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FBMA greet Dogwood Arts


Public hearings will soon be established for a proposal to acquire property for donation earmarked for a school along McFee Road.

After an executive session barred to media and the public during its meeting Feb. 28, the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to allow Town Attorney Tom Hale to meet with County Law Director John Owings about the parameters for the proposed acquisition. After Hale is satisfied with the process, he will contact Gary Palmer, associate town administrator, who will set dates for the public hearing.

“At our last meeting, there was considerable discussion about whether many different parties felt they had been given adequate public notification about this whole proposal, and so it was me who moved to have the issue postponed so that there would be opportunity to satisfy that demand. So at this point it seemed appropriate, then, to conduct a public hearing on the matter,” Alderman John Williams said.

At the Feb. 14 meeting, a proposal was postponed indefinitely until Hale was able to meet with appropriate County and School Board members, “and that hasn’t occurred yet,” Vice Mayor J. Michael Haynes said.

“I think everyone sort of agrees that we need to know what the parameters are before we hold any kind of public hearings so that if there are some, we can tell people what they are when they want to comment about them,” he added.

Haynes also wanted to make sure that ideas set forth in the proposal by Alderman Thomas Rosseel were legally possible or feasible for the County.

“It’s not fair to people to get them all hyped up about stuff we couldn’t do. And when we do hold a public hearing, they at least need to know what’s legally possible or not,” Haynes said.

“So, when all of that is established, there will really be two issues. One, do you think this is an appropriate use of Town funds? And then a secondary issue would be, if the Town decides to do that, what do you think are appropriate restrictions or concessions to get from the County?” he added.

Pamela Treacy attended the Feb. 14 meeting and expressed concern about the speed of the proposal.

“That first meeting was like too much information too fast; I’m glad now that the process has slowed down, and it sounds like they’re asking all the right questions,” she said.

“Philosophically, I don’t have a problem with the town of Farragut buying land. I do see it as a very expensive purchase, so we need to take it seriously,” she added, figuring the $1.3 million purchase price is roughly 21 percent of the Town’s annual

revenue.

“I’d like to know what the whole community thinks. There were some interesting comments in the farragut[press] presstalk; one person wanted to see a community center built. But we do have a situation with overcrowding and we need to be creative to try to solve it,” she said.

Rosseel was pleased with community feedback so far.

“The feedback has been very positive … and I think there’s real strong support in the community to do something that will help solve the overcrowding,” he said.

The Board suggested the date of the hearing be scheduled around spring breaks and Ralph Dimmick’s travel schedule. Dimmick lives at 901 McFee Road, property that abuts the land proposed for acquisition.

The Board requested the date be set around the first week of April.

Treacy addressed the Board during the citizen’s forum. She told the Board about an education bill currently in the state legislature.

“It adds this sentence to the zoning policy: ‘In determining the particular public school to which pupils should be assigned, the Board of Education shall allow any pupil so desiring to attend the school closest to the geographical location of the place of the residence of the pupil,’” Treacy said.

“I thought that with some of the issues we’re trying to deal with in the Town that this is very relevant to us,” she added.

Treacy urged members of the Board to contact State Sens. Jamie Woodson and Tim Burchett to express support of the bill.

Haynes asked if Knox County had a position on this bill; Treacy did not know.

Rosseel said, “I would certainly note that the way that that [bill] would work most efficiently is when you have neighborhood schools.” Rosseel also noted that this bill could lead to capacity problems in schools.

During the Engineer’s Report, Town Engineer Darryl Smith reported that he had approval from TDOT to install raised markers and channelization striping. “Right now, our contractor is looking for the markers,” Smith said.

“These are raised markers: they’re about eight inch discs, they’re three or four inches high, preferably reflectorized. They’re just kind of short domes. You can drive across it, but you really don’t want to. I think that if anybody makes a left turn after we’re through with it, it won’t be because they just didn’t know,” he added.

In other business, the Board:

• Gave $1,000 to Farragut High School’s Graduation Celebration

• Gave $10,000 to support the Dogwood Arts Festival, which will include a student art exhibit in the Town Hall rotunda and will be held April 2-18

• Approved rights-of-way signs for the Dogwood Arts Farragut Trail, which will run through the Fox Den, Country Manor and Village Green neighborhoods

• Approved a special events permit for the Breakthrough Ribbon Run for Autism, which will take place April 19

• Approved, on second and final reading, Ordinance 08-01, to amend the text of the Farragut Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 3, Section XII. General Commercial District (C-1), to allow outdoor storage for general farm implements and lawn care equipment. (Farragut Lawn and Tractor/Wayne Davis, applicant)

• Voted to appoint John Hoffman to the Farragut Folklife Museum Committee in Doris Woods Owens’s place

• Voted to deny the request to extend the lease between the Town and Crown Castle South, LLC for the cell tower sites on both Virtue and Fretz Roads.

 

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