it, try to understand what happened and make sure that resolution was properly adopted.

“Keep in mind, that was a resolution, not a rezoning. It was not an amendment to an ordinance; it was simply the Planning Commission adopting a resolution saying we accept these changes to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, which is not a legislative document.”

In looking at the e-mails submitted to FMPC, he said, “I was somewhat surprised to see that all the comments that apparently some people attempted to relate to the resolution earlier in the meeting, none of them mentioned the resolution.”

Instead, “They all talked about the rezoning of property for the development of apartments at the old Kroger shopping center,” Hale said. “Well, there wasn’t a rezoning on the agenda being considered by the Planning Commission.”

One such e-mail, from Deborah Hemmer of Concord Hills, which was not read into record at the Sept. 17 meeting, asked FMPC to “please explain why our voices were not heard before voting? Do you believe this action to be ethical?”

In an e-mail answering Hemmer, which he shared with farragutpress, Williams stated the Town’s deadline for receiving e-mails for consideration was noon the day of the FMPC meeting, adding her’s arrived at 2:58 p.m. “For clarity we did not have the rezoning of Biddle Farms as an agenda item.”

The agenda did have Item 8, which involved amendments to CLUP as it related to Mixed Use Town Center. “There was no citizens comments sent in on for Agenda Item No. 8,” Williams stated.