Ward I: Atherton, Hill, Meyer profiles

Final in a Town candidate series; early voting starts Friday, July 15, & runs through Saturday, July 30

Adam Atherton, Town of Farragut candidate for North (Ward I) alderman seat, answers the following questions:

• Why do we need a change in the Ward I alderman seat?

“Town of Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen has pursued a direction that the people of Farragut do not want.

“BOMA does not want citizen input, as demonstrated by moving Citizen Forum to the back of meetings, the lack of outreach for complex issues like Biddle Farm and gaveling down or disrespecting private citizens. “Both aldermen in the North Ward are eager supporters of urbanization, which entails things like narrowing lanes, placing building on curbs and cars in the back, higher density and more diverse housing and more signals.

“I want to manage growth so Farragut remains as I found it — peaceful, spacious and beautiful with conveniences –— not make it look like Bearden or Downtown.

“BOMA needs to be more humble and respectful while managing Town affairs. I believe the people of Farragut want BOMA to change course and attitude.

• What are three of the most important things Town of Farragut needs to do in the next four years, and how will you help to accomplish that?

“1. BOMA needs to actively pursue and consider citizen input. They need to be transparent in all dealings and provide opportunities for citizens to be aware of issues and decisions as well as identify areas where they can get involved.

“2. Development is out of control. BOMA and FMPC are fervent supporters of development. Investments in infrastructure are needed ahead of development.

“This investment includes roads, sewer, utilities, schools, hospitals and sheriff.

“When it comes to requests for zoning variances, we must stop the practice of picking winners and losers and instead mature our processes so Farragut becomes what the residents want.

“3. Update the CLUP. Anyone who has read the CLUP knows how confusing it is, yet it includes useful information. The CLUP must be updated to capture necessary information and map out a strategy informed by Farragut Citizens.

• What are one or two of the biggest needs specific to Ward I constituents that you will address if elected?

“Nobody wants to sit in traffic, especially near their home. BOMA has a fever for narrower lanes, which is normally pursued to slow cars down, not increase flow.

“I compare narrowing lanes in pursuit of higher traffic flow to using a silly straw to drink soda faster; there is an incremental capacity increase, but it makes no difference in flow.

“I want to form an ad hoc citizen committee to seriously discuss all things traffic. Once issues are identified, I will work with BOMA, engineers and consultants to identify helpful and feasible mitigations. Then I will return to citizens to get their feedback.

“Finally set a plan in place to address the top few items on a priority basis.”

Jim Hill, Town of Farragut candidate for North (Ward I) alderman seat, answers the following questions:

• Why do we need a change in the Ward I alderman seat?

“First, understand I am not running against Alderman Meyers. I am running for Ward 1 and the privilege to represent Farragut with the engagement/vision I can bring as we look to the future.

“We need a representative that can see most angles, lean on professionals — but ultimately listen and communicate with the Town. We need someone in this position that is ready to embrace the “Melting Pot” we are becoming, but realize there was a specific intent to the design of Farragut.

“I’d like to be a catalyst to make sure that doesn’t change.

“Having previously served several years as a police officer in South Carolina, I have the ability to work with and understand people regardless of background or means. As a Veteran, I know what its like to count on the man or lady beside me regardless of status or where they are from.”

• What are three of the most important things Town of Farragut needs to do in the next four years, and how will you help to accomplish that?

“One of the greatest comments someone made to me, regarding the Federal Budget, was we needed to start from zero.

“I believe immediately we need to “tap the breaks” on rezoning, and let’s evaluate how the current projects start to develop before any new, big decisions are made.

“Second, we need to immediately address the traffic issues we currently have and the obvious knowledge of it getting worse over the next year or two.

“We have to start being concerned how many will potentially start avoiding pivotal places in Farragut if it becomes a parking lot.

“Third, develop a plan, work with one another and use any/all of the vacated commercial areas we have now. I am not sure how focused we have been — we are pressing to use what we have currently.

“Let’s use our resources to list what is vacant, what is usable; meet with owners and find out what a good candidate looks like, and we work to attract.”

• What are one or two of the biggest needs specific to Ward I constituents that you will address if elected?

“First, our constituents need improved communication. Voices to be heard, respectfully and thoroughly. I will be the first to tell you I do not have all the answers.

“I do, however, know how to engage, listen, take notes and give you a voice whether you have been here all your life or two weeks. I also know how to appreciate and learn from the experts and talent that we have in our Town.

“I will always do my best, God willing, to be the best representative for Ward 1 and all of Farragut.”

Scott Meyer, Town of Farragut candidate for North (Ward I) alderman re-election, answers the following questions:

• Town accomplishments, which you supported and helped make possible, for which you are most proud, in keeping with why you should be re-elected?

During my first term, I’ve protected existing neighborhoods and property owner rights by supporting low impact development that complements surrounding neighborhoods. I’ve never voted to rezone a lower impact property zone (such as agricultural or single-family residences) to the highest impact zone of 100 percent commercial. Instead, I approved Mixed Use zoning of commercial and residential or just Lower Density Residential to lessen development impact on traffic. On two occasions, I voted to rezone 100 percent commercially zoned properties to a lower impact Mixed Use zone.

“My greatest accomplishments during my first term are:

“1) Restricting apartments from 100 percent of the Town Center’s 250 acres to approximately 20 percent of the Town Center acreage;

“2) And approving the Town Center Biddle Farm project. Resident concerns over the Biddle Farm project centered on the development’s impact on schools and traffic.

“According to Knox County planning data, the project’s 286 high-end apartments will not materially impact classroom sizes. Further, the increase in traffic will be approximately 7,000 daily trips instead of 10,000 daily trips had the property been developed under its original zone of 100 percent commercial.

• What are one or two things most needed by Ward I, and one or two things most needed by the Town as a whole, in the next four years that you will push to achieve?

“In my second term, I will push for federal funding of sound barriers that will be located between I-40/75 and adjacent Ward 1 neighborhoods. With projects in the works to add another lane to both eastbound and westbound I-40/75 from Lovell Road to the I-40/75 split, we have an opportunity to apply for federal funding of sound barriers like those near the Papermill exit. I will collaborate with Tennessee congressional representatives to advocate for federal agency approval.

I will collaborate with Knox County and State representatives to advocate for traffic capacity improvements to Loop Road and Woody Drive (county roads) and improvements to Northshore Drive from the roundabout east to Pellissippi Parkway (state highway).

Although Farragut traffic congestion has multiple contributors, development outside of Farragut, particularly in West Knox County and Loudon County, poses the greatest potential for additional traffic congestion.

As new residents move into new developments in these areas, they will need more than just the one current Interstate 40/75 access point of Campbell Station Road.

Loop Road and Woody Drive should be improved so more residents can access the Interstate by Canton Hollow/Lovell Road. In the same manner, greater traffic capacity improvements should be added to Northshore, so Choto and Loudon County residents can access the Interstate by Pellissippi Parkway.