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Board agrees 4-1 to seek Seal property
Dimmick places adjacent property for sale

After Farragut Municipal Planning Commission recommended the purchase of the Seal property off McFee Road for recreational use, the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen considered the proposal at its July 10 meeting.

The discussion followed Ralph Dimmick’s announcement during the citizen’s forum that he was selling his property, located between McFee Park and the Seal property.

Dimmick, who has opposed the purchase of the Seal property since it was mentioned in February, said, “This seemed to be a particularly opportune time to do it.”

“I would like for the people of Farragut to know, also, that there has been no discussion in terms of any kind of a price, there have been no negotiations, with anybody in the Town.

“I am making the announcement to let the Board know that we are offering this to the town of Farragut with the first right of refusal,” he added.

Dimmick’s property then joined a list compiled after the FMPC meeting, in which FMPC recommended Town staff compile a list of other available property in Farragut to “ensure this land is the most economical and the smartest purchase for the Town.”

The other properties, at the advice of Francis Lloyd, a Kramer-Rayson attorney filling in for Town attorney Tom Hale, were not discussed or mentioned by name at the Board meeting.

Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III asked Town administrator Dan Olson where the money for possible acquisition would come from.

Olson said the land acquisition fund, with money to be transferred from the general fund and sale of right-of-way off Campbell Station Road, totaled $1.4 million.

The former price considered by the Seals was $1.3 million; Crook and Company, a firm the Town often uses, appraised the property for $1,050,000.

Alderman Tom Rosseel made a motion to allow Olson to enter into negotiations to purchase the property for no more than $1.3 million. Alderman John Williams seconded the motion.

“The issue of the value of this land has been quite contentious,” said Vice Mayor J. Michael Haynes.

“It is beyond me how one can recommend we spend more than we are required at this time.

“The idea of using the land for our own use does make sense to me. I think the question is, what are the [other] parcels available around the town and is this the wisest use of Town funds?” he added.

“I don’t think we’re going to find any land any cheaper, and I think if we wait, we will find in future years that this property will also be more expensive,” Rosseel said.

Haynes made a substitute motion to limit the amount spent on the land to the appraised value. The motion failed, 3-2, with Ford and Haynes voting in favor.

Haynes then made another substitute motion, to postpone the purchase of the Seal property until the other available properties in Farragut were closely considered.

“There is other property to at least consider,” Haynes said, adding that Dimmick had offered his property that night and his should be considered because it is contiguous to McFee Park.

When Rosseel said, because of layout and topography, the Dimmick property would be useful only for walking trails; Haynes said that walking trails were the most-used recreational facility in Farragut.

Alderman Dot LaMarche said she wanted to authorize purchase of the Seal property because it could be used for a community center, not more ball fields or walking trails.

“We should reach out to other segments of our population,” she said.

The second substitute motion also failed, 3-2.

“In my mind, it’s not much of a leap of faith to think that expanding this park to close to 50 acres, or perhaps more than 50 acres were the Dimmick property included, would make an outstanding regional facility whose components can only be imagined at this point,” Williams said.

The Board then voted on Rosseel’s original motion. It was passed 4-1, with only Haynes voting in dissent.


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