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FMPC fields public comment about Watt Road extension to Old Stage

The Farragut Municipal Planning Commission faced the difficult decision of, as the saying goes, not being able to please all the people all the time during its regular meeting May 4.

The FMPC faced a packed audience of concerned residents who called out questions in a slightly chaotic manner over the issue of the proposed extension of Watt Road to Old Stage Road.

On one side of the issue, residents of Steeplechase subdivision objected to the proposed option A route of the Watt Road extension, which would connect into Old Stage Road directly across from their subdivision.

On another side of the issue, engineer Richard LeMay objected to the option B route, which would have more impact on the environment and totally obliterate a subdivision proposed by his client, James White.

John Sexton of Wilbur Smith and Associates explained the data collection process of traffic information and the proposed routes.

“There’s been continuing growth in the southwest portion of Knox County,” Sexton said. “The Metropolitan Planning Commission noted a population increase of fifty percent between nineteen ninety and two thousand. The need was foreseen for more direct access to Interstate Forty.”

Sexton then went on to describe how his firm had counted the traffic at certain intersections in Farragut over a period of time.

The study showed that a little more than 19,000 cars per day travel Kingston Pike just east of Old Stage Road. It also showed drivers trying to turn left on Old Stage Road at evening peak times had to wait a considerable amount of time. The need to make a more efficient route from the southwest portion of Farragut to the Interstate is essential, Sexton said.

Sexton proposed two routes — option A, which extends Watt Road into Old Stage Road directly across from Triple Crown Road of the Steeplechase subdivision; and option B, a more serpentine route that intersects with Old Stage Road between Triple Crown Road and South Hobbs Road.

Sexton said the option B rouse would have a more dramatic effect on the environment than option A.

The standard FMPC protocol of having residents with questions go to a podium and introduce themselves was not enforced during this meeting and residents called out questions and comments.

“How do we know where all the traffic was going? Why don’t you do things like they did back in California? Why is option A the preferred route? What’s to keep thieves from our subdivision if they have a direct route? Why not have it go through a subdivision that isn’t already built?”

Chairman Robert “Bob” Hill told the crowd the option A route is the preferred route because the town has already purchased the right of way. As for the chance of thieves, Sexton pointed out there are three or four subdivisions accessible prior to reaching the Steeplechase subdivision.

Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III told residents concerned about traffic cutting through their subdivision they could consider closing off Triple Crown Road. Sexton added that traffic calming measures could be employed to meet those types of concerns.

The FMPC commissioners decided to give the matter further study and will look at it again during the June 15 FMPC meeting.

In other business, commissioners:

• Approved the final plat for Inverness, Unit 5 at the request of RiverGate LLC.

• Approved the rezoning of 10.4 acres from R-1 to R-4 on behalf of James White.


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