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Weigel’s moves from workshop to vote June 1
Hildebrand resigns Commission seat; Honken appointed

The Farragut Municipal Planning Commission held a tight rein over the crowd gathered at its regular Thursday meeting to both support and oppose a Weigel’s Farm Store being built at the intersection of Kingston Pike and Smith Road.

“Mr. [Robert “Bob”] Leonard has agreed to keep his remarks under twelve minutes, so you Sugarwood residents will have twelve minutes,” Chairman Robert “Bob” Hill told the crowd. “All the speaking will be done from the podium.”

Leonard, representing Weigel’s, told the members of the FMPC the company has agreed to place a full entrance on Kingston Pike directly across from the Sugarwood addition. An easement road will run back to the store. There will also be a right-in, right-out, access point on the Kingston Pike frontage. Leonard said he would be requesting a variance on the distance of the easement road setback from Kingston Pike.

Farragut Community Development Director Ruth Hawk pointed out to commissioners the setback of the easement road from Kingston Pike is shown on Weigel’s plans as 20 feet. Town ordinance requires 40 feet.

The point of disagreement between the town and Weigel’s seemed to center around the proposed location for the Smith Road entrance and exit. Plans show the store’s proposed entrance on the Smith Road side of the facility is approximately 100 feet from the intersection with Kingston Pike, which doesn’t meet the town’s 200-foot requirement on a collector road.

Hawk said the staff is recommending Weigel’s line up its Smith Road access directly across from the Walgreens entrance. The reason, she said, is because of the ordinance as well as safety, adding that drivers who have a direct line of sight with each other are less likely to have accidents.

The reason also involves vehicle stacking. She said the town staff is concerned from a safety perspective. Large tractor-trailer trucks coming from the Weigel’s proposed access have the potential to cause traffic problems due to a short stacking distance.

Leonard laid out his arguments for the Smith Road entrance before the Commission in a written statement as well as stating them.

“The store will receive gasoline shipments three times a week,” he told commissioners. “These deliveries will usually be in the early morning hours and not cause any problems with traffic.”

Leonard provided the Com-mission with a copy of a letter from the engineering firm of Batson, Himes, Norvell and Poe that stated if Weigel’s entrance were to be located directly across from Walgreens, “it would impose such an undue burden on the developer, due to the unique features of the property as to prevent the store being built.

Leonard also cited a Jan. 27, 2006, letter from town engineer Darryl Smith in which Smith stated “when considering a request for a variance, the FMPC and Board of Mayor and Aldermen must consider whether meeting an ordinance imposes an undue burden on the developer, due to the unique features of the property. This decision is the right and responsibility of only the FMPC and/or the Board.”

Sugarwood residents asked FMPC members make sure the right-in-right-out is “severe enough” to prevent illegal left turns.

Randall Roberts, a Sugarwood resident, asked the commissioners to consider eliminating the right out on Kingston Pike and asked them to consider eliminating the left turn from the entrance across from Sugarwood. He said residents feared a head-on collision.

The Commission agreed to move the matter to an agenda vote June 15.

In other business, Commis-sioner Steve Hildebrand announced that he is resigning from the FMPC.

“A couple of years ago when the mayor asked me to serve, I cautioned him that I could probably only serve two years,” Hildebrand said. “My wife and I have a very lovely summer cottage in Michigan. We’ll be spending a lot of time up there. I’m really going to miss this talented group of people.”

“You brought a lot of expertise to the planning commission,” Hill told him.

Assistant town administrator Gary Palmer said after the meeting that Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III has appointed Ron Honken to replace Hildebrand on the Commission.

In unrelated matters, the Commission heard plans during the workshop session for a new St. John Neumann Catholic Church to be located at 635 St. John Court.

David Campbell, representing the church, said the new building was expected to seat up to 850 people. He said the church was expecting to break ground Sept. 1 and finish by December of next year.

In other business, the FMPC:

• approved an amendment to the site plan for Admiral Pointe to modify the façade of the building at the request of Billy Walls.

• approved an amendment to the preliminary plat for Fox Run- Unit 13, to add an additional lot at the request of M & M Partners.

• denied a request to rezone a parcel in the Linda Heights subdivision from R-2 to 0-1 at the request of James and Iva Chambers.


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