‘Table’ Center vote, then ‘talk’

Rally sought to inspire voices, delay BOMA’s final Biddle vote; quotes fuel fire

  • Perched above an estimated 135 Farragut citizens who attended this rally in Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza Sunday afternoon, Jan. 24, Michael Wilson, a founder and leader of Farragut Citizens For Responsible Growth & Development, looked to inspire citizens to voice various objections to decisions by Town government for Farragut Town Center at Biddle Farms development before a critical BOMA vote Thursday, Jan. 28. - Alan Sloan

  • Patrick Lee (facing camera), a Citizens leader, hands out flyers at the rally. - Alan Sloan

Trying to fuel a literally last-minute attempt to sway three members of Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen, a Town citizens group held a rally attempting to persuade 2,000 citizens to flood e-mails to Town Hall demanding a BOMA vote be tabled, which on second reading would change ordinances giving a green light to Farragut Town Center at Biddle Farms development plans.

An estimated 135 citizens came to Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza Sunday afternoon, Jan. 24, to attend a “table the vote” rally organized by leaders of Farragut Citizens for Responsible Growth and Development.

To change the Planned Commercial Development District zoning ordinance at the Thursday, Jan. 28 BOMA meeting (see list of ordinances in related story, page 1A), “You don’t just change it for the Biddle Farm, you change it for everything in the Mixed Use Town Center,” announced Michael Wilson, co-founder of FCFRGD and a Citizens leader with Mike Mitchell and Patrick Lee.

Developer Doug Horne and former Town Mayor Eddy Ford “want to do the same thing” on Ford’s 68 acres on the western edge of the Mixed-Use Town Center, Wilson said.

Horne is owner of Republic Newspapers, Inc., parent company of farragutpress.

“So what happened is the Town pushed through changes in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan for that Mixed Use (Biddle) Town Center area,” he added. “And what that change essentially said is, ‘We intend that the only high-density residential area will be kind of in this area back here’ (pointing) on the Biddle Farm.”

Saying “the language they use is intended,” Wilson referenced an Oct. 1 Facebook Messenger correspondence he had with Vice Mayor Louise Povlin (see related story, which includes Povlin’s Oct. 1 quotes, beginning on page 1A).

“I didn’t do that to throw the Vice Mayor under the bus,” he said, adding that although he wouldn’t read the quotes, “They are fairly damning.”

Povlin’s comments, he also said, “Showed that was being done to target Mr. Ford’s and Mr. Horne’s development.

“… All of us ought to be very concerned when one of our public officials takes an official action on the Town, knowing that a developer and landowner are looking to do something that specifically targets them to stop them from doing it,” Wilson added. “Whether you want apartments on Eddy Ford’s property or not, that’s not the point. We should not operate as a Town, or as Town officials, when they are taking action to stop stuff that has been on the books for eight years.”

During a meeting Oct. 22 “when that change happened with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Doug Horne’s attorney was on that call and said, ‘If you all did this before you knew about us, your hands are clean,’” Wilson said. “‘But if you didn’t, you have a problem.’”