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Once a month is enough

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission approved Thursday, April 5, an ordinance to change its schedule to one meeting a month instead of its customary meeting every other week.

The change to monthly meetings is expected to begin May 24. The deadline for developers to have items considered for the May meeting would be 5 p.m., Friday, April 16.

This is something town staff has been working on for several weeks.

“We as a town staff have taken a look at the schedule and we wanted to look at changing the schedule,” Gary Palmer, assistant town administrator, said in a public meeting Wednesday, March 14.

Palmer said FMPC currently meets the first and third Thursday of each month in which a regular meeting and a workshop session are conducted. The agenda items have a deadline of 17 days prior to a scheduled FMPC meeting.

“That leaves little time for review before the meeting,” he said. “I think the planning commission gets items that really aren’t ready for planning commission review. My thing is I want to make sure every ordinance is met.”

Historically, town staff and FMPC have had difficulties with developers meeting “subject to” criteria, outstanding items in a development that are required to be completed before FMPC and town staff give their final blessing to a project.

Palmer said the staff is proposing town officials consider moving the FMPC meeting to the third Thursday of each month with an item deadline of 31 days prior to the meeting.

Prior to the monthly meeting, Palmer is proposing town staff, with him acting as chair, conduct a day-long workshop with developers to hammer out the final details of a plan before presenting it to the planning


“How would you break up the time for developers so someone wasn’t sitting there all day waiting on their item?” Edward St. Clair, FMPC commissioner, said.

Palmer said he had the idea to allocate blocks of time to developers and possibly come up with some type of agenda to give developers some idea of when their items would be


“Would this workshop be the first time a developer would see any outstanding items?” Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III said.

Palmer said developers would have some notification of what would be discussed.

When asked who would control the meetings by Ford, Palmer said he would.

“You can control the meeting so people would feel like they have been heard?” Ford said.

“I don’t want anyone leaving a meeting feeling like they haven’t been heard,” Palmer said.

The discussion then turned toward making sure the public still had an opportunity to provide input into a project.

Carol Evans, FMPC commissioner, said she didn’t think it would be appropriate for the public to have input into a matter during the proposed day-long workshop with developers.

“That should be between the staff and the developer,” she said.

“The items discussed shouldn’t be a public matter at that point,” Ford said.

Palmer said the public would still have an opportunity to have input on a matter when an item went before the FMPC for approval, and said he wouldn’t keep the public out of the workshop session.

“I don’t want to close the door to the public,” he said.


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