Specs for Town Center townhomes; Virtue View Farm sidewalk battle at FMPC

With the site plan, or preliminary plat, approved for townhomes in Farragut Town Center at Biddle Farms, developer Budd Cullom can move to the next step.

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission unanimously approved, during its meeting Thursday, Nov. 17, the plan to build 47 units — more than seven units per acre — in a portion previously designated as “future development.”

“The buildings will be mostly brick with a mixture of two- and three-story units with some terraces,” Community Development director Mark Shipley said.

Pedestrian facilities

On another matter, after lengthy discussion, developer Steve Williams asked for a postponement of action regarding his concept plan for Virtue View Farm subdivision, at which he is allocating 13 estate lots on two tracts near the intersection of Virtue and Evans roads.

The lots range in size from 1.2 acres to almost 12 acres. Among the variance requests, the bones of contention were a request to have a private 20-foot-wide road and variance for the Town’s requirement for pedestrian facilities — sidewalks or walking paths.

“Private streets are not permitted and haven’t been permitted for a number of years in either the subdivision regulations or zoning ordinance, which requires public street frontage for new lots,” Shipley said.

Concerning the pedestrian facilities, “we would not be able to support not having any kind of provisions for pedestrian facilities,” he said.

“All we’re talking about here is not whether or not we can require this walkway; the question is ‘do we have to pay for it?’” Town attorney Tom Hale said. “The Town has the authority to put a sidewalk through this area.

“The issue here is do we have the power under Nollan and Dolan (U.S. Supreme Court case) to require it be dedicated as part of the planning process, and that is not an easy assessment to make. ... I’m in the process of studying right now,” he added.

Commissioners dug in their heels for a sidewalk. Mayor Ron Williams, an FMPC member, said there is a school planned in that area, and children will need a sidewalk to get to school.

Steve Williams still did not think a sidewalk was necessary, but the mayor asked, “So, are you going to sell lots to people who don’t have kids?”

“We have to think of the future, 20 years from now, and what the area would look like,” Shipley said.

“Sidewalks are the way to go,” Commissioner Ron Pinchok said. As a resident living along a road with no sidewalks, he pointed out pedestrians constantly dodge oncoming cars.

Likewise, Commissioner Noah Myers said he could not support not having any kind of pedestrian facility.