Farragut Vice Mayor Louise Povlin has confirmed she is the alderman Town resident Michael Wilson has alluded to in recent e-mails to Town officials concerning the process of getting a Town Center under way on the Biddle Farms property — and reacting to another Town Center plan to the west.
The two engaged in a conversation Oct. 1 that Povlin said “was a private conversation with a resident in a private message (Facebook Messenger)” during a phone interview Tuesday, Jan. 26.
Povlin wrote in the Oct. 1 dialogue, “I’m trying to limit the town center to one Mixed Use/High-Density Residential project. There’s rumors someone is sniffing at the (former Town Mayor Eddy) Ford property … the plans are imminent … your feedback on proposed changes would be great.
“It is my opinion that we do not need more than one Mixed-Use project with High Density Residential in our town center for several reasons (too) long to go into on a private message,” she added. “If you wish to discuss, please feel free to e-mail me. I respect your knowledge about the Land Use Plan.”
Later in the thread, Povin stated, “If people don’t want one apartment complex, how do you think they’ll feel when Doug Horne drops an application for a second one in our Town center, and we haven’t addressed our Land Use Plan to prevent that from happening? It would be irresponsible to leave this open for Mr. Horne to walk right in. (sic) the Town Center is far too important for our long term (sic) viability.”
Horne, a developer looking to place a Town Center on Ford’s property — which is on the western edge of the Mixed-Use Town Center district — is owner of Republic Newspapers, Inc., parent company of farragutpress.
In an e-mail Thursday, Jan. 21, Povlin stated, “I shared my personal opinion with a resident in a private message. I regret using bad language.
“As an alderman I should have upheld a higher standard while expressing my personal opinion privately,” she added.
Wilson, a co-founder-leader of Farragut Citizens For Responsible Growth & Development and an outspoken critic of Town Center decision, released the dialogue to farragutpress earlier this month, but refused to directly name her — until last week — in e-mails to the Farragut Municipal Planning Commission, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and in a Letter to the Editor for farragutpress in recent weeks.
Those e-mails were read into public record during the meetings. Though farrgutpress has printed Wilson’s letters in recent months, the dialogue with Povlin — with or without her name — was never published.
Alan Sloan, farragutpress editor, said the Vice Mayor’s comments were intended to be private — until her public verification. “Even without using her name, the dialogue would unfairly cause the Town’s three other aldermen to come under suspicion,” Sloan said.