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Everett Road improvements debated during FBMA meeting


Plans to improve Everett Road have met with disputes among Everett Road residents and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

During the Jan. 10 Board meeting at Town Hall, plans to widen Everett Road between Smith and Union roads were passed upon first reading with a 3-2 vote. The plan presented and passed at the meeting expanded the current 16-foot wide road to include two 12-foot lanes, 2 feet of curb and gutter, 3 feet of greenway and an 8-foot walkway on the west side of Everett Road.

The plans as originally presented to the Board and subject to a public hearing Nov. 1, 2007, called for 8-foot walkways on both sides of Everett. After strong dissension from residents who felt the 54-foot wide proposed road would impact their property negatively, Farragut Municipal Planning Commission recommended the compromise that was passed.

At the Jan. 10 Board meeting, Alderman Thomas Rosseel moved to establish a proposal to have at least a 5-foot sidewalk on the east side. “It makes little sense to me to eliminate [pedestrian access] on one side. It makes a whole lot more sense to have access on both sides rather than forcing some to cross the street to reach a walking trail,” he said.

“When Everett Road is improved, the speed limit is going to be 35, and people don’t drive 35 in a 35 mile per hour street; they drive 40 or 45. I don’t see the point of making people cross the street,” Rosseel said Jan. 11.

Vice Mayor J. Michael “Mike” Haynes voted with Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III and Alderman Dorothy “Dot” LaMarche to pass the proposal for an 8-foot walkway on the east side. “I think the M-P-C proposal is fair. We are committed to putting in the pedestrian walkways and connecting the Town wherever we can but there are several places where it’s only on one side of the roadway,” Haynes said.

South of Union Road and north of Smith Road, there will be walkways on both sides of Everett Road. “I think it’s regrettable that space is a little tight between the two neighborhoods, but thinking about the demands and needs of this community twenty years from now rather than today, I think it would be a mistake not to have pedestrian and cycling access on both sides of the road throughout,” said Alderman John Williams.

Marvin Bartlett, an Everett Road resident, is opposed to the walkway. “What I’m understanding is that you’re going to have it on one side of the road from Smith to Union and both sides of the road from Everett Hills subdivision back to Smith Road. The one on my side of the road goes nowhere but my yard from what I can see,” he said, addressing the Board.

“I don’t want it in my yard. If it’s on the other side, I guess that’s fine,” he added.

“It’s not like we’re doing this first and putting the development in afterwards. Here, people already have their houses and that’s kind of a big thing to me. When you’re kind of retro-ing something I think you should give a lot of consideration to the homeowners where you can,” Haynes said Jan. 11.

Concerns voiced in earlier reports and in the Nov. 1 public forum concerned the destruction of buffer trees that had been planted along Everett Road and in the Town’s right-of-way.

Darryl Smith, town engineer, and Alderman Rosseel pointed out that many of the residents in Fox Den and on the west side of Everett Road gain nothing from the plan as it was passed. They would still lose the buffer trees that are in the right of way.

Other west side residents were concerned about infringement on their property and with the road and walkways taking up too much space in their yards. However, the plan as it was passed does not include shifting the road to even out the encroachments on both sides of Everett. “Some of the complaints had to do with people who live on the west side and they accrue no benefits by not having a walking trail on the east side,” Rosseel said.

Why the west side was chosen as the side to hold the walkway is unclear. “I had heard from a number of the residents and read all their comments at the public meeting and they were pretty much strongly in favor of not opposing one side or the other but requesting not to do both,” Haynes said.

“It doesn’t seem to make sense to me to be short-sighted in what we are trying to do and not put at least a sidewalk on the east side of Everett Road…. I think the citizens will demand it [later] because it’s going to be such an important walking trail,” Rosseel said on Jan. 11.

At the Jan. 24 Board meeting, Alderwoman LaMarche moved to postpone the second reading of the proposal to the Feb.14 meeting.

 

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