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Weigel, Leonard pass FMPC hurdle
FMPC approves Weigel Stores plat despite staff recommendation to deny

The Farragut Municipal Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a resubdivision of property for Weigel Stores, Inc. in the 12000 block of Kingston Pike despite opposition from the town’s staff during its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, Aug. 19.

The controversy arose over the town staff’s mandate that Weigel Stores move its planned joint-access curb cut about 200-feet west to line up with Sugarwood Drive as part of a shared access easement that should cross the Weigel lot and the adjacent lot abutting it on the west. The town staff argued that the intersection with Kingston Pike was unsafe and that moving it where Weigel Stores proposed would not make the intersection any safer.

Attorney for Weigel and former town of Farragut Mayor Bob Leonard argued that the landowner, Kenneth Vann, of the property adjacent to the Weigel property “will not agree to an easement across the property,” but rather would agree to the shared access in the near center of the two properties.

Leonard said concerning the existing conditions at the Smith Road Weigel store, “With all due deference to the ordinances and everything else, what we have is an existing situation that is not good. We think that we can improve that existing situation a great deal.”

Leonard added that the “stack up” of traffic turning onto Smith Road from Kingston Pike would improve provided the curb cut was moved as designed.

Leonard called upon Barbara G. Hatcher, an engineer with Site Engineering, who conducted a traffic study on behalf of Weigel Stores, to report her findings.

Hatcher said her report was based on data gathered at the Kingston Pike/Smith Road intersection and at the entrance to Sugarwood subdivision on Friday, Aug. 13, the first full day of Knox County school.

Hatcher said the observer at the intersection recorded that at one time at most there were, “six vehicles in the turning lane for Smith Road” during the peak morning time. She added that allowing 25 feet per vehicle, six vehicles would equate to 150 feet of turning lane needed.

Hatcher said that the highway capacity manual for that amount of vehicles calls for about 100 feet of turning lane.

Darryl Smith, town engineer, said concerning the existing access, “It doesn’t work now and it won’t work in the future.”

Smith expressed concerns that Hatcher’s report didn’t take into consideration future traffic flow.

Leonard said that based on Vann’s posture on an easement crossing his property and that if the curb cut was moved to a location opposite the Sugarwood entrance, Bill Weigel, owner of Weigel Stores, Inc., would leave his building as is. The town would then be faced with having two curb cuts in the same amount of space.

Ruth Hawk, community development director for the town, said that based on town ordinance and without the easement, the staff had no choice but to recommend the Commission “deny the request.”

She added that since the Weigel property was a corner property, the town “was not required to grant a curb cut on Kingston Pike.”

Smith said that he would be more in favor of supporting the curb cut location Weigel Stores desired if the Kingston Pike access was made “right-turn only.” This would mean east-bound traffic would enter the store via Smith Road and traffic existing the store onto Kingston Pike would have to exit to the west. West-bound traffic would be permitted to enter via Smith Road or through the Kingston Pike curb cut.

Championed by Mayor Eddy Ford, who said, “ … There are forty years of community, experienced with a viable community store, first in the name of Family Country Markets under the ownership of W. Jack Walker and family, and then under the ownership of Weigel’s,”

Ford added that Weigel’s has become “an icon in our community and its been well used. Every time that I pass there’s somebody at the gas pumps getting gas. It certainly qualifies as a community convenience store that is well-used by our community.”

Ford moved that the Commission approve the site plan submitted by Weigel Stores, Inc. as shown. The motion was seconded and approved 9-0.


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