letters to the editor

Advice on how Town should address ‘major change’

I am writing in response to the Oct. 1, 2020 article, ‘It was by all means ethical:’ Williams, Hale on FMPC public voice consideration.” I don’t intend to address the ethical nature of the vote and the issues surrounding the vote. I would like to address some of the information in the article and how the Town should address a major change like this one.

There are several quotes in the article that are concerning. The article states, “Hale emphasized the Town adopts CLUP as guidance or as a vision for the development of the Town.” While this is true of the CLUP in general, it is a well-known fact that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen adopted the Mixed Use Town Center portion of the plan.

It can be found in Chapter 3, Section XII, Paragraph F of the Zoning Ordinance. Later the article quotes Mr. Hale as saying, “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.” Mr. Hale knows or should know that in order for this change to be completed, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen would need to either adopt the changes placing them in the Zoning Ordinance or remove the existing language from the Zoning Ordinance. These speak directly to the second point.

There is a larger issue in play that hopefully the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will address: ... The Comprehensive Land Use Plan states, “Major updates should include substantial public outreach to help ‘check’ that the plan reflects current attitudes. ...” Major updates are defined as “... one that substantially changes the land uses, goals or intent of the plan.”

It is clear that these proposed changes are “major” and should be discussed with the community just as the Town did with the Future Land Use Plan updates for the Watt Road Corridor and Outlook Drive in recent years.

While the proposed language might be in the Town’s best interest, it should be discussed with citizens. Failure to do so breaks the trust citizens have in their elected officials.

Michael Wilson, Farragut