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Kroger seeks street address

The Oct. 16 projected opening of Kroger’s new 34-acre phase one complex in Farragut may be delayed because the national grocery chain giant can’t obtain a permanent address.

While the solution may sound simple, Farragut Municipal Planning Commission acknowledged a complicated process blocking the address request that began with an oversight by Farragut town staff.

The solution — as told during FMPC’s monthly meeting Thursday, June 19, in Town Hall — rests with whether or not a family agrees to sign-off on a walking trail going through their horse farm that is part of 91 acres planned for development in a series of phases.

To get the address, the project plat must be recorded. But for that to happen, horse farm owners Jim and Mary Biddle, or someone representing them, must sign a “line of credit” that would grant permission and funding for the walking trail on their lot — and the Biddles also signing a final plat.

The Town postponed action on the matter but did hear from the parties involved.

“Right now we’re in some critical times,” said Tim McNamara, senior real estate manager for The Kroger Co., Atlanta, Ga. Kroger is “ground leasing” the property in question from the Biddles.

Concerning taking deliveries and setting up utilities accounts, McNamara said, “It’s very difficult, and many times impossible, to place those orders if you don’t have an address of record.

“We have to place a lot of orders before the end of June. … We have some very tight timelines that we need to hit in order to meet that opening date … we’ve been working on this project for four years.”

McNamara warned, “We may have to shift our opening date.”

However, Ruth Hawk, town development director, said Kroger has used the former Kmart address and has “done quite fine.”

Hawk said the Biddle horse farm falls under subdivision regulations and the 34 acres including the Kroger complex could not be plated separately, “in bits and pieces,” from the other 57 acres due to “state law.”

That’s the case although lot 9 in question is part of a future phase 2 and wouldn’t otherwise affect Kroger’s store opening.

Representatives of Cannon&-Cannon, Inc., Knoxville engineering/architectural firm, and Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial construction, said they thought all matters had been previously dealt with on a “PCD” preliminary plat after complying with FMPC/town staff “subject-to” recommendations.

However, Hawk noted a “subject-to” oversight by staff involving misidentification of the lot line.

Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III asked if the Town must “construct trails before we put boxes on them?”

Darryl Smith, Town engineer, said, “We require that walking trails be in place before we even sign off on a final plat.”

Hawk said “a compromise” would be the letter of credit assuring payment for, and future construction of, the walkway allowing the plat’s recording.

Also required is determining the exact location of the walking trail, which Hawk said FMPC has already determined. “It’s going just outside the aquatic buffer,” she said.

But attorney Robert “Bob” Leonard, representing the firms, reminded FMPC the Biddle property still is a horse farm. “We can’t very well create, tonight or next month, aquatic buffers and walking trials because horses can’t read,” needing to delay such buffers and trails “until it’s actually developed,” he said.

Hawk said buffer and walking trail construction “is eminent,” adding, “there won’t be horses there for very long.”

McNamara said the Farragut project is “probably one of the most exciting projects I’ve been involved in,” adding the store will be “one of a kind.”

As a new street that bisects lots within the project, Brooklawn Street has to be considered in a final plat, Hawk said.

A staff developer meeting is set for Tuesday, July 1, where the issue would go on the agenda.


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