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Builder asks town to de-annex his land

Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen members unanimously showed no enthusiasm for a request by a developer for the town to relinquish almost four acres of Farragut boundary line during their regular meeting March 22.

“This is a unique thing for the town,” Tom Hale, town attorney, said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a request to de-annex before.”

Attorney Chris Martin, representing Towering Oaks partnership member Walter Lane, said Lane’s business owns 44 acres of property just north of I-40 that fronts Hatmaker Lane, near Ridgeland subdivision. Twenty-six acres of that is in Knox County while 17 acres is in Farragut. Lane already received approval from Knox County Municipal Planning Commission to build a subdivision in the county portion of the


“When you go out there and walk the property, there’s a sharp drop that leaves three acres in no-man’s land,” Martin said. “We’re asking the town to constrict its boundaries. The property is unusable from the Farragut side. It’s usable from the Knoxville side.”

Lane said he wants to use the 3.77 acres in Farragut boundaries as a place to pull fill material and level out the slope grade on other parts of the property.

“In our proposal, we can’t detect anything that harms the town of Farragut,” Lane said.

As part of the proposed development, Lane said he would widen and redesign Fretz Road where it meets Campbell Station Road so it was more T-shaped.

Alderman Tom Rosseel suggested another solution would be for the town to annex the 26 acres of Lane’s subdivision that were in Knox County.

“That would be too cost prohibitive,” Lane said. “We’d lose about thirty units in density in order to keep up with Farragut ordinances.”

Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III called on Community Development Director Ruth Hawk to put the request in perspective.

Hawk said she had received phone calls and e-mails from concerned Ridgeland residents more than a year ago when Lane’s subdivision first went before Knox County MPC. She said the lot sizes in the subdivision appear to be 5,600 square feet and the smallest lot size allowed under Farragut ordinance is 8,500 square feet.

“By de-annexing the property, they’ll be able to get thirteen extra units in the development,” she said.

This would create a high-density development next to the lower density of Ridgeland subdivision.

“The property in question is steep,” she said. “It’s not suitable for denser development.”

Lane told FBMA members he was unaware of boundary issues on the property until recently.

“You were responsible for doing due diligence in determining what jurisdiction you would be in,” Rosseel said.

“Ridgeland was annexed by referendum,” Hale said. “The fact someone wouldn’t know what the boundary was is shocking.”

Ridgeland residents took the opportunity to speak against the proposal.

“Our association is strongly opposed to this proposal,” said Mike Sail, president of Ridgeland Homeowners Association. “We would be giving up a natural buffer strip.”

“I don’t see any encouragement by the Board to pursue the de-annexation,” Ford said. “I sense there would not be a positive vote to de-annex this three point seven seven acres.”


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