Residents voice objections to the Growth Policy Plan amendments

More than 70 residents turned out during the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Thursday, March 28, with six voicing their objections to the Growth Policy Plan amendments.

No resident spoke in favor of the amendments.

Lawrence Segrest asked the Board to “take a high-level view” of the proposed Growth Policy Plan. “First, we cannot build a wall around Farragut,” he said. “Whatever happens to the county impacts us … let’s count some of the costs: more traffic and red lights, more dangerous roads, longer lines in the emergency rooms with fewer hospital beds to go around and increased crime with law enforcement stretched thin.

“These problems will require tax dollars and years of construction to fix it,” Segrest added. “… What’s not in the plan is any allocation of funds to pay for all the infrastructure needs the plan creates … buying something without knowing the cost, that’s we call buying a pig in a poke.”

Gerald Thornton, who spoke on behalf of the Sierra Club, asked the Board to reject the amendments and the committee “reconvene and come up with a better plan.”

He listed a number of measures “to provide for a sustainable future for our region.” Among the measures were for tree preservation, protection of ridge tops, potential park spaces and efficiency measures, among others.

Alex Cain, a candidate seeking Vice Mayor Louise Povlin’s Ward 1 seat, which will be vacated this year, asked if Knox County’s Growth Policy Plan had been legally reviewed and if the public can get a copy of that review.

Michael Wilson said the proposed amendments would double the density in some areas.

“Over the last four years, you have lamented that the Choto pass-through traffic is a large part of our Town’s ongoing traffic concerns,” Wilson said. “These problems will only be exacerbated by doubling the current recommended density of one unit per acre in Choto.

“The loophole I’ve highlighted tonight is far more concerning,” he added. “So, until the county presents a comprehensive plan to address Northshore traffic from Choto to Pellissippi, any blanket increases in the current recommended density of one unit per acre should not be approved.”

Daniel Sanders warned against suburban sprawl, “a luxury we can’t afford.”

Mike Mitchell, who also opposed the amendments, warned, “It’s a dangerously unfunded mandate.”

“It doesn’t feel right,” Matthew Parsons said.