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Weigel’s ‘new’ plan passes FMPC


The Farragut Municipal Planning Commission offered and approved a plan that could resolve the issue surrounding the proposed Weigel’s Farm Store at the corner of Smith Road and Kingston Pike, but Weigel’s officials want to study the matter before making a

decision.


During the June 1 FMPC meeting, after more than two hours of comments from Weigel’s attorney Robert “Bob” Leonard and Sugarwood residents, Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III offered a solution that he said “might not make both sides happy,” but would be a fair compromise.

Weigel’s proposed development had included an entrance and exit on Smith Road about 100 feet from the intersection of Kingston Pike. The entrances on Kingston Pike included a right in, right out entrance and a full entrance and exit directly across from the Sugarwood subdivision.

Ford proposed changing the entrance and exit across from Sugarwood into a left in, right out access point and eliminating the right-out access point closer to the Smith Road intersection.

“We will have the stipulation in there that when the property to the west of Weigel’s is developed, we’ll go back and take a look at the access then,” Ford said.

Weigel’s president Ken McMullen told the FMPC he would accept their decision, but that he would have to take their suggestion back to other company officials to look at the matter before committing to it.

Prior to coming to the compromise, both sides took turns presenting their case to the FMPC. Leonard asked engineer Gary Norvell to show the Commission why a proposed Smith Road entrance across from Walgreen’s would not work for delivery trucks.

Norvell showed commissioners the large tractor-trailer rigs, such as those delivering gasoline, depend on the “K” factor to determine turning ratio viability. He said due to the grade necessary for such a road, tractor-trailers would not be able to make the proposed turn for fear of getting their rigs stuck.

“It will not work to build that driveway behind the building,” he said.

Leonard 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 expressed concern about dealing with competing traffic in what one resident called “their lane,” meaning the center turn lane on Kingston Pike, a state highway.

Randall Roberts, a Sugarwood resident, talked about the trouble he has making a left out of Sugarwood onto Kingston Pike.

“I am lucky to make it across every morning,” he said. “Sometimes I use that center lane as an acceleration lane and sometimes I don’t.”

Roberts questioned why the FMPC had to decide the matter now and couldn’t wait until a stoplight could be installed at Virtue Road.

Other residents also questioned the viability of placing a stoplight at Virtue Road as well as to the entrance of the Sugarwood subdivision.

Smith and Commissioner Carol Evans explained several times that Kingston Pike is a state highway. As such, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has sole jurisdiction and determination regarding placement of stoplights along Kingston Pike.

In other business, the commissioners approved in a 6-2 vote the rezoning of 12 acres along Kingston Pike from R-1 to C-1 fro commercial use at the request of Anne Ralston, applicant. Commissioners Fred Jones and Carol Evans voted against the measure.

Oliver Smith of Oliver Smith Realty told commissioners that since this property was right next to the First Utility District sewage treatment plant, there was little likelihood of the property being used for residential housing.

“The impact of the neighboring property has a negative value on the land,” he said. “We feel the C-1 use is the only option for the property.”

Evans suggested the property could be used for office space.

“To suggest that someone would want to work in an office overlooking a wastewater treatment plant is not logical,” Ford said.

Evans said using that logic, then it is not logical to think that someone would want to work in a business next to a wastewater treatment plant.

Jones said his objections had to do with the poor condition of Concord Road in that area.

“I think it’s premature to rezone this commercial,” he said. “The road out there is a

disaster.”

 

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