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Ralston proposal confuses FMPC

Members of the Farragut Municipal Planning Commssion couldn’t quite visualize the concept applicant Ann Ralston brought before them during a workshop session, and asked the idea be brought back in about a month.

Ralston, through representative attorney Charles VanBeke and developer Oliver Smith, proposed an amendment to the Farragut Zoning ordinance to allow for the sale and outdoor storage of marine and recreational vehicles on Ralston’s property off Concord Road near Northshore Drive.

The proposed ordinance was to allow a marine and recreational vehicle lifestyle center and marina. The first point of contention was over the wording in the application to the town, which described the sale of recreational vehicles on the property.

“We see this as something the equivalent of a car lot,” said Ruth Hawk, community development director.

“We’re not into the business of buying and selling recreational vehicles,” VanBeke said. “We’re proposing a place that would be for the storage of R-V’s and the sale of boats. I think trying to equate it with a used car lot isn’t appropriate at all.”

Commissioner Carol Evans told VanBeke the FMPC didn’t want an RV storage facility.

Smith told commissioners the confusing wording on the application was due to the idea of a marine and recreational vehicle lifestyle center being a relatively new concept.

“This is a new thing spreading across the country,” Smith said. “I’m sure Charles [VanBeke] did his best, but the wording on this is difficult and challenging.”

Smith said the idea of the facility would be to serve as a storage facility for recreational vehicles. It would serve as a place for the storage and sale of marine equipment as well.

Smith, when asked by commissioners, was hard-pressed to say how the facility would be different from a marina. He was also at a loss to explain how the proposed business would be run.

“It would be helpful if we had some photos of what this would look like,” said Commissioner Rita Holladay.

Chairman Robert “Bob” Hill suggested Smith come back in about a month with photos and the proposed facility manager to explain how such a business would work.

In other workshop business, commissioners heard a plan to grade and develop a little more than 11 acres at the southeast corner of Sonja Drive and N. Campbell Station Road.

Hawk told commissioners developer Fred Hagberg of G& B Services was seeking to create a subdivision on the property near the high school. She said staff recommended the entrance to the proposed subdivision be located on the road leading up to Farragut High School from N. Campbell Station Road.

Hawk said the town proposed to set the gate farther back and, when the subdivision is created, take over maintenance of what would then be a town road.

“We thought this would be a good arrangement,” she said. “School administration, however, did not.”

Paul Barret of the Farragut View Homeowners Association expressed concern over the traffic increase if the subdivision has to set its entrance on Sonja Drive.

“I’m sure I could get some of the homeowners to meet with school administration and try to possibly change his mind,” he said.

Hill suggested Barret and other concerned residents take the matter to the Knox County School Board, since the board has the final say on matters dealing with school property.


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