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Board mulls ‘park and ride’ lot increase

Commuters in the town of Farragut were the topic of discussion at the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, Thursday, Nov. 6.

The Board discussed leasing a vacant lot off Campbell Station Road for use as an additional park and ride lot.

“It’s an ideal piece of property as it’s adjacent to an existing park and ride lot,” Associate Town Administrator Gary Palmer said.

The current park and ride lot is used by KAT bus riders; the proposed lot also would serve as a trailhead for the Grigsby Chapel greenway.

“With the current use of the KAT bus, is that [existing lot] adequate for us at this moment?” Vice Mayor J. Michael Haynes said.

Palmer said the KAT lot is always full. “I think it would still be feasible, if we didn’t have the KAT route, to use this as a commuter lot and/or trailhead. I think people would still use it,” Palmer said.

KAT, who struggled at the beginning of the year to keep routes running in the face of high gas prices, has committed to keep the Farragut Express route only through June 2009.

“I keep hearing that’s still an issue,” Haynes said.

“If KAT does back out and we don’t have the KAT use, are you saying we still should move forward with this [and] for what specific other purpose?” he asked Palmer.

Haynes was not hesitant at the cost of the lease, a proposed $2,400 per year, but at the cost of developing the lot, estimated at $100,000.

“Would it be possible to have the first lease term to be something like three years, and then kick in to a 12-year term, that way we would have a better understanding of where we are?” Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III asked.

Haynes moved to postpone the agenda item to the Board’s Dec. 11 meeting, giving Palmer a chance to discuss details with the landowner.

“See if he would be receptive to a lease, and then at that point, let’s take up whether we should move forward with the engineering study if we execute the lease or just sit on it for six months and see what [KAT does],” Haynes said.

“It appears to me … the economics of this are not too terribly [high]; [the landowner is] not looking for a lot of money. It’s really more of a public service,” Town Attorney Tom Hale said.

“I’m not sure he’s looking for money to hold the property for us,” he added.

Hale mentioned a concern with the lot, which is landlocked.

“For the purposes of this use, we’re going to have to expand the easement across lot 119 [the current park and ride lot, pictured above] and our property, to include the right for the passage to cross those properties to access this,” Hale said.

“That’s another little piece of this that’s going to have to be dealt with before we execute this lease,” he added, although the landowner of the existing park and ride lot is the same as the proposed addition.

“My understanding is they’re more than willing to allow the extension of that easement,” Hale said.

The Board authorized Smith to contact an engineering consultant to “work up” a proposal to survey and draft a full site plan for FMPC consideration, at no cost for the proposal.

“I think that would be very informative,” Ford said.

Smith planned to have the proposal up for consideration at the December Board meeting.


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