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Zoning ordinance wording causes confusion

Confused wording in a Farragut Zoning Ordinance brought a Town business owner before Farragut Municipal Planning Commission yet again.

Wayne Davis, owner of Farragut Lawn and Tractor, came before FMPC several times in the past year trying to find allowances for the outdoor display of tractors and lawnmowers.

“We have been working with the Town for over a year … and we reached a sort of agreement, which the Board of Mayor and Aldermen acted on in February, which allowed us display storage of equipment on a line behind the building,” Davis said.

“I thought that was all worked out. Then a short time later, I got a letter from the Town telling me I was in violation of a zoning ordinance,” he added.

“We were shocked, having built this building exactly like the town of Farragut asked us to,” former Farragut Mayor and attorney Robert “Bob” Leonard said.

“If that last amendment rang any bells with the staff … we certainly didn’t know it. We had no idea the wording that was submitted would end up having the situation where that which was built and paid for and used for over a year now became not covered by our ordinance. ... What we’re asking for here is mercy,” he added.

“I think the wording and the application are an unintended consequence,” Commissioner Ron Honken said.

Davis’s merchandise is being stored in a concrete-floored, open shed permanently attached to the building.

“So I think the key is, it’s a display area and not so much a storage area,” Commissioner Ed St. Clair said.

“It’s a display area; designed for such and approved as such,” Davis said.

The ordinance as it exists allows outdoor storage and display of lawn equipment in an area behind a straight line coinciding with the rear wall of the principal building.

The ordinance text amendment, as recommended by Davis, would add the phrase “and/or permanent display area designed for such use.”

“That really does not work for a variety of reasons: it does not clarify where it can be used … [and] it doesn’t meet setback requirements,” Ruth Hawk, Town director of development, said.

The agenda item was for discussion only; no action was taken. Hawk planned to return to FMPC with revised ordinance wording at its November meeting.


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