The following are comments from the two Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen who voted in favor of allowing 10 acres of property behind Ingles to be re-zoned from Office (O-1), General Single-Family Residential (R-2) and Rural Single-Family Residential (R-1) to Community Service (S-1).
Re-zoning would allow developer Doug Horne (owner of Republic Newspapers, Inc., parent company of farragutpress) to build a three-story Harmony at Farragut senior living community. (See related stories beginning on page 1A)
The comments of those voting in favor are listed in the order in which they were called upon to comment by Mayor Ron Williams:
• Alderman David White: “Yes, I am in favor of this facility for several reasons: and mostly, it is the senior population. I’ve voted — (though) I’ve been here (as an alderman) a short time — on millions of dollars for ballparks, for soccer field, to re-do soccer fields, walking trails — everything for middle-aged people or for people who have good health.
“We’ve got the best facilities in the world right now for people who don’t have medical problems. But if you’ve got medical issues — unlike one of the (senior citizen resident) speakers who drove down here all by herself at night and works in her yard — this (facility) is not for those people.
“This is for the senior citizens who have medical issues that just want a better quality of life. If you’ve ever gone through that — and I hope you never do because I have — you have to take a person out of their home, away from everything that’s familiar to them — and away from their family — and put them in a place they’re not familiar with.
“And lo and behold their health gets worse. What are you going to do? You’ve got to put them through that trauma again. They’ve got to move out of there and go somewhere else and be away from their family, be away from their home and be away from everything.
“And lo and behold, if their health gets worse you’ve got to move them again.
“That’s not right; these people need help. If they didn’t need help they wouldn’t be in one of those. You’re not going to have a lot of people in those who work in their yard or use our walking trails or go play on our soccer fields or play tennis or play pickleball, which is a big thing. This is not who this is for.
“… Yes, I’m going to stand up for the (Farragut Municipal) Planning Commission who voted to approve this (6 to 3) and I’m going to stand up for the sick and disabled who want to stay in this community and stay around their family and their friends and their neighbors, and live out the rest of their life in the greatest comfort there is possible.”
• Alderman Drew Burnette: “… I can just tell you personally this has weighed about as heavily on me than any other decision I’ve made being a part of this Board because it affects residents, it affects our community in a big way.
“The two big factors I’ve been focusing on is resident input as well as alignment with the goals and strategies of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
“As a resident I understand the frustrations of living next to vacant land that has the potential for development.
“… As we look at the property in question this evening, I’ve evaluated the public feedback along with our current zoning regulations, and the question I’ve been deliberating on: how do we effectively transition from C-1 at Ingles down to an appropriate zoning level that abuts Baldwin Park and surrounding areas?
“An appropriate transition, in my mind, would go from high density/high impact at Ingles to a lesser land-use impact immediately to the north of Ingles, and then a less density and impact to the remaining property adjacent to Baldwin Park.
“… In a general sense, I think the S-1 zoning district is a nice potential fit for this property. This S-1 designation is a transitional district in nature, which could fit very well for the property behind C-1.
“My concern for the proposal in front of us is, I want to see a transition, in form and scale, from Ingles to the 10 acres under consideration. As I look at the current proposal, the intensity is in line with my expectations of transition.
“However, the form and scale are not as much.
“Transitioning from a one-and-a-half story shopping center to a three-story civic-use forum does not align with my view of a proper transition. While I understand the traffic impact to be manageable, and will only be funneled to Village Commons Boulevard, I’m not convinced wholly that a large, three-story building behind a one-and-a-half story C-1 shopping center is a transition I’m comfortable with.
“I think it could make sense to see a building with more form and scale that’s more compatible with the residential setting to the north. I could possibly get on board with a building in use that has a more residential feel. One example … is Autumn Care (senior living) on Campbell Station Road (one story). … It has a much more residential feel and transitions well with the neighboring residential homes.
“One way this could be accomplished … use R-3 height restriction, like what’s already in place at Baldwin Park. …”