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presstalk 671-TALK

• Sometimes in the heat of the moment, we say things we really don’t mean. I do regret and apologize for comments toward a church’s expansion and their leadership. Forgiveness is sincerely asked for. My hope is that the long-standing differences between First Baptist Concord and the residents end. We all want what’s best for the Town and a growing church, but there are different viewpoints on how to get there. My comments were wrong, and I do apologize to the leadership and to the church.

• I am a resident of the Belleaire subdivision and I have been active in our cause to try to save our neighborhood as well as protect our families, our homes and our community, in addition to the Shiloh, Derby Chase, Farragut Crossing and Glen Abbey communities. When a friend of mine told me that I would be interested in listening to the sermon from the Sept. 30 First Baptist Church, Concord, which you can get online, [recently] I tuned in. He made some good points about a few things — but then he started asking for money. Lots and lots of money for this master expansion plan, the way I understood it. He kept asking everybody what they were willing to give up, what they were willing to sacrifice. Not once did he mention what he was willing to sacrifice. And then all of a sudden he makes a comment about the Farragut Municipal Planning [Commis-sion] and other entities and basically said that they as a church could do what they wanted, and to ignore the other entities including the Farragut MPC. I was appalled. This man is supposed to represent God, he is supposed to serve God, he is supposed to serve the community. And by his position, he is supposed to uphold God’s law and man’s law. When he starts circumventing man’s law to pursue a personal agenda, which in my opinion this has become with this master expansion plan, then he also violates God’s law.

• The chairman of the Farragut [Municipal] Planning Commission stated that he was a resident of Belleaire subdivision at the start of the discussion of First Baptist Church, Concord addition on Sept. 20. As chairman, you would think he would remain neutral during the discussions. However, it was obvious that he was very biased and negative during the entire proceedings. It seems like he should have excused himself from participating in that discussion as well as future discussions.

• How can the town of Farragut justify two three-way stops one-tenth of a mile apart at Hickory Woods and Andover? They have turned a deaf ear to the pleas of residents of Landsgate, Chapel Point, Windam Hall and Farragut Commons for help with the terrible traffic situation on Grigsby Chapel [Road]. We’ve got no other exit from our neighborhoods. We must wait and wait and risk our lives getting out during the morning and afternoon school traffic especially, and it’s not much better other times of day because of the right turn on red off of Campbell Station. It’s only going to get worse, with heavy equipment entering Grigsby Chapel from the new Chapel Grove construction. And representatives from our neighborhoods went before the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting almost two years ago asking for at least one three-way stop along our area. We’ve had no help, no response from them. Only more traffic.

• I saw on TV last week the mayor and his planning commission and I thought, “What great leadership” I saw exhibited. When they were talking about First Baptist Church their advice was, “They should leave town.” Now isn’t this brilliant? You know, if you apply the same logic to the rest of the problems of our Town, and I’m sure they want to be fair, we’ll have to say to the primary school, “Too much traffic, you’ll have to leave town.” High school, same thing, “You’ve gotta go.” Campbell Station business, “Too much traffic, sorry fellas, you gotta go.” … Now look, we’ve solved all the problems and we’re down to about 75 percent of the people we’ve ordered out of town. And you thought the mayor and his planning commission didn’t exhibit leadership. Brilliant.

• Callers to presstalk have alleged leadership at First Baptist Church, Concord has been squandering money by paying for attorneys and architects and engineers before the town approved a master plan. I’ve not checked into it, but I don’t believe the MPC is going to consider a recommendation written on a napkin. A development of this size requires professional planning so unfortunately it must be expensed. As for the attorney, he is a member of the church who is providing his services pro bono so far as I know. Regarding allegations of overspending for properties the church has acquired, unfortunately we weren’t in position to negotiate and those property owners took advantage of the situation. That’s just a reality you have to deal with when you’re dealing with people. Belleaire residents should be pleased. Inflated prices and a diminishing supply of homes helped their property values.

• I’d like to comment on the lack of action by the mayor’s staff regarding the LCUB power poles being installed along the greenway trails. The greenway trail is being industrialized. It seems like the mayor, if he was interested, would take some action to reach a compromise so that our neighborhoods would not be industrialized in this fashion. While there are existing power poles, they are relatively benign. It’s my understanding that LCUB plans to install twice as many poles that are 65 or 70 feet high. This will undoubtedly detract from all property ownership in the area. Everyone in Farragut should rise up and request that the mayor get actively involved in this issue, and come to a compromise. There is plenty of space for these poles along Grigsby Chapel or along Campbell Station, and that’s where they should go as they feed Turkey Creek.

• I ask the people of Farragut to look objectively at First Baptist Concord’s plans for expansion. Some have suggested that the church should leave. If the church did, who would buy the existing facility? There’s not another church in East Tennessee large enough to buy it, and it’s probably not suitable for anything else. How long before it would fall into disrepair and become yet another eyesore in Farragut? How long before the empty buildings would be covered with graffiti? What unruly element might take up residence in the buildings? Would the surrounding neighborhoods prefer that over a church in the interest of the neighborhoods? We could have far worse of a neighbor than First Baptist Concord. This is a no-brainer.

• How many homeowners in Farragut or any community for that matter would volunteer to live in the backyard of the town’s largest employer? It does not matter whether that employer is a church, a factory or a big box discount store. The inconvenience and the effect on property values is the same.

• I would like to congratulate Mayor [W. Edward “Eddy”] Ford [III] on stacking the audience of the Farragut [Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting] on impact fees with developers who have interest in developing this community. I recommend we pave the entire Farragut area over now with concrete and asphalt, that way developers can make their money and turn Farragut into another downtown Knoxville area. Mayor Ford needs to come forward with his natural relationship with Farragut developers in this area.

• I applaud those two brave aldermen who supported the impact fee, and then likewise disappointed in the mayor and the two other aldermen who obviously caved into the complaints of developers. Two main points: first, most of those who objected the most don’t even live in Farragut, they just make money here and spend it elsewhere. Second, there is one giant commercial district to one side of us by the name of Turkey Creek, with a second giant commercial district planned for the other side of us in Lenoir City. It is obvious that Farragut is going to be caught in the middle. We need to look beyond sales tax dollars. It is irresponsible for the voting majority on this issue to simply stick their heads in the ground and avoid coming up with a rational approach toward generating additional dollars to cover all of these road improvements that will be required thanks to out-of-town developers who take their money and run. Looking for additional sales tax dollars is like wishing for rain.


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