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‘Tuffy’ seeks Commission support
Stonecrest residents oppose, cite safety issues


An auto lube/drive-in service business is looking for a Farragut location that would occupy a long-standing vacant site along Kingston Pike often referred to as an eyesore.

However, though Tuffy Auto Service Centers is considering locating at the abandoned Texaco convenience store site adjacent to U-Haul at the corner of Kingston Pike and Newport Road, traffic safety concerns — and business access points — are at issue.

Facing a possible battle with Stonecrest residents concerning traffic access points while seeking Farragut Municipal Planning Commission support, Tuffy officials did not submit a site plan but were on the FMPC agenda during its monthly meeting, Thursday, Oct. 18.

With access points to and from Kingston Pike from the site’s parking lot debated, FMPC unanimously approved a 216-foot by 326-foot variance a for a right-in turn lane for westbound Kingston Pike traffic.

Commission also approved a 30-foot by 103-foot variance for an acceleration lane westbound from Kingston Pike, in front of the property, to Newport Road.

But because it would conflict with traffic taking the deceleration lane from Kingston Pike west to Newport Road, the right-out option requested by Tuffy through its firm, Cannon & Cannon, Inc. of Knoxville, from the parking lot west onto Kingston Pike, was rejected by FMPC.

Jack Jamison, a developer from Greenville, S.C., also representing Tuffy. said that while Tuffy has “places in the county they can go, they do desire to be a part of this community in this town.”

Saying they would have five competitors “within about a quarter mile of this site,” Jamison added, “all of those competitors have full-service access, or at worst a right-in, right-out in the case of one of ’em. This is a difficult site for a retailer of any kind.”

With no right-out access to Kingston Pike from its parking lot, “It’s difficult to get them to agree to a plan like this,” Jamison said.

Commissioner Ron Honken reminded Jamison that with Newport Road as an access point to and from Kingston Pike, “You’ve got such a great road right next to this site.”

Commission Dot LaMarche said she was hoping to work out something with Tuffy because “I’m so tired of looking at that vacant building.”

Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III asked Jamison “to remind the owners that with my little arithmetic there are over 100,000 cars within a 10-mile radius … of this Town Hall. Do your demographics and look at the median household income of this area, according to the 2000 census. The potential for a business of that nature to succeed is excellent if you have a good product and good service.”

Kim Ramsey, senior project advisor with Cannon & Cannon who represents Tuffy, said about the site, “I think it’s been abandoned 11 years, at least, that it’s been boarded up, and from what I understand this is only the second promising [business] that’s made it this far to ask for approval.

“My client wants to make sure that the access is what they feel that they can work with before we proceed with the site plan,” she added. “They are very willing and open to do whatever architecture the neighborhood would be happy with. ... They’re willing to work on landscaping. They want to be a good neighbor. They’re asking for access concessions to make their property work.”

Tom Rosseel, town Alderman and former Stonecrest resident who said was asked to speak on behalf of Stonecrest, said those residents “overwhelmingly oppose” the right-out lane and gave proof.

“In two days time there were approximately 70 people that signed a petition, and that petition reads as follows: “We the underside residents of Stonecrest subdivision respectfully request that the town of Farragut’s Municipal Planning Commission deny the applicant’s appeal for a variance. … Such a variance would create, in our opinion, a more dangerous intersection for those attempting to enter and exit Kingston Pike at Newport.”

As an alternative to the right-out lane, Rosseel said, “All [customers] have to do is exit [from] the parking lot onto Newport Road and make a right turn onto Kingston Pike … essentially they drive an extra hundred feet.”

One current Stonecrest resident, identifying herself as a retired University of Tennessee civil engineer, told FMPC said she confronts a difficult traffic situation at that location three times each weekday “with a child in the car.

“We’re pretty unhappy about having those potential [Tuffy] cars come about us at that time, whether its 30 or 40 a day plus their employees,” the resident added. “It’s pretty much an accident waiting to happen.”

Tuffy services about 38 cars per day at “approximately” 500 locations nationwide, Jamison said.

In other business, the town:

• unanimously approved a site plan for a new pool house at Village Green swimming pool, 11525 S. Monticello Drive, Parcel 23, Tax Map 142FF, zoned R-2, approximately 4 acres (Stuart Anderson/George Amour Ewart Architects, applicants)

• unanimously approved a request to rezone Lot 203, Sheffield – Unit 1, located adjacent to Little Turkey Creek and on Thornbush Lane, 5.39 acres, from A Agricultural District to R-1 Rural Single-Family District (Dave Galbraith, applicant)

• unanimously approved a request to rezone Parcel 2, Tax Map 152BA, located on the southwest corner of McFee and All Kirby roads, 12640 Allen Kirby Road, 2.43 acres, from R-2 General Single-Family Residential District to R-1 Rural Single-Family Residential District (Susan Johnson, applicant)

• unanimously approved a request on a preliminary plat for improvements to Fretz Road/N. Campbell Station Road, to widen Fretz Road and to improve the intersection, subject to constructing a walking trail to the cul-de-sac from Fretz Road if able to work out with neighbors and property owners and six other items. In a related agenda item, commission approved, by a 7-1-1 vote, a variance request from the requirement to construct a sidewalk on N. Campbell Station Road. (Chairman Robert “Bob” Hill voted no and Commissioner Connie Rutenber abstained. Towering Oaks Partnership/Walt Lane, applicant)

 

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