letter to the editor

Alderman-elect cites headline error, code violation

This statement is to clarify and to correct an article posted on the front page of the farragutpress on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. The article’s heading is “Ballfield Lights Restriction Request: Favorable Feedback.” This heading is wrong. This variance does just the opposite. It would allow the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to place extremely tall light-pole lights on certain Town-owned properties. And there was no favorable feedback. It is still in the (Farragut Municipal) Planning Commission, except for Vice Mayor (Louise) Povlin and her group of supporters that proposed it.

The original variance would allow the Board to place pole lights taller than 28 feet on any Town-owned property. I pointed out at the Planning Commission meeting they were opening Pandora’s box and placing all residents around Anchor Park in jeopardy because Anchor Park has ballfields and basketball courts, but no lights.

The language they want now is to exempt Anchor Park, and the variance would apply only to McFee Park and Mayor (Bob) Leonard Park.

These Town-owned properties already have illegal, non-code-complying lights. Just two months ago the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved 60 feet-tall lights on a new basketball court at McFee Park, (which is) a blatant violation of Ordinance 21-20 Outdoor Site Lighting.

Below is the exact wording of Ordinance 21-20: Section 1. XIII - Outdoor site lighting.

A. Intent

It is the intent of this section to establish outdoor lighting requirements that reduce the negative effects of lighting, but at the same time address the need for adequate lighting for safety and visibility concerns. The following requirements shall apply to all developments and/or facilities, excluding single-family and two-family dwellings and street lighting. In no case, however, shall any light shine or glare to create a traffic safety hazard on any adjacent properties, right-of-way, access easements or driveway.

B. Pole-Mounted Lights

1. Pole height for new lights

Unless specified elsewhere in this ordinance, light poles, including any supporting base, shall not exceed 28 feet in height. The height shall be measured from the ground to the top of the pole.

2. Pole height for modifications to existing lights

For existing developments that are expanding, if the existing light poles are taller than 28 feet, and new light poles are to be added as part of the expansion to the project, the Planning Commission may approve a light pole taller than 28 feet so as to match the existing light poles if it can be shown that the taller light pole will not create any negative effects on any adjacent properties, right-of-ways, access easements or driveways. In no case shall new light poles exceed the height of the existing light poles or 40 feet in height, whichever is less.

David White, newly elected alderman, Town of Farragut