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FMPC takes up speed issue

The Farragut Municipal Planning Commission will discuss lowering the speed limit and narrowing streets in the town’s new open space residential overlay district (R-1, OSR) at its March 18 meeting.

Local real estate agency Gables & Gates Realtors made the request at the March 4 FMPC meeting. The agency is currently developing the 318-acre McFee Farm and 12 acres on Allen Kirby Road, which are zoned R-1, OSR.

Plans call for 450 homes on the site.

The agency and the project’s engineer, Billy Fulghum, contend that if the speed limit were lowered from the town’s current 30 and 35 mph regulation to 25 mph it would make for a safer neighborhood. In addition, narrower streets would disturb less land and save more trees.

According to a memo sent to the town by Fulghum MacIndoe and Associates, the town’s current speed limit regulations “encourage excessive speeds as opposed to reducing them.”

“People drive not the speed limit, but the conditions of the road,” Fulghum said.

The current wide street regulations “result in excessive cuts into the hillsides and deep fills at low areas,” the memo states.

Jerry Whitehead, co-owner of Gables & Gates Realtors, said narrower streets and a lower speed limit would make the McFee Farm development safer because of the amount of sidewalks that will be implemented.

“There are going to be a lot of people walking and interacting in this development,” he said.

Many FMPC members favored lowering the speed limit in the town’s new district.

“My gut feeling is the twenty-five mile per hour speed limit design would work just fine and be a benefit to this development,” said Bob Hill, chairman of the FMPC. “I would like to see this at least on an OSR for preservation. It makes good sense to have that.”

“I think in this situation it would be more attractive,” said Commissioner Fred Jones.

Commuters typically drive above the posted speed limit, Jones added.

“Whatever you go with, people are going to drive above that,” he said.

“You have to design for people driving over the speed limit,” said Darryl Smith, engineer for the town. “Typically people will drive ten miles per hour over that.”

The FMPC will look at what effect lowering the speed limit from 35 mph to either 30 or 25 mph would have during the workshop session of the March 18 meeting.

In other business:

• The FMPC voted 8-0 to approve the preliminary plat for Park Place, a 52-lot subdivision slated for construction behind Farragut Town Hall. Commissioner Holly Kelly was absent.

• The FMPC voted 8-0 to deny a request to amend the Farragut Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 4, Section 4, to measure setbacks from the furthermost projection of a building if a building has an overhanging roof or eave that protrudes more than two feet from the setback line.

• The FMPC voted 8-0 to approve a site plan for a second swimming pool in Fox Run subdivision recreational area.

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