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Assisted-living complex proposed

A senior community condominium-assisted living dual complex that would front Grigsby Chapel Road between Fretz Road and Chapel Point Lane received zoning approval from Farragut Municipal Planning Commission by a narrow vote.

By a vote of 5-3 — and despite two nearby residents voicing opposition — FMPC voted to allow about five acres to switch from R-4 Attached Single-Family Residential District to R-6 Multi-Family residential district zoning.

Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III joined Commissioners Carol Evans and Connie Rutenber voting no. Commissioner Ron Honken was absent. The issue passes to Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen for final approval.

Gary Keckley, a developer with GoodWorks Unlimited, LLC, Franklin, looking to build the complex, said it was “very apropos for the property,” adding, “It’s really one single community.”

Keckley’s plan stipulates the assisted living facility be located in the five-acres fronting Grigsby Chapel, requiring the change to R-6.

Asked why the assisted living must front Grigsby instead of the condos, Keckley cited land sloping advantages in proportion to the size of the facilities — with the assisted living facility requiring a larger slope because of its larger footprint.

Also, with assisted living in front and senior condo units in rear, Keckley said parking could be hidden in back “and we can maintain a more appealing frontage.”

Evans disagreed, expressing a desire to keep “more of a residential look” facing Grigsby Chapel with senior condos.

Keckley relented, saying the positioning of the two units “was not a major criteria for us in either direction.”

Among her concerns about the proposed project, Rutenber mentioned increased traffic congestion on Grigsby Chapel.

Covering about 18 total acres and owned by Diversified Holdings, LLC, of Knoxville — with partners Gary Asher, Larry Asher, Salvador Gaudiano — the property includes roughly 13 acres zoned R-4 adjacent to the five acres located west of Grigsby Chapel. Zoning sufficient for senior condominiums.

Mul Wyman, Wyndham Hall Lane, was one of two residents near the proposed complex to speak against rezoning.

Wyman said Grigsby Chapel, from Fretz Road to Campbell Station Road, “serves two primary functions. It serves to move the thru traffic, but it also serves [as a collector], collecting all that traffic from the four subdivisions out there.”

Wyman pointed out that R-6 allows for 10 units per ace, therefore, “There’s a possibility that you could get 50 units there on that five acres,” he said. “You could get 150 if you had 15 acres.

“Once it’s there [five acres zoned R-6] it’s very easy to extend it on the remainder of the acreage that goes back to the Interstate.”

Moreover, “R-6 is really not compatible with the adjacent and nearby R-3 and R-4 development,” he added.

As with R-4 zoning, R-6 also limits building height to two-and-one-half stories maximum, or 35 feet.

Jeanne Draughn, Chapel Point Lane, also spoke against rezoning. (Draughn is a part-time employee of farragutpress with non-editorial duties).

Draughn shared some of Wyman’s concerns, and added, “the elevation of the property that is [under] discussion is much higher than the property in Chapel Point.”

Draughn later expressed other concerns she and fellow Chapel Point residents have with the proposed project. “We have issues concerning drainage problems, buffer problems, the decimation of trees that would increase the traffic noise from Interstate 40,” she said. “We already have a problem with that.”

But Robert Hill, FMPC chairman, said the property in question, with its Grigsby Chapel frontage just east of Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, “appears to be more institutional than it does residential.

“Personally, I can’t see that it’s all that bad a use.”

Keckley said “traffic calming” measures taken at Grigsby Chapel and “sensitivity of design” are key variables to making the proposed project a success.


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