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Aquatic buffer ordinance passes second reading

About one year after a town “ad hoc” committee began its research, an aquatic buffer ordinance has passed on second reading by the town of Farragut.

By a 4-1 vote, the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed the 25-foot aquatic buffer ordinance — limiting any construction, digging or clearing of property with a 25-foot zone from the highest point of embankment of an “impaired” waterway — during its meeting Thursday, Nov. 10, in Town Hall.

“Both Turkey Creek and Little Turkey Creek in the town are designated by the state as impaired … because of siltation,” Town attorney Tom Hale said.

On record favoring a more expansive buffer zone, Alderman Thomas Rosseel voted no, expressing concerns about Farragut’s waterway impairment content creating “substantial liability in the future” if that content isn’t reduced.

Updating FBMA on the state’s 60-foot waterway buffer zone regulations, which deals specifically with construction, and how it meshes with Farragut’s 25-foot zone, Hale said there are many gray areas of interpretation.

Recent state regulations require state “approval” be obtained before construction begins around a 60-foot buffered area “on lots that are more than one acre,” Hale said. He quoted a state regulation saying care must be taken to prevent siltation and other construction water run-off, “To the maximum extent practical,” which the town attorney said was vague.

Unlike the town’s 25-foot aquatic buffer zone, Hale pointed out that the state buffer, “is not a permanent buffer,” adding it is his understanding that the buffer zone distance at a construction site can be as close as 25 feet but must average at least 60 feet over the length of the construction property.

Hale added the town buffer does not apply to building permits, for example, that were already obtained before Nov. 10 without regard to the buffer. “I think even if you have a subdivision plat that’s been approved, if it hasn’t expired, you still are operating under the old,” he said.

However, Hale added, “Even under the old way we were doing it, they were maintaining a twenty-five foot buffer.”

In other business:

• Mayor W. Edward Ford III asked Terrence Bobrowski, executive director of East Tennessee Development District, if the town could apply for a grant “with owners of those sites” concerning two former gas station locations in order to remove abandoned fuel tanks with regard to environmental concerns and re-establish the property for future commercial use. Bobrowski said he would “check into that and respond back” to the town, adding there are “substantial grant funds” available for such problems. One of those in question is the abandoned former Texaco station on Kingston Pike adjacent to U-Haul.

• Ford offered “a substitute motion” on a proposal for appraisal services for the Smith Road Sidewalk project, authorizing town engineer Darryl Smith to negotiate with RES, LLC, a real estate appraising company, to negotiate on a per tract charge basis. It passed unanimously.

Smith had advised the Board, “Given the amount of opposition we have had on this project … I feel like the only way we’re going to be able to acquire those easements is through the standard acquisition process, which does require appraisals.”

As opposed to spending $19,800 for appraisals for the 11 tracts in question, alderman Joel Garber suggested the town first contact each individual property owner to see if they will agree to sell slope and construction easements so the town could spend less money on appraisal costs.

“I don’t think it’s necessary for all those parcels,” Garber said. “Have we made any contact, or surveillance, with the property owners to ascertain this or are we just speculating this is going to be necessary? .... We know we’re going to have to do it on one or two or three properties, we don’t know if we’re going to have to do it on eleven properties.”

• Ruth Hawk, town community development director, said town officials went to Farragut High School and Knox County Schools System officials without success proposing an access road on the school’s main drive coming in from Campbell Station Road, which connects Farragut High School, middle and intermediate schools.

• Ford said that when the Campbell Station Road extension is completed, the town’s sidewalk walking trail would have connected “approximately forty of our subdivisions. You can walk from the north side of the town of Farragut to the south side of the town of Farragut.”

• Unanimously passed Ordinance 5-20 on first reading to rezone Parcels 125 & 126, Tax Map 142, and Parcels 1 & 2, Tax Map 142EC, 11.9 acres, from R-1 to R-1 & OSR, located on the southeast corner of N. Campbell Station Road and Sonja Drive.

• Unanimously approved storm-water labeling to meet NPDES Phase 2 requirements.

• Unanimously approved proposal for engineering services in preparation of the advance planning report for Old Stage/Watt Road Extension. Sherman Patterson of Steeplechase Home-owners Association expressed opposition to the extension while expressing interest on how the extension would affect his community.

• Unanimously approved reimbursement agreement with Plantation Pipeline for McFee Road Phase 2 project.

• Smith reported that a sidewalk project near Willow Creek Golf Course has an estimated cost of $321,898, not including rights-of-way and easement cost considerations.

• The mayor announced that the inaugural “Parents Day Out” is set from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, in the Farragut Town Hall community room. “Parents can sign up ahead of time in the town hall and leave their children,” ages 5 to 10, “to enjoy a fun-filled afternoon,” Ford said.”

• Ford announced “over one-hundred-and-seventy disease-resistant” dogwood trees “along the Village Green and Fox Den neighborhoods” had been planted “along the dogwood trail in Farragut” earlier this fall. More trees for Village Green, Fox Den and Country Manor were to be planted earlier this month.


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