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New Belleaire an FBC priority?

While Farragut Municipal Planning Commission unanimously approved First Baptist Concord’s Phase One site plan of its Master Concept Plan (9-0) at FMPC's May 15 meeting, prioritizing construction of new Belleaire Drive was a central concern.

David Robinette, engineer representing FBC, said construction dirt excavated from its building construction site is to be hauled over as fill dirt for new Belleaire.

Robert “Bob” Hill, FMPC chair and a Belleaire subdivision resident, said construction of new Belleaire should be the priority.

Hill said he and other residents recently experienced high construction traffic on old Belleaire Drive further complicating residential traffic. ”I'm wondering why you're not putting a priority on building a new Belleaire Drive and getting the old Belleaire to your own purposes?” Hill asked Robinette.

“That is our number one priority, to switch it over as quickly as we can,” Robinette said.

Hill then asked Robinette when new Belleaire construction would begin. “We plan on starting as soon as we can pull the permit and get all the license issues done,” Robinette said. “There's going to be some mass earthwork at this site, it's going to balance, we're going to have to dig some dirt and take over to [new Belleaire site]. ... to take the basement dirt across the road.

”We've estimated [dirt transfer] about three months, probably August, to have it completely tied in and over,” Robinette added. “We would like to get it tied over before schools [are back] in.”

Among residents speaking was Bob Jones, Crestview Drive, who said he was informed during community meetings of a “16 to 21 month” period to have old Belleaire closed and the church’s new main entrance directly across from Russgate Boulevard completed. “I wanted to make sure we were still thinking along those lines,” Jones said. “That ‘sometime’ wasn’t three or four years from now.”

Ruth Hawk, Town community development, said new Belleaire Drive would have to be completed before approval of the final phase of Master Concept Plan building construction.

Hill complained of “no schedule” for the Master Concept Plan.

“I think the town needs that schedule so that it can plan on doing some things it needs to do,” the chair said, adding that plans also should be included for “the new road over to Russgate [FBC's new main entrance from Kingston Pike] and the intersection is made workable.”

Robinette said such construction plans were still out for bids, but contractors would be held to a schedule. “We don't have a problem providing it once we choose the contractor that we're going to use and get a schedule set in stone,” he said.

Preliminary plats already have been approved for construction of new Belleaire Drive —without an access point for FBC traffic — plus an adjacent detention basin.

Hill also expressed concern that currently planned fencing along both sides of new Belleaire Drive may not prevent church-related parking along the new road.

“It's a concern of mine, and it's not alleviated,” he said. “It's a problem for us, and we've lived with it for a number of years.”

Included in FBC Phase One are construction of two new FBC buildings, a maintenance building, parking lots, one rectangular sports field, two “diamond” baseball/softball fields and playgrounds.

Jones also said FBC could bring in fill dirt outside of its own construction site “and wouldn't have to wait,” adding that with current FBC construction, “semi-trailers and box trucks and tractor-trailers [are] parking and actually unloading on Belleaire Drive, which restricts about a little over half the road.”

Jones also expressed concern how the transfer of dirt from building construction site to new Belleaire Road site would further complicate Belleaire resident traffic.

Robinette said it would be much safer “to cross a road with 6[00] or 700 cars a day versus a state highway with 40,000 cars a day.” Jones said he thought it was a “cost issues, not a safety issue” driving FBC's fill dirt plans with new Belleaire.

00No recreation fields will be lighted. Both town officials and FBC representatives came to general agreement that spillover parking lighting should essentially be eliminated upon new Belleaire Drive and neighborhoods to the east. But church attorney John King said 400-watt bulbs would be needed for security reasons or more poles set up if 250-watt bulbs were used. Robinette said most lighting would be turned off late-night, though a “security circuit ... that burns one head [light] per pole” would stay on overnight.

Robert Fletcher, Derby Chase resident, said that until about one year ago church officials never contacted Derby Chase homeowners officials about construction-related issues, and decisions were made concerning that subdivision without proper resident representation.

”What a surprise to find out your property's been given to the church,” Fletcher said. King agreed with Hill that FBC could improve its communication with subdivision residents affected by the expansion.

Fletcher also expressed concern that excessive rain may test the detention pond's ability to handle the water and cause flooding to Derby Chase and Shiloh. Site plan was accepted based on compliance with 22 town staff recommended items.


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