Trying to access ‘119 homes’ claims with McFee purchase

A claim from our Farragut elected officials needs to be clarified. In numerous Town of Farragut meetings and newspaper stories the claim is made that by the Town of Farragut purchasing the 55-acre parcel on McFee Road it will prevent the construction of 119 homes, which would generate over 1,100 average daily trips.

This is not an accurate claim. Below are quotes from Vice Mayor Louise Povlin’s blog that prove this claim has no merit:

“The Open Space Residential Overlay and the Open Space Mixed Residential Overlay zoning districts allow for a maximum density of 2.178 units/acre. R1/OSR and R1/OSMR allow houses to be clustered on the more buildable portion of a property and require a dedication of a minimum of 35 percent open space.”

“The property owners are prepared to sell the 55-acre parcel currently being offered to the Town for purchase. The developer of the Meadows on McFee subdivision is interested in purchasing this property to expand the subdivision. The Meadows on McFee developer has already stubbed a road (Wild Basil Street) to the border of this property in anticipation of further development. With an open space residential overlay zoning, this 55-acre parcel could yield up to 119 homes and generate over 1,100 average daily trips.”

Enclosed for the farragutpress (was) a Town document (photo, not published) proving the 55-acre plot is heavily forested. In the three years this land has been owned by the new owner, only Knox County Schools and the Town of Farragut have shown interest in purchasing the land. The reason is the cost to remove the 55 acres of old growth trees is very high.

The total amount of land on McFee Road is 376 acres. With the Open Space Residential Overlay and the Open Space Mixed Residential Overlay zoning districts, 35 percent of those 376 acres MUST be open space. That open space amount is 132 acres. It is obvious that the 55-acre parcel will be open space except for the amount required to build a road into the property. This means the claim that 119 homes would be built in the 55-acre parcel is false.

The Town purchasing this 55-acre parcel for $5.5 million dollars allows the landowner the money to build the expensive road. Knox County Schools backed out of this land purchase because it was estimated it would cost over $3 million to build the road into the property. So, the landowner gets the road, $2.5 million dollars and the remaining 306 acres of land paid for free and clear.

At 2.178 homes per acre using the Open Space Residential Overlay and the Open Space Mixed Residential Overlay zoning district, this 306 acres of land will yield 666 homes and 6,156 average daily trips.

How does the purchase of this land help the people of Farragut in any way?

Mike Mitchell,