‘Engaged’ turnout for Farragut’s public strategic plan meetings

While the Town of Farragut hosted two public meetings on its strategic plan in Farragut Community Center Tuesday night, April 25, and Wednesday morning, April 26, the turnout was light but engaged.

However, “We’ve had about 570 folks visit the website (Farragut Forward) that’s been developed just for this project,” said Julia Novak, executive vice president with Raftelis, who leads the management consulting practice of the firm heading up the project.

She added of those who visited the website, many did not comment.

Commenting on the Town’s “vision” statement, “Farragut — redefining quality of life with a beautiful, close-knit, connected community where families and businesses thrive,” attendee Don Mann replied, “I see the word ‘connected community.’ I think a lot of us are very frustrated about the traffic that’s happened.

“All that infrastructure comes after growth, but it’s getting pretty heavy right now,” he added. “When I see connected community, we’re connected by cars, and it’s very difficult to get around the cars lately.”

Sue Stuhl, former Town Parks and Recreation director, said connection to her means sidewalks but agrees about the traffic issues.

“I agree with the traffic issues, but I also feel that traffic is very close-knit and connected on a personal level,” Megan Hedge said. “Our neighborhoods are connected … and the schools feel connected.”

Still, she also agreed about the traffic issues, as well as school overcrowding issues.

While five attended Wednesday’s meeting, Novak said eight attended Tuesday’s gathering. On Wednesday, attendees most voiced concerns about traffic in regards to developments in Town, as well as safety.

Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen currently are in the process of updating its annual Strategic Plan, for which it hired Raftelis, a consulting firm, to complete.

Following residents input as to what adjustments they should see and suggestions for projects, Novak said her group will “pull all that together, along with the information from the website, and present it to the Town as part of the strategic planning workshop we have with the Board,” taking place Tuesday, May 9, after deadline. (See in a future farragutpress issue)

The Board developed a strategic plan in 2017 and are using that plan as the framework for the basis for starting this year’s plan, she added.

“I’m very interested in what’s going on in Town,” Mann said. “I’ve been a resident 20 years. I’m very close to property being considered for future land development.”

“I’m just here because we are in a small group that organized for something specific and we’re still working on that, but it also opened our eyes to planning and the whole process,” Lori Lyell said.

Novak said there are four elements of the plan: a vision statement, mission, values and strategic outlines or goals.

She also asked, “What do we know to be true today? What we hope will be true in the future — our vision? And, how do we get there?”

“Strategic plan is in that three- to five-year time frame,” Novak added. “I’ve been doing strategic planning for local governments for 20 years, and I will say that the time frame for a plan is getting shorter and shorter because the rapidity of change is so much faster.”

Regarding quality of life, “there’s some anxiety in this Town right now,” Mann said. “There’s a Biddle Farm development that’s created a lot of controversy.”

“Redefining if you want something smaller, different (than Knoxville) …” Lyell said.

“…Safer,” Hedge added.

The Town does not have a property tax, thus no police department, so ordinances, such as for noise, cannot be enforced, said Julie Blaylock, FWKCC president/CEO.