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Town’s stance on ‘signage’ questioned and Second Harvest seeks support for ‘Letter Carriers’ Food Drive’

Town’s stance on ‘signage’ questioned



Is our signage ordinance for sale? The Farragut Municipal Planning Commission is considering a request by Gander Mountain that would, in essence, eliminate much of the applicable signage ordinance. Now is the time to voice our concerns and contact members of the FMPC and our elected Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

First of all, I am not opposed to Gander Mountain. From what I have read, they seem to be a fine company and would be a welcome addition to our

community.

I am very concerned about the developers’ request for what amounts to be substantial changes and exemptions from much of the applicable signage ordinance. My opposition focuses on several reasons:

1. It is unfair to consider providing these drastic exemptions based on this applicant’s size. What does this tell the rest of the Farragut business community which follows our ordinances? I will tell you, it says that we create a double standard whereby the big boys get everything they want and the little guys don’t

2. Based on developable space, our town possesses the lion’s share of available space in and near the Turkey Creek commercial district. We are in the driver’s seat. Businesses want to locate in and near Turkey Creek and we control much of the open space. Why are we even considering such dramatic exemptions? There is no need to give away the farm. Gander Mountain knows there are few if any other options for a location of this size within the immediate confines of Turkey Creek. We should stick to our guns and our existing ordinances. Sure, some minor variances, such as we allow for most applicants, are appropriate for consideration. But there is no justification for a wholesale giveaway.

3. Last report I saw revealed our town to be solidly in the black. Certainly much credit goes to the town’s administration and its elected leadership for a job well done. I see no justification for, in essence, selling our ordinances on the presumption of a return of substantial sales tax dollars. If we were hemorrhaging red ink, I could understand the need for drastic action. We’re not in that situation. As referenced above, we hold the cards. There is no need to fold our hand and throw in our cards on this request.

4. By approving these radical departures from our existing signage ordinance, we are going down a very slippery slope, which has the potential to undermine much of what this town stands for and the voting populace have approved in recent elections. What happens when another business comes in and dangles perceived big sales tax dollars in front of our nose? Do we ignore existing ordinances and instead, create a special exemption based on a rolling square footage figure that just happens to be slightly below what is being requested? The answer is that once we open the door the developer community will gladly and repeatedly seek to walk through it. Our town’s staff and the FMPC’s time on future agendas will be filled with requests similar to what Gander Mountain has before them now.

Finally, I am extremely concerned by the perception that this request and the Kroger development request are being “fast-tracked” through our town’s usual and customary process. Rumors of behind the scenes maneuverings only serve to undermine confidence in our town’s leadership. Our process is fair and just and open to public comment. It needs to remain that way with all those who are appointed and elected approaching this request with an open mind to all aspects of this issue … not just an anticipation of potential sales tax

dollars.



Jeff Elliott

Farragut



Second Harvest seeks support for ‘Letter Carriers’ Food Drive’



The 14th annual National Association of Letters Carriers’ Food Drive (NALC) will be held on Saturday, May 13. This food drive plays an essential role in providing much needed food to millions of hungry families in the United States of America. The 2005 NALC food drive brought in more than 113,000 pounds of food for Second Harvest last year. That astonishing amount of food provides 85,000 meals to hungry families in Knox County. We expect to exceed that figure with this year’s drive.

Bags for food collection will be placed throughout the week in Knox County area mailboxes. Residents are encouraged to fill the bag with non-perishable food then hang the bag on their mailbox before 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, for pick-up.

Each letter carrier will collect food along his or her route, as mail is delivered that day. All food collected will be donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank and distributed to hundreds of food pantries and soup kitchens in Knox County that provide emergency food relief to the needy.

We are in desperate need of canned food right now. These spring and summer months are when our inventory of canned food is critically low.

This food drive is conducted in conjunction with the U.S Postal Service, the Rural Carriers and other postal employees, the Knoxville-Oak Ridge AFL-CIO, Roadway Express and Teamsters 519 and the United Way of Greater Knoxville.

For more information on how you can get involved in hunger relief programs, or to donate time, money or food call Second Harvest Food Bank at 865-521-0000.



Elaine Machiela

Second Harvest

Executive Director

 

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