Beyond Biddle

Details, blueprint presented on Horne-Ford Town Center alternative; also seniors community

Horne Properties Inc. unveiled plans for two new Farragut developments — a seniors-only multi-family community and a Mixed Use Town Center project on former Farragut Mayor Eddy Ford’s property — Jan. 7 during the Town’s regular monthly Staff/Developer meeting.

Company owner Doug Horne, who has constructed numerous developments in Farragut and across 27 states (and who also owns Republic Newspapers, Inc., parent company of farragutpress), is seeking zoning changes for both properties, which will be discussed as workshop items on the Thursday, Jan. 21, Farragut Municipal Planning Commission’s agenda.


Horne first indicated his intention to pursue a development on Ford’s property during the October FMPC meeting, but didn’t submit official plans to Town staff until late December.

The 68.31-acre property fronts Kingston Pike and runs lengthwise between Kohl’s shopping center/Glenn Abbey subdivision and Park Place/Farragut Town Hall. It had been earmarked for a Town Center in 2008, but fell through due to a nationwide economic downturn — especially in real estate.

The company has named the development “AGORA,” which is Greek for “a gathering place.” Plans call for a Mixed-Use Town Center development, with medical offices and retail buildings, multi-family housing in the center portion and a mix of attached condos/townhomes on the south portion.

Horne’s zoning request is fairly extensive: a portion of the area currently zoned O-1 (office) to C-1 (General Commercial); a portion of the area currently zoned O-1, B-1 (Buffer), R-1 (Rural Single-Family Residential) and R-2 (General Single-Family Residential) to R-6 (Multi-Family Residential); and to rezone a portion of the property currently zoned R-2 to R-4 (Attached Single-Family Residential).

If Horne’s project is approved, it will be the Town’s second Town Center project, as the concept plan for Farragut Town Center at Biddle Farms (old Kroger location along Kingston Pike and Brooklawn Street) was approved last year by FMPC, although zoning changes to greenlight the project still need to be voted on by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

“We’re not trying to focus too much on the concept at this point,” Town Community Development director Mark Shipley said. “The question becomes whether the request is consistent with the (Town’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan) and the surrounding context.

“The Land Use Plan is a very active document; one of the things that has been in the plan since 2012. They are proposing to put an R-6 product between an R-4 and an R-3, which is not consistent with the policy in the plan,” Shipley added. “From the staff’s perspective, we can’t support an R-6, not consistent with policy.

“Obviously there is a lot going on. Once again, it will just be a workshop discussion and may involve more than one — there are a lot of moving parts here.”

“First of all, we are excited about offering a Mixed-Use Town Center on the Ford property,” Horne said after Shipley’s presentation. “We think this is where it should be, beside the Town Hall and the post office. … I believe everyone thought it is where the Town Center would be. (The property) has been owned by the Bevins family since 1912 (Ford’s late mother was a Bevins) — the Bevins family has a long history, longer than any of us … this is the last piece of Bevins land.

“The post office, and Town Hall were built on property deeded by Bevins heirs; Kohls and Glenn Abbey, were also built on property originating from Bevins heirs. Eddy was the mayor for many years, and has a long legacy with the Town of Farragut for many years,” Horne added.

“We’ve done a lot of development in Farragut, probably more than any other company because we live there, it’s our home.”

Horne noted he graduated from Farragut High School in 1963, and had lived in the area with his wife, Brenda Horne, more than 50 years.

“We developed the original Walmart … we did the Ingles development, Kohl’s, CVS, Lanesborough apartments and Glenn Abbey,” he added. “We have been loyal participants in Farragut, all the way to 1980, when it was founded. I feel like we have some equity in the Town, so to speak.”

“Doug and I first engaged with Eddy Ford, back in February — almost a year to date — and worked out the economics with Mr. Ford, then hired R2R (Architects) to put together the site plan,” said Michael Patterson, Horne Properties executive vice president who is leading the AGORA project. “It is a unique piece of property — it is extremely deep … and we went through literally 10 different renditions of this site plan.

“I know you are looking at the merits of the rezoning, “ Patterson added, noting an additional benefit of the project would be the realignment and extension of Jamestowne Boulevard to connect with South Campbell Station Road.

Shipley suggested Horne might want to consider having the property zoned as a Mixed Use Town Center, which led to a lengthy discussion.

Horne said he would have to discuss the matter with Ford, but noted the multi-family element would still need to be part of the project, as well as the attached condominiums. “Whatever the zoning is, we can’t just do the front, as (Ford) wants to sell the whole property.”

“What we have to do is see if what is being required fits with the community’s plan,” Shipley said. “To me it doesn’t as it is right now. Maybe we need to discuss offering some product, something between an R-4 and R-6 — a true medium-density product, consistent with trying to transition to a less dense, single-family detached development. Without making some text amendments, it might be problematic, in my opinion, to just rezone to R-6.”

Senior apartments

The senior apartments are proposed on a 20-acre tract behind the Ingles shopping center, where Horne is asking the land be rezoned from R-1 (Rural Single Family Residential) to R-6 (Multi-Family Residential).

Shipley voiced concerns that, regardless of Horne’s intent, “once the property is rezoned, whatever is allowed (by that ordinance, which includes allowing up to 12 units per acre) the property owner could do,” even though Horne and Patterson repeatedly stated the property “would be deed-restricted” to ensure it remained a senior living community “in perpetuity.”

“We would need to focus on the rezoning request itself,” Shipley said. “We can’t be involved or be party to deed restrictions.”

“I know the Town can’t, but we will,” Patterson replied.

Further discussion also noted improvements will need to be made to Boring Road, as it would be one of two access points for the as-yet-unnamed development. The other would be from Village Commons Boulevard.

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