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Evans Road tree, sinkholes spark debate at FMPC


The issues of saving old trees and developing around sinkholes dominated much of the discussion at the regularly scheduled Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meeting Thursday, Nov. 18.

Both issues were discussed extensively while workshopping the preliminary plat proposed by Jordan, Jones & Goulding for the Farm at Willow Creek, Parcel 32, Tax Map 152, located on the north side of Evans Road near Virtue Road. Development of the subdivision will coincide with improvements made to Evans Road by Canon & Canon, Inc.


Commissioners grappled over the location of the development’s entrance because it could affect the survival of a large, old oak tree bordering an old cemetery across from the proposed entrance.

Canon and Canon, Inc. has been working with town engineer Darryl Smith to determine the best road design factoring in speeds, slope, vertical alignment and sight distance, as well as the best way not to disturb the cemetery or the tree. Kim Ramsey, of Canon and Canon, Inc., said “our plans are about ninety-five percent complete.”

After much discussion, the Commission asked whether the entrance of the subdivision could be moved further west instead of directly across from the tree. Chris Brown, representing the applicant, noted that the Commission had already decided upon the current entrance plan because of problems with other locations.

FMPC Chairman Bob Hill said, “We made a mistake.” He added that the Commission had not been as “visionary” in earlier discussions. He requested the developers create a rough design that will relocate the entrance away from the tree while optimizing the sight difference, noting they would deal with a variance if needed.

The Commission also asked to have a professional arborist examine the tree to see if construction plans for the subdivision would kill the tree anyway.

The Commission moved the Farm at Willow Creek plat to public hearing at the Thursday, Dec. 2 meeting.

The Commission also is re-examined an amendment to the Farragut Municipal Code to add requirements regarding sinkholes, a discussion that was tabled last spring in part due to the difficulties of defining a sinkhole.

Farragut Mayor Eddy Ford said, “We don’t want to tie ourselves down to a rigid interpretation of words.”

The plat design for the Farm at Willow Creek calls for a water feature with a synthetic liner and an aerator above one of the sinkholes. Ruth Hawk, town community development director, said the water feature would not be allowed under the proposed ordinance.

The town has had a number of problems with developments on and around sinkholes. Lee Johnson, civil engineer, said that sinkholes are part of an underground cavern system that allow water to flow through naturally.

“If they are disturbed, who knows where they will show up again?” he said. Johnson cited the farm on Concord Road and the problems on Papermill as examples.

After raising a number of questions, the Commission asked Hawk to invite Scotty Sorrells from TDEC, an expert on sinkholes, to speak at a future meeting at which time they will revisit the ordinance.

In other business, the Commission voted:

• To unanimously deny (8-0) a rezoning request by Ammy Yeh for Parcel 13, Tax Map 151, 400 N. Watt Road, located north of and adjacent to Orchid Grove subdivision, 3.89 acres, from Agriculture to C-1.

• To unanimously approve (8-0) a final plat submitted by M & M Partners for Fox Run, Unit - 12, Zoned R-1, 23 Lots, 17.5 acres.

• To unanimously approve (8-0) a final plat submitted by H & S Homes of Concord Villas, Parcel 55, Tax Map 143, 11.33 acres and 2.64 of which is located within the town of Farragut and platted as common area for the subdivision, Zoned R-2.

• To unanimously approve (8-0) a resubdivision request by Robert & Pearl Ravatt of 714 Landing Lane, Parcel 9.02, Tax Map 153AG, Zoned R-4, to change the platted footprint.

• To unanimously approve (8-0), subject to changes, a preliminary plat submitted by Myers Bros. Holdings, LLC, for Park Bridge subdivision, Parcel 90, Tax Map 151, located between South Hobbs Road and Old Stage Hills subdivision, Zoned R-2, 13.214 acres, 25 lots, and a variance request from the minimum length of cul-de-sac, and to approve a variance request from the requirement to construct a sidewalk along lots 9, 10, and 11 of South Hobbs Road.

• To unanimously postpone (8-0) a preliminary plat submitted by Winston Cox for Rockwell Farm — Unit 6, Zoned R-1 and OSR, 25.78 acres, 55 Lots, and a variance request from the requirement to construct a sidewalk along the full length of Dixon Road.

• To unanimously approve (8-0) a resubdivision submitted by Michael Brady, Inc. of a portion of Parcel 1.07, Tax Map 143HA, and Parcels 2, 5 and 6, Tax Map 143HA, 11124 to 11128 Kingston Pike, fronting on Kingston Pike, Loudoun and Roane roads, Zoned C-1 and B-1, 4.2 acres.

• To unanimously postpone until Dec. 2 a site plan submitted by Michael Brady, Inc. for Farragut Retail Building, 11124 Kingston Pike, located on the southwest corner of Kingston Pike and Loudoun Road, approximately 2 acres, Zoned C-1.

• To unanimously postpone (8-0) until Dec. 2 a site plan submitted by Michael Brady, Inc. for Farragut Office Building, 109 Loudoun Road, located on the northwest corner of Loudoun and Roane Roads, approximately 2 acres, Zoned C-1 and B-1.



Leslie Tucker contributed to this story.

 

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