‘Much needed’ Town outreach ‘applauded’

On Aug. 19, the Town of Farragut held a workshop to discuss the High-Density and Medium-Density Land Use Descriptions.

Mark Shipley (Community Development director) provided an in-depth background on some of the challenges in our current Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Land Use Plan. His presentation showed how the form of development is just as important as actual density (units per acre). Use of form helps ensure abutting properties are compatible even though their densities might be different.

Mr. Shipley provided several slides of “missing middle housing” types not typically found in Farragut. These include duplex, triplex, courtyard apartments, bungalow court, townhouse, multiplex and live/work. You can find these photos on the Town of Farragut Agenda Center: look for Farragut Municipal Planning Commission Meeting Agenda of Aug. 19, Item No.10.

Many of these housing types provide for a Medium- to High-Density residential development that look like a more traditional (single family home) neighborhood. There were several residents and at least one developer in the room. Overwhelming, the voices of the citizens were clear — no more apartments in Farragut.

A Horne Properties representative stated that they are no longer seeking apartments on the property behind the old Ingles building. Their desire is to develop the property in a manner consistent with the “missing middle housing” type of properties. Local neighbors felt this was a more desirable type of development than apartments. Mr. Shipley advised that there would need to be changes made to the existing zoning ordinance and the Land Use Plan.

A recommendation was made to use a collaborative approach including the Town, local residents and Horne Properties, Inc. to create a development behind the old Ingles while assisting the Town with creation of the proper zoning ordinance. This is the process that was used to successfully create the S-1 Zoning Ordinance for The Villages of Farragut assisted living facility.

The results of this collaborative effort could then be replicated in other locations such as the 100-acres around the Town Hall. The “missing middle housing” types are what one thinks of when you envision a “Town Center.” These developments create a sense of place by being close to the road with large front porches and other distinctive features.

One can picture a main street coming off of Kingston Pike meandering through high-glass store fronts and restaurants leading to a large green space (Battle of Campbell Station Park). Beyond the park would be these downtown style homes providing for a medium density residential community within walking distance of the town center. This type of development will create a true sense of a downtown area. By including all parties, the Town, residents and developers, we can ensure we design a desirable area that a developer can and will be willing to build.

I applaud the Town for conducting this much needed outreach. This is what the Farragut Citizens for Responsible Growth and Development have called for since last October. It appears there will likely be another workshop before the next Planning Commission Meeting (Sept. 16) to discuss the initial changes to the High-Density and Medium-Density Land Use Descriptions. The Farragut Citizens for Responsible Growth and Development thanks the Town for conducting this initial outreach.

In particular, we appreciate Mayor (Ron) Williams comments during the FMPC meeting regarding continued community engagement regarding these changes. We look forward to working together to create a positive change in our community.

~ Michael Wilson Farragut