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Building coverage, free-standing parking FMPC topics

Flexibility with Farragut land usage in residential and commercial settings were separate topics of discussion during the monthly Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meeting, Thursday, Aug. 16, in Town Hall.

Residentially, Farragut homeowner Robert Skinner sought to amend a town zoning ordinance, increasing maximum building coverage on a lot from 25 to 30 percent and total lot coverage [of anything not green or growing] from 35 to 40 percent.

“I felt it reasonable to request the amendment to the ordinance so that those people who bought R-1 lots would have the same right to fully utilize their lot, the same proportion as other resident districts,” Skinner said. “First of all, it gives you the same proportion as other people so you can utilize that lots. I think there are a number of trends that are going on in this country … there’s a decades-long trend to larger houses.”

Skinner also suggested more freedom be given to landscape in keeping with current home trends.

“What I’m trying to do is create a more attractive environment for the outside of my home,” Skinner added.

Referring to fears people would build “huge” houses on “small” lots, Skinner added, “from my own experience, setbacks mitigate that a great deal.”

Inside such homes allegedly needing the increased percentage, “People are trying to build larger homes with wider hallways and wider stairways,” Skinner said.

Upon moving to Farragut five years ago, Skinner said “we had a very difficult time finding a lot with the dimensions to accommodate the house we wanted to build. … It took us six months to find a lot.”

Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III agreed with Skinner, pointing out that R-2 zoned minimum lot size is 15,000 square feet, and R-1 is 20,000 square feet, “and one buying into a development or subdivision would expect that the permitted footprint of a home would increase proportionately to minimum square feet.

“This day and age there are so many one-story homes that really, truly would need the 30 percent so they would correspond to the R-2, and the 30 percent that would correspond to R-1,” Ford added.

“I think it’s certainly a valid request one would expect. … It just seems logical if you are investing in an R-1 subdivision you would expect to see a proportionate increase in the capability to build what is now a standard-type home for someone who finds himself a one-level home.”

Robert “Bob” Hill, Commission chairman, disagreed. “I’ve always viewed the R-1 lot as being owned by a person who would like to have more green space and yard around his house,” Hill said. “… I don’t see any reason for me to vote to increase this because I think it’s O-K like it is.”

Commissioner Carol Evans added, “I think it is perfectly appropriate to vary our percentage of building coverage and lot coverage to suit the situation.”

Skinner added, “One of the things that had been [proposed] with lots larger than 15,000 square feet was to exempt the pool,” Skinner said.

The Commission ultimately agreed, short of a formal motion and vote, to leave the percentages alone but redefine the definition of “lot coverage” to exclude such features as swimming pools from the current 30 percent coverage requirement.

On a separate agenda item dealing with commercial property, David McFarland of Wild Wings Café, Campbell Lakes Drive, sought relief from overflow parking problems thanks to his “wild success” with the restaurant, as quoted by Ruth Hawk, town community development director.

“He does not have enough land to build more parking … and he doesn’t have an option to buy land immediately contiguous to his property,” Hawk said. “His request is only to amend the C-2 district to allow parking lots as a free-standing allowed use. That would allow him to negotiate with two property owners within very close proximity to accommodate his parking.”

The proposed amendment was approval unanimously — commisioners Ron Honken and Connie Rutenber absent.

“We may run into this with some other business in the Parkside area,” Hawk said.

Hill said that while witnessing McFarland’s “problem” first-hand earlier that day, “I can visualize my friends at the Baptist Church saying ‘they ought to do that on R-1.’ … I’m wary of establishing a


“I personally don’t mind allowing this, but I’d sure like to put a sunset [provision] on it so you can see how it’s working after a period of time,” the chairman added.

Hill suggested three years, and Hawk said she would “put this on my calendar to review in three years.”

Concerning Hill’s R-1 example with the church, Hawk said town staff “would recommend against that one” if ever brought before the Commission.


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