With a Town Center, reader ‘corrects’ Town leaders, wants ‘Market Square-type’ approach
A walkable “Knoxville Market Square-type environment” located at the site of the old Kroger building has been the vision of many residents of Farragut for over a decade. This vision would have shops and restaurants on the first level with condos above them on the second or third story.
Many people have said they would like to see the adjacent Biddle Farm land turned into a park. All of this would elevate the attractiveness of Farragut, maintain its unique character and provide a wonderful place for our citizens to eat, walk in the park and shop.
Having such a Market Square and adjacent park across the street from other shops and restaurants and close to Farragut schools would make the center of our town vibrant and alive.
What is currently being steadily pushed through the Farragut Municipal Planning Commission and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen is quite different. What the Mayor (Ron Williams) and Vice Mayor (Louise Povlin) are proposing is to build 280 apartments in four-story buildings on the Biddle farm property with a few strip malls attached.
This conjures up a picture of the typical suburban strip mall of which we already have enough — but with the added blessing of a large, bulky apartment complex with parking for 500 cars. In addition to not adding to the small town feel of Farragut, it adds lots of traffic to an area which already suffers from congestion.
Below are some things that make the Town of Farragut’s proposed development bad for our community and why the Market Square/Park is great:
• A large percentage of the Biddle Farm where the apartments are slated to be built are on a flood plain according to FEMA. FEMA maps also indicate that a “regulatory floodway” also runs through the Biddle Farm property (source FEMA.gov).
The Biddle Farm sits above caves and suffers from sinkholes. The old Kroger building and the Biddle Farm barn are not built on a flood plain, floodway or above caves. Thus shops with condos on top would be safe and the park may flood once in a while with no catastrophic damage.
• The Concord Road segment that runs adjacent to the proposed development from Kingston Pike to the end of South Campbell Station (Road) has a permanent two-lane bottleneck between the Pleasant Forest Cemetery and the small cemetery section on the other side of Concord Road.
Thus the widening of Concord Road from South Northshore to the end of South Campbell Station will cause this bottleneck to grow.
• The 280 apartments will add an estimated 350 to 500 more vehicles in the morning and afternoon rush hours near our schools and existing businesses. This will keep shoppers from coming to our existing businesses as well as any new ones in the Town Center.
The proposal with the apartments is moving steadily and stealthily through the approval process. FMPC held a meeting with developers Sept. 1 concerning the CLUP and zoning associated with the Farragut Town Center at Biddle Farms.
Then the FMPC meeting Sept. 17 was held and agenda item No 8 reads, “Discussion and public hearing on amendments to the text of CLUP as it relates to the Mixed Use Town Center.”
The Farragut administration said none of the 29 letters sent to the FMPC were related to agenda item No. 8; that they were about the 280 apartments. As you can see from the FMPC developer meeting, agenda item No. 8 was about altering the CLUP so the zoning for the apartments could be approved later.
However, I believe the public was purposely mislead. ... Our our residents need to make their voice heard now.