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Review Board adjourns

The final meeting of the Development Review Process Evaluation Committee was not a typical wrap-up gathering as members spent more than two hours dissecting their findings, debating semantics and — in more than one case — the inclusion of one word versus another.

It began as an exploratory committee formed by Farragut Mayor W. Edward Ford III shortly after his re-election and ended with its last meeting Monday night, Aug. 22, amid a vocal group vying for what each believed should be in the document that summarizes their work and outlines recommendations for improvement.

The report, initially drafted by Chairman Michael Haynes, was discussed and debated until the committee signed the final document, “unanimously” adopting it. David Wooley was not present.

Haynes will summarize the report — which lists positives, areas of concern and recommendations of the development review process — at tonight’s Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting and will request it to be added to its Sept. 8, meeting agenda.

While most report changes were agreed upon by the committee by a comfortable margin , others pointed out a stark contrast among some members on major points, many times debating semantics.

Joel Garber moved to remove the words “Community Development Director” as an area of concern regarding customer service.

“If you remove this language, I think what happens is you water down a report to try to either avoid or misdirect the message,” Ron Honken said.

Bob Markli agreed. “It is our mission and our objective to point out areas of concern. . . . We’re trying to be tactful. We’re trying to be delicate. We’re trying to be polite. . . . The bottom line is there is significant concern here and I’m for addressing it directly.

“I think it is a correct statement of what we’ve heard, that that’s an area of concern and a great deal of it has been very specific,” Haynes added. “I don’t think that it means that there’s not some problems in other areas, including the Board and Mayor and Aldermen for that matter.”

The Commission voted 7-2 not to remove the language.

Recommended actions included adding meeting(s) between staff and developers to the process. They did not, however, recommend changing Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meetings from two a month to one, as suggested as a possible solution to time constraints by both committee members, developers and town staff, including Town Engineer Darryl Smith, who addressed the Committee.

“It’s not helping to have these meetings every two weeks. . . . . Staff is working on one meeting while we’re preparing for another meeting,” Smith said.

Not suggesting a change in the number of meetings in their report, Haynes said, would not preclude that future possibility.

“It recognizes some concerns and some limitations and as we develop this process . . . that may be where we end up,” Haynes said.

The complete committee report should be posted on by Friday, Aug. 25.

Read next week’s farragutpress for a more comprehensive look at the Development Review Process Evaluation Committee.


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