It’s official: apartments all but eliminated in Town

It’s official. In defining “high-” and “medium-density” land use descriptions in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, Farragut’s Municipal Planning Commission seemingly eliminated apartments as potential Town housing options going forward.

FMPC voted unanimously Thursday, Sept. 16, to adopt text amendments for land use descriptions within the CLUP based on results from a workshop and discussion Aug. 15.

Under “high-density residential (density: 9 to 12 dwelling units per acre),” subcategory “Location,” the definition states: “limited to areas where it exists or has been approved as part a Planned Commercial Development (as with Kingston Pike Village and at Biddle Farms)” and/or “abutting or having direct access to major arterial streets that are convenient to the interstate” (The Overlook and Lanesborough).

“During the review with the Planning Commission at the August meeting, commissioners felt that based on community input and the fact that some large scale high-density residential projects have been approved in recent years, the Town has sufficiently provided for this type of housing,” Community Development director Mark Shipley stated in an FMPC report.


When the CLUP was approved in 2012, “medium density” was defined as six-to-12 housing units per acre, but “it became apparent this created too much variation and was a problem when evaluating rezoning requests,” noted Shipley’s report.

“Consequently, in October 2018, the Planing Commission approved a change to the Future Land Use Map to break down this land use into two different types: medium-density (six to eight dwelling units per acre) and high-density (9-12 units per acre).

“An issue in relation to this change in the Future Land Use Map was that the corresponding text that would describe Intent, Location, Density and Character of both the new High-Density Residential Land Use and the modified Medium- Density residential land use would be needed,” the report continued.

Commissioners were to vote on the high- and mediu- density definitions in March 2020, after having workshopped the topic in February, but the impending COVID-19 shutdowns led to several items being removed from the agenda, including that one.

Medium density

Approved text changes for medium density, defined as “potentially six to eight dwelling units per acre,” yielded much discussion during the August meetings, and approved text, subset “Location” is “vacant/underdeveloped parcels abutting collector or arterial streets; transitional areas between lower density residential and non-residential and in transitional areas within or on periphery of Mixed Use Town Center.”

Under the subset “Character,” medium density is further described as a “mixture of residential that can transition to its surroundings and internally from small lot single-family detached, to cottage cluster and attached single family units not to exceed 2 and 1/2 stories; housing types for varied age groups that are well-connected internally and to their surroundings; and a heavy emphasis on streetscaping and gathering spaces ....”

Defining these two key residential land use designations ties into No. 3 of the Town’s Eight Key Strategies, “Allowing/Encouraging Greater Housing Choice.”