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Developers jump at new ‘cluster’ development zoning at FMPC

Three developers’ requests for the town’s new cluster development zone have been OK’d by the Farragut Municipal Planning Commission.

The requests were passed 7-0 at last week’s meeting. Commissioners Edward St. Clair and Tom Rosseel were absent.

The requests were made by developers for another phase of Rockwell Farms, Berkeley Park and a 10.9-acre tract on Fleenor Road owned by Sharon Byrd.

One developer shed some light on what he intended to do under the new zoning.

“It will have 75-foot wide lots,” said Phil Cobble, developer of Berkeley Park. “It will have larger lots than the board has conceptualized.”

Cobble said the average frontage for the homes would be between 70 and 72 feet.

The homes will also have built-in amenities such as a refrigerator and television, he added.

“Everything will be built-in, but the bed,” Cobble joked.

Ruth Hawk, community development director for the town, said the new zone, dubbed the open space residential overlay district, is suitable for the additional phase of Rockwell Farms and the tract on Fleenor Road because of their environmentally sensitive areas.

Rockwell Farms has large sinkholes and is heavily wooded and Fleenor Road has some potential wetlands and specimen oak trees, she added.

“Those oak trees are an asset to the area and it would be a shame to cut them down,” Hawk said.

The requests will now go before the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a vote.

The new zone lends itself to more dense developments, which concerns Mayor Eddy Ford.

“I am concerned about what our developers are going to propose to us and you should be too,” Ford said to a couple located near one of the developments that were approved for the zone.

Alderman Constance Rutenber said she is “excited” about the new zone because of it’s required 35 percent open space.

“The idea of taking environmentally sensitive land and creating open space is good,” she said. “It will be a welcomed addition.”

Open space will have to be an integral part of the overall design of the potential development in order to conserve natural and man-made features on the site.

To be considered for the overlay district a development would have to be at least five acres.

Other regulations include front yard setbacks of 50 feet on arterial streets, 40 feet on major collectors, 30 feet on local collectors and 20 feet on local streets.

All accessory structures excluding fences, detention basin structures, subdivision walls, retaining walls and certain utility structures will be required to be set back 20 feet from the nearest point of right-of-way.

Peripheral property line setbacks will have to be at least 50 feet from peripheral side and rear property lines.

There will also be a required distance of 20 feet between all freestanding buildings.

Buffer strips will be flexible and implemented on a case-by-case basis. If the FMPC deems buffer strips are needed, they would be required to be a minimum of 25 feet in width.

Principal building on the development can not exceed two-and-a-half stories or 35 feet in height and accessory buildings can not exceed 15 feet in height.

In other business:

• The FMPC voted 7-0 to approve the final plat for Fox Run subdivision. The development will contain 23 lots over 17.6 acres.

• The FMPC will discuss an ordinance at its Dec. 18 meeting to incentivize underground parking in the five-story office district (O-1-5). The ordinance would increase the total lot coverage from 60 percent to 70 percent for developers who incorporate underground parking. The FMPC will discuss allowing the additional 10 percent lot coverage to office buildings that will contain 20 percent of its overall parking underground.

• The FMPC will also consider rezoning the section of Kingston Pike the town is considering annexing as office (0-1) from the current town limits to Amesbury Road, and commercial from there to Canton Hollow Road. Hawk said the zones would match the current use of the locations. This item will be discussed at the Dec. 18 meeting.

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