letters to the editor
Founders praise ‘Foundations,’ book
Thank you for publishing the series of articles titled “Foundations” in the farragutpress in 2020 during the 40th anniversary of the incorporation of the Town of Farragut (also 2019).
The “Foundations” series presented a wide variety of interviews about the founding of the Town, the people and the history. We appreciate the efforts of Alan Sloan, Michelle Hollenhead and Tony Christen.
The people who proposed forming and incorporating the Town became known as the Farragut Community Group. The seven of us didn’t know how much time and effort was to be put forth. This effort became an adventure of everyday citizens challenging a political system that did not properly represent the community’s interest. None of us were previously involved in government. Hundreds of our friends and neighbors supported the movement and spent many hours working to be successful.
Unfortunately, we lost two of the founders, David Rodgers, and Ralph McGill; and many of the people who worked diligently to form the Town.
The interviews, which represented a broad cross section of the community, were very organized, interesting and well-written.
A former reporter for the farragutpress, Heather Mayes (Beck),
wrote a book, “Full Speed Ahead, the Story Behind the Founding of the Town of Farragut, Tennessee.”
For anyone interested, the book is an adventure story — enjoyable reading — and is available at the Town Hall.
Farragut’s first 40 years has been an example of citizens government with minimal politics. Citizens volunteered their time trying to do their best representing the community. An example of real American democracy.
What will happen the next 40 years?
Eric Johnson, Betty Dick, Ron Simandl (three of the surviving members of Farragut Community Group)
Board did not make ‘significant public outreach’ on Center
On Jan. 28, the (Farragut) Board of Mayor of Alderman (BOMA) completed the final vote on the three key ordinances for the Biddle Farm development in defiance of hundreds of citizens calls to disapprove or table these three items.
Since October 2020, I have challenged the Town to conduct the significant public outreach called for in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP). Two factors coupled together make this a “major update.” These are the changes to the CLUP and the Mixed-Use Town Center portion of the C-1 zoning district.
First, the Town limited apartments to roughly 25 percent of the entire MUTC area, negatively impacting other landowners with property in other portion of the MUTC area. As well, eliminating the other 75 percent negatively impacts the support for development of the various commercial areas in other portions of the Town Center. This change limits the potential future development in the Town Center as there may not be enough residential to support it.
Second, the CLUP and applicable zoning ordinances all called for residential over commercial development. On the Biddle Farm, this desired development provided for the high-glass walkable shopping area of a Town Center with Medium Density Residential behind it.
The approved development will eliminate approximately one-third of the commercial properties, which are replaced by high-density residential.
As well, the southern portion of the land increased density from Medium-Density (townhomes) to High-Density (apartments) all in the 100-year flood plain.
At the meeting, many from the Town argued that the 19-plus discussions and public hearing met the significant public outreach requirement. However, these meetings are typically tied to a specific topic and were targeted to the Biddle Farm.
There was never a larger conversation about what the entire MUTC area should become. When the Town knew the 2012 MUTC vision was no longer viable, they had the obligation to conduct the outreach and redesign the entire MUTC area. They failed to do so and acted upon their own, disenfranchising the citizens.
In their book, “The Leadership Challenge,” the authors state that leaders should “Do What You Say You Will Do” to build credibility.
In this case, the Town agreed to conduct significant public outreach for major updates to the CLUP. This administration failed to follow this basic leadership principal by acting on their own interests and ignoring 200-plus citizens comments, including two petitions with 1,577 signatures requesting to table the ordinances and meet on this matter.
The Town was not “legally” bound to do this outreach but doing what is right goes above and beyond what is legal.
A south Texas lawyer once said, “I don’t care who you are, if you are selling a cow, a car or an oil company; when you shake hands you have a deal.” This was our expectation.
These actions are a significant breach of trust with those that placed you in office, and all Farragut residents — regardless if you were pro- or anti-apartments — ought to be concerned.
Town needs a community pool; reader has fond memories
I am in Troop 444 located at Farragut Presbyterian Church. My rank is First class and I am currently working on my Communications Merit Badge.
I am writing to you to propose an idea for Farragut.
I think that the Town needs a community pool. This is an issue because many families don’t have a safe place to swim in the summer.
My mom and her family grew up swimming at Concord Pool in the late ’60s and ’70’s. This pool closed before I was born in 2006.
I understand that the Town is deciding on new buildings to build in the future, and I think a swimming pool would be a great idea for Farragut. It would provide a great place to meet friends in the summer, school swim teams could practice there, would bring more jobs to Farragut and get kids outdoors more often
Other surrounding towns host events like movie nights and festivals around their community pool. I think this would be a great use for open space.
Charlie Robards, Farragut
Medical personnel, not mayors, should handle healthcare
Though (Knox County) Mayor Glenn Jacobs is an elected official, he has no medical credentials or experience.
He was elected as mayor, not as a health official. I feel that giving him sole charge of healthcare decisions, in that he would have the authority to fire Dr. (Martha) Buchanan (Knox County Health Department senior director) would be a grave mistake.
Decisions for healthcare in Knox County should be made by personnel in the medical field, not by a former wrestler.
Keep ‘reasonable, prudent’ Knox County Board of Health
I think we must keep the Knox County Board of Health in place and with the power it currently holds. These folks are tenured professionals who know what they are talking about. Our Board of Health has been very prudent and reasonable, balancing the health of all Knox County residents with our shared desire to keep every business going that we can.
This is not run-of-the-mill stuff — it’s a global pandemic, and Tennessee as a whole has not fared as well as some other states. We need to let the medical professionals and experts lead on health topics.