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FMPC toils over new zone

Members of the Farragut Municipal Planning Commis-sion continued to plod through the development of a Town Center District zone during a special meeting recently.

Builder Michael Bates has proposed to town officials he create a town center district, essentially a downtown area for Farragut, on property west of Town Hall owned by Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III and his family. The area would be a mixture of residential and commercial development. The town center district, at this stage in the process, is a paper document that defines what a developer could and couldn’t do in an area zoned TCD.

At this stage in the creation of the TCD zone, allowed uses include retail sales, restaurants such as bistros or cafes with outdoor seating, business and personal services, medical and dental facilities, indoor theater, cultural activities such as museums or art galleries, office, residential and bed and breakfast inns.

Prohibited use suggestions included gas stations and other automotive services, drive-thru facilities, stand-alone churches and schools, outdoor sales and storage, hotels, mortuaries, or automotive dealerships.

“We went with eighty percent of lot coverage,” Community Development Director Ruth Hawk told commissioners. “There would be property lines throughout the development.”

Hawk proposed a zero-minimum front yard setback with a maximum of 10 feet.

“This would give it more of a street-front look,” Hawk said.

Hawk said this could be used in situations where a restaurant wanted to have outdoor sidewalk seating. The 10-foot setback would allow the front to be pulled back enough to allow for outdoor seating.

Balconies located on building fronts, she said, could extend into the five-foot store front area commissioners wanted for downtown buildings.

“Can canopies be the full width of the building?” Commission chairman Robert “Bob” Hill asked Hawk.

“You’d have to clarify that,” Hawk said.

“I’d really like to see them run the length of the building,” Commissioner Ron Honken said.

“We don’t want canopies to extend too far,” Hawk said. “We want room for the street trees.”

“If you have too much of an awning, it would obstruct the store-front view,” Commissioner Rita Holladay said.

Bates told Commission members he sees the setback and canopies as sort of a “restaurant situation.”

“I’m not sure I’d want both the awning and the recession,” Commissioner Carol Evans said. “It kind of gives it a hodge-podge look.”

Hill suggested the possibility of increasing the setback to 20 feet and Alderman Mary Dorothy “Dot” LaMarche said she would be comfortable with that distance.

“If the setback were more than 10 feet, the area would lose the downtown feel,” Hawk said.

“A large part of the quaintness of old towns was the randomness of their downtown area,” Hill said.

“We’re wanting to create an old-time feel to the area,” Bates said. “We want to do something unique.”

Commissioners agreed to allow canopies and awnings to extend into the five-foot store front area.

Commissioners then began discussing parking lot setbacks, proposed to be 20 feet from front, side and rear property lines and the parking lots are to be 20-feet from the buildings.

“Are we going to make any changes in rear parking lots?” Hill asked Hawk. “Would there be just one common parking lot?”

Hawk said “yes,” and Honken suggested the possibility of shortening the 20-foot distance from buildings.

“Parking and service is going to have to coexist,” Hill said. “I think all of the stores there would want a rear entrance with a sign.”

“There would have to be some sort of accommodation for emergency vehicles,” Hawk said.

Commissioners are expected to continue the matter at a later date.


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