Despite Neal, BOMA nods greenway fund

As Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved on first reading its Fiscal Year 2025 budget, which includes some amendments to the draft budget, during its meeting Thursday, May 23, it approved a $500,000 expenditure for the Turkey Creek greenway and road improvement project despite a request not to fund the project for this fiscal year.

“I’ve been asked to express my clients’ opposition to the $500,000 provided for right-of-way acquisition,” said Knoxville attorney John Neal of The Neal Law Firm, which represents three of the six households affected by the Turkey Creek Greenway extension project. He represents Shirley Harkins, David Gailbraith and Howard and Bobbi Tipton.

He pointed out another resident, Dustin Anderson, was denied a building permit for a house on his property because he was told the property was not properly subdivided.

“I don’t see how you can acquire right-of-way when you don’t even know who owns the property that you’re acquiring the right-of-way from,” Neal said.

Additionally, he said Galbraith has a “particular serious problem with the city.”

In 2005, Neal said as a part of approving Sheffield subdivision, the Town agreed there would not be any sidewalk in front of Galbraith’s house.

“That provision was incorporated into the recorded plat in Knox County Register (of Deeds) office,” he said. “Mr. Galbraith intends to file suit … to keep (Town of) Farragut from building a sidewalk in front of his house. That would, of course, block the greenway.

“We think the Town already has a right-of-way for the greenway, and there wouldn’t be any opposition to it, there wouldn’t be any property acquisition expense and my clients think that’s a much better approach,” Neal added.

“… For the moment the Planning Commission has tabled this proposal because of legal issues, and I would just suggest to you all that until those legal issues have been resolved, there’s no point and no benefit in allocating $500,000 toward acquisition of property at the moment you can’t acquire.”

However, Vice Mayor Louise Povlin said budgeting the money is not the same as appropriating it. As such, the Board agreed to keep the $500,000 in the budget.

But at the same time, it also voted to amend the budget by pushing forward funding for proposed tennis courts at McFee Park and a proposed underpass greenway project along Kingston Pike to a future fiscal year.