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Ford warns commission of street speed liability


The idea of decreasing street design speeds in the town’s new open space residential overlay district (R-1, OSR) took a hit last week when Mayor Eddy Ford contended that Farragut Municipal Planning Commission members who vote in favor of the proposal could burden some liability.

Decreasing street design speeds from 35 mph to 30 or 25 mph had gained some steam at the April 1 FMPC meeting when several commissioners said the request was rational enough to consider.

Ford’s statement that persons involved in accidents on roads designed at slower speeds could possibly sue the board members cast some doubt.


“When an attorney sees that these roads were designed without safety in mind, that attorney will sue the town of Farragut,” Ford said. “That attorney will point at those who voted for this on this board. I would advise you if you vote for this, you put all your holdings to your spouse … you’re taking a risk.”

Local realtor Gables & Gates made the request, now being considered as a variance rather than a blanket change to the new district, for their proposed development on the McFee Farm.

The development would encompass more than 320 acres and have 441 buildable lots.

Of the 30 streets in the proposed development, 26 are proposed to be designed either 30 or 25 mph.

Most of the variances are requested for the development’s cul-de-sacs and loops.

If the proposal is approved, streets designed at 30 mph, after allotment for curb and gutter, would be 22 feet wide, 25 mph streets would be 20 feet wide.

Jerry Whitehead, co-owner of Gables & Gates, said there could be greater liability by leaving the street design speeds at 35 mph.

“I think there is going to be greater liability for not doing anything about it … designing roads faster with wider streets,” he said.

He also stated that narrower streets would slow drivers down, call for less environmental disturbance and possibly save more trees.

“We’re on the leading edge of what’s happening around the country,” Whitehead said.

Ford held that he hopes the FMPC will “deny all these variances.”

Other FMPC members said they wanted to consult with the town attorney, Tom Hale, before taking further action.

“If what the mayor says is true, I’ll never vote for another variance,” said FMPC chairman Bob Hill.

Whitehead said whether or not the proposal is approved, Gables & Gates would like to move forward with the development.

“Whether you approve this or not, we need to get on with this,” he said. “We’ll be more than happy to do this by the town’s (regulations). We’re not going to pull out if we don’t get this.”

The concept plan and variance requests for the development will be discussed at the May 20 FMPC meeting.

In other business:

• The FMPC voted unanimously to approve a site plan for a TDS substation to be located on Parcels 191.06 and 191.11, tax map 130, located south of Parkside Drive between Herron Road and the town/city limits line, zoned B-1 and O-1-3, 40 feet by 20 feet (TDS Telecom, applicant).

• The FMPC voted unanimously to approve a site plan for TDS Telecom, 701 Concord Road, to modify an existing parking lot, zoned C-1, 2.18 acres (TDS Telecom, applicant).

• The FMPC voted unanimously to approve a resubdivision of lots one and two, Country Way subdivision, Axton Drive, zoned R-2, 1.19 acres, to dissolve the interior property line (Michael Bates, applicant).

• The FMPC voted unanimously to approve a resubdivision of Parcels 10 and 11, tax map 142GN, 519 and 523 Saint Charles Ln., zoned R-2, 1.004 acres, to move the interior property line (Michael Bates, Applicant).

• The FMPC voted unanimously to approve a resubdivision of Parcel 36.01, tax map 142, Union Road, Zoned R-2, 3.36 Acres, to move an AT&T easement (Louis Hamilton, applicant).

• The FMPC voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the site plan for Amoco, 801 N. Campbell Station Road, Parcel 110.01, tax map 130, to change out the canopy, zoned C-2, .947 acres (Sawyer Mfg. Co., Inc., applicant).

• The FMPC voted unanimously to approve a concept plan for Rockwell Farm Subdivision - Unit 6, parcels 104 and 104.01, tax map 151, zoned R-1, OSR, 25.76 acres, 55 units (WC Development, applicant).

• The FMPC voted unanimously to approve a request to rezone parcel 9, tax map 142DA, known as the Matthews property, bounded by Stonecrest, Farragut View, Woodland Trace, and Sweet Briar subdivisions, 33.95 acres, from R-2 to R-1, OSR (Site, Inc., applicant).



















• The FMPC voted unanimously to approve a site plan for a soccer field at First Baptist Church of Concord, 11704 Kingston Pike, to be located behind the existing houses fronting on Belleaire Drive and the portable trailers, zoned R-3, 21.71 acres (David Robinette/Site Inc., applicant).

 

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