Two ‘Centers of attention’ in Farragut

Despite BOMA vote, Horne pursuing a ‘Ford’ Town Center

Farragut businessman Doug Horne added a new wrinkle to the Town Center discussion during the Thursday, Oct. 22, Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting when he announced he is pursuing his own Town Center development in Farragut.

Horne’s announcement was included among two e-mailed comments addressing the second reading and vote on Ordinance 20-20 amending the text of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update as it relates to the Mixed-Use Town Center land use descriptions.

Not only did Horne, who also owns Republic Newspaper, Inc., parent company of farragutpress, ask BOMA to vote against the Ordinance — which reduces the number of Town-approved sites where multi-family residential housing could be constructed from five to one — but also announced his own plans for a Town Center on property currently owned by former Farragut Mayor Eddy Ford and his wife, Linda, along Kingston Pike.

It should be noted the change, which BOMA ultimately approved on second reading, only allows multi-family home construction on the former Biddle Farm property. It currently is being considered for its own Mixed-Use Town Center development by Budd Cullom, who has been working with Town officials for more than a year on the project.

The Ford property had been targeted for a Mixed Use Town Center development more than a dozen years ago, but the economic downturn halted those plans in 2008.

“We object to the Ordnance 20-20 that amends the text of the Land Use Plan as related to Mixed Use Town Center Land Use,” stated the first of Horne’s two e-mails. “This proposed change is arbitrary and capricious and discriminates against Eddy and Linda Ford’s 68-acre property.

“The Ford property was always listed as the perfect Mixed Use Town Center property just west of the Town Hall,” he added. “We are coming to the Town with a fine Mixed Use Town Xenter proposal with frontage outlots, medical, office and retail pod buildings, multi family and attached condos.

“The current Land Use Plan calls for multi family, up to 15 units per acre, and that’s what our plan calls for. The Ford family has owned this property most of the 20th Century and all of the 21st Century, and for the Town to change the rules arbitrarily for Mixed Use Town Center Land Use Plan is completely unfair and ridiculous and appears to be targeted to deny the Ford property the land use that has been planned for years by the Town itself.

“The Town officials always wanted this property to be Mixed Use Town Center with multi-family condos and medical, office and retail structures.”

In his second e-mail, Horne announced “a Mixed-Use Town Center plan we call AGORA — which means a gathering place, named after the historic Greek civilization.

“This is what we are submitting for the Eddy and Linda Ford property,” Horne stated.

“Again with this quality Mixed-use Town Center development we are proposing, AGORA, we do not believe it is wise or fair and equitable to make the ‘text change in the Ordinance 20-20.

“To limit the Mixed Use Town CEnter development plan for high density residential to property located only in the area bounded by S. Campbell Station Road, Concord Road and Kingston Pike is picking winners and losers and legally questionable and will subject the Town to legal action,” he added.

Horne’s attorney, Christina G. Myer also weighed in.

“I have been involved several times over the last couple of years in aiding (Horne’s])re-zoning requests to install a multi-family residential development on his own property … I’ve personally been in attendance at least twice to hear him or his representatives be told that the ‘Town Center’ district reflected in the Land Use Plan is the only place the Town would allow the density Mr. Horne needs in order to make such a development financially feasible

“... Finally, Mr. Horne took the Town up on its promise, and he undertook to negotiate the purchase of property belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Eddy Ford, which is in the heart of the Town Center district. He relayed this information to the Mayor (Ron Williams) and others, so the Town has been well aware of Mr. Horne’s intention to bring a mixed-use development plan for the Town Center zoning district to the Commission ...”

Horne has yetto submit an official plan to the Town’s Municipal Planning Commission.

“My plan matches the current Land Use Plan wording for the Town Center, which is that it is to be within a one mile radius of the Kingston Pike/Campbell Station Road interchange,” he stated Friday, Oct. 23, confirming he still plans to pursue the Town Center plan for the Ford property, which he has an option to purchase.