Town’s latest ‘Admiral’ retail plans told at FMPC

Farragut’s current construction boom will include a new commercial/retail development at the corner of Kingston Pike and Admiral Road in the not-too-distant future.

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission approved the site plan, submitted by Urban Engineering for Horizon Plaza, during its Thursday, Feb. 18, meeting.

The project, which would be located just west of Stonecrest shopping center, will initially offer a 12,000-square foot strip shopping center in the first phase, with a potential second phase offering a 3,750 square foot building.

Access points are proposed along Kingston Pike and one to Admiral Road directly across from Premier Eye Center. “It is a challenging piece of property,” said Mark Shipley, Town Community Development director. “A large part of it is in the flood plain and it drops off steeply. It will require a lot of fill and a lot of grading work.”

The project also would include a “pretty sizable retaining wall, which will be visible on the back side of the property,” Shipley added.

Two variances are being requested. One, to avoid constructing a sidewalk along the Admiral Road portion of the project, was to be evaluated by the Town Board of Zoning appeals during its regularly-scheduled Wednesday, Feb. 25, meeting.

A second variance of the 400-foot separation requirement between its planned right-only exit/entrance and the intersection of Admiral and Kingston Pike, will be voted on by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

In other business:

• Shipley offered six training videos on Form Based Code — three before and three after the meeting, which not only served as an introduction to that style of planning, but also served as a portion of the members’ required annual training.

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen also had watched a segment of the series during a January workshop.

“We aren’t necessarily saying we want to adopt this type of code,” Shipley said. “We are just looking at it, as a different approach. Form-based can really be whatever the Town wants it to be; it could be simple or complex, but it would be up to the Commission to decide if they want to apply it, and what manor it might work.”

“It’s my understanding it works better in urban environments,” Commissioner Noah Myers said. “The City of Knoxville recently implemented it (on Cumberland Avenue and on the South Knoxville waterfront). The verdict is still out for me. I would like to see how the City of Knoxville could use it, but I am struggling to see how it would be applicable to the Town of Farragut.”

“I would not support this for our Town as a community-wide approach, especially since we are 80 percent built out,” said Vice Mayor Louise Povlin, who also sits on FMPC.

“There might be some way to incorporate it within the Mixed Use Town Center.”

During an interview, Povlin said, “With regard to the form-based code training … while I am not supportive of adopting form-based code Town-wide, we can develop a new zoning district or update a current zoning district to include some form-based principles in an effort to protect existing residential neighborhoods from incompatible development.”

• FMPC also unanimously approved the site plan for the Blue Cross-Blue Shield all-inclusive Healthy Places Playground, which will be located behind Town Hall.

Sue Stuhl, Town Parks & Recreation director, applied for the $750,000 project last year, and Farragut was chosen as one of 10 Blue-Cross/Blue Shield park recipients state-wide. The playground will be built at no cost to the Town.