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Farragut ‘town square’ proposed

Plans are in motion for Farragut to create an official downtown area.

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission members started working on an ordinance during their meeting Thursday, May 17, that would allow the creation of a mixed-use district on property next to Town Hall.

Developer Michael Bates has indicated he is in negotiations to purchase property at 11500 Kingston Pike and 11524 Kingston Pike and develop it into an official downtown area for Farragut.

Farragut Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III and his family own the property in question. As a member of the FMPC, Ford told the Commission he had a vested interest in the outcome of the discussion and recused himself from any involvement in the matter.

Bates said he is proposing a downtown area that would consist of 11 buildings with sculptured landscaping and perhaps a small pond. The challenge before the Commission Thursday night was to begin defining the terms and regulations of how a downtown area should look.

Community Development Director Ruth Hawk asked commissioners to think critically of what they would prefer to see in the proposed town center


“When you think about a downtown area, think about what you would like to see and what you don’t want to see,” she said. “The purpose of a downtown area forces people to get out of their cars and it makes them walk.”

“Have we learned enough from the Kroger development to play into this?” Commission Chairman Robert “Bob” Hill said.

“There are a lot of similarities,” Hawk said. “We want this to look like a downtown area. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from the community on this.”

“I’d love to see feedback from communities who have already done this,” Commissioner Ron Honken said. “I didn’t see anything in this proposed ordinance that I didn’t like. Much like all planning, you only get one shot to get it right.”

“This is a very ambitious project for us,” Bates said. “We’ve been looking at it for a while and we decided it was something we wanted to do.”

Hawk put forth to commissioners a preliminary ordinance that outlined what a downtown area was supposed to due — to develop a sense of place and create a pedestrian-oriented mixed use district. The proposed ordinance offers several allowed used for the proposed TCD. These uses include retail sales; restaurants, such as cafes and bistros; business services; personal and professional services; indoor theater; cultural activities such as museums and art galleries, and office and residential.

Hawk proposed prohibiting gas stations and other automotive services; drive-thru facilities; medical, dental or veterinary facilities; schools; churches; outdoor sales; mortuaries and indoor recreational


Commissioners considered it questionable whether a hotel might be placed in that area. Bates suggested a bed-and-breakfast facility might be a possibility, but Commissioner Carol Evans said she wasn’t in favor of that idea.

“I don’t see it in a downtown area,” she said.

“Do you envision a clubhouse with a swimming pool and that kind of thing?” Commissioner Bob Edlund asked Bates.

“Not in this,” Bates said. “There’s no place for it in this concept plan.”

Commissioners discussed the height of the proposed 11 buildings. They are considering allowing two, three, and four-story buildings.

“I think we should prohibit one-story buildings,” Hawk said.

Commissioners toyed with the idea of perhaps limiting a certain number of buildings to be two, three and four story, but Bates said he was opposed to that idea.

“Seems to me we need to put some thought in it,” Hill said. “Randomness is what made old downtowns charming.”

Commissioners will hold a public meeting on the matter 9 a.m., Wednesday, June 13, at Town Hall.

The public is invited to attend.


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