Issues with BOMA’s June 22 McFee ‘Letter of Intent’

This Thursday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m., the Farragut Mayor and Aldermen will have a final vote on the purchase of 55 acres on McFee Road for $5.5 million.

The only reason in my opinion for this vote is to “cure” a prior Open Meetings violation. Town attorney Tom Hale said in the Sept. 25 Town meeting at the Farragut Community Center there was no need to have a final vote after being confronted that the motion read into the record on June 22 omitted that the vote was to include the right of the Town attorney and Town administrator to create a purchase agreement for the land and for the Mayor to execute the purchase agreement. The verbal motion made June 22 to purchase the land only spoke of a Letter of Intent to purchase the land.

After that confrontation, the Town administrator then said a final vote would be held Oct. 26. That is proof enough for me this final vote is to cure a prior violation of the Open Meetings Act. I do not appreciate in any way the conduct of the Mayor and Aldermen.

This proposed land purchase began with ballfields. It then became a park. It then became walking trails. To me it has been deceptive from the start. The plat map was changed to hide a large sinkhole. Nothing in the June 22 meeting packet showed the 55 acres being purchased was all old growth-mature trees. The only good land is the 15 acres of donated land.

Alderman David White confronted Mayor Ron Williams in a Mayor and Alderman meeting and said the Mayor had already signed the purchased agreement on Sept. 1. Mayor Williams denied that and claimed he only signed a Letter of Intent to explore the purchase. The document title is “Real Estate Purchase and Donation Agreement.”

Back on Aug. 16, Vice Mayor Louise Povlin wrote a Letter to the Editor in the farragutpress that read, “A 55-acre parcel can yield up to 119 homes, which would generate over 1,100 average daily trips.” Now we know for that to happen all 55 acres of trees would have to be removed. 

The only reason I see for this purchase is to give $5.5 million to the landowner to build a road that would not otherwise be built. I see no benefit in any way to the people of Farragut. Just the landowner and future developer of this land benefit.

Connie Fields, Farragut

Editor’s Note: During the June 22 meeting, Town administrator David Smoak recommended the Letter of Intent be accepted while saying “... this would allow the Town 90 days to inspect the property ... do all the due diligence that we would need to do. ... If at any time during that 90-day period the Town elects to withdraw from the agreement, we can do so without penalty. Then the proposed closing date would be no later than Nov. 15, 2023. ...”