Belleaire etc. 12 en‘light’en at Staff Developer meeting

Surrounding neighbors upset with apparent plans to add ballfield lights at First Baptist Church’s Concord Christian School are continuing to make their concerns known, most recently during the Town Staff/Developer meeting Tuesday, Oct. 5.

About a dozen residents, primarily from adjacent Belleaire subdivision, but also from Derby Run and Farragut Crossing, attended the meeting for the first agenda item, a discussion and public hearing on a request to amend the Farragut Municipal Code pertaining to outdoor site lighting “to allow

for ballfield lighting that is custom designed not to affect neighboring properties.”

While there has yet to be an official site plan from FBC, this was the second Staff/Developer meeting where the proposed lighting has been discussed, and it also was a

discussion item at the Sept. 16 Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meeting, during which area resident spoke against it.

“The catalyst for this meeting is that the church wants lights,” Belleaire resident David White said. “We wouldn’t be here if that was not the case.

“The community has one chance to do the right thing and not allow this.”

“I live on a cul-de-sac,” said Emma Tobler, also of Belleaire. “I want no loudspeakers, bullhorns nor PA systems, not lights of any kind. I’m old, I moved there 50-something years ago and I want to live my last years in peace.”

“Only way going forward I see is if the two parties could get together, and talk about these issues,” Community Development director Mark Shipley said. “It’s understandable why the church would want the lighting, and understandable that the residents want to feel protected.

“I think the only way to move in some kind of positive direction, is to sit at the table together, and talk through these issues,” he added. “I think it’s premature to take to Planning Commission for a vote. ... We could workshop it again (Oct. 21). There seem to be too many unresolved matters at this point.”

“I think we have had enough public input that it warrants another workshop,” Town Mayor Ron Williams said.

“I want to make sure I understand the process,” said Blake Henry, FBC executive director of operations who attended the meeting virtually. “Once we understand what lighting the Town expects, we would put forth a site plan. At the current time we don’t have a site plan. For me, it would be hard to have a discussion with all the neighbors until we have an idea of where everything could go.

“We want to have the discussion, we just don’t have an idea of what we are proposing yet,” he added.

“Right now, a lot of different things are possible, but at this point, are hypothetical. It’s hard to have tactical discussions without (the Town’s guidance).”

Mark Stooksbury also represented FBC and attended the meeting in person.