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Mayor pushes circular drives


Farragut’s Municipal Planning Commission discussed an amendment to allow circular drives at its meeting Thursday, March 19.

“In residential areas we regulate curb cuts to maintain the integrity of the street and the neighborhood,” Community Development Director Ruth Hawk said.

Currently, a lot must have at least 200 feet of road frontage to qualify to have a circular drive; any variances are granted on an individual basis.

“It’s best to address it on a case-by-case basis than with a blanket amendment so anyone can have this,” Hawk said.

Doug Arnold, landscape architect for Bridgemore subdivision, requested the amendment to prevent multiple Bridgemore residents coming to request variances.


“In a neighborhood like Bridgemore we’re going to have lots of requests.

“We thought it was better to ask for a change to the ordinance rather than have several different people asking for variances,” Arnold said.

He added circular drives would help flow of traffic in Bridgemore, which is hilly with abnormally narrow streets.

“It would be safer in a residential area to allow circular driveways, which is two curb cuts,” Arnold said, adding parking in the street was not allowed along most streets in Farragut. Circular drives could prevent people from blocking streets during parties.

Hawk said the “strength of your extruded curb comes from length,” and multiple curb cuts caused damage to the curb.

Mayor Eddy Ford told commissioners he drove through Gettysvue subdivision and counted 33 circular drives, adding even [The Univeristy of Tennessee mens head basketball coach] Bruce Pearl’s home has a circular driveway.

“It think it’s time we need to address this … I think the time has come to give this town of Farragut the chance to catch up in architectural details,” Ford said.

“It can really do a lot to enhance the amenities in front of a house,” he added.

“It does create great aesthetic opportunity,” Arnold agreed.

FMPC Chair Bob Hill disagreed. “The 200 foot rule has served us very well for a very long time. I don’t think we ought to do this and I think our policy works fine,” he said.

Arnold said there were no lots in Bridgemore that met the 200-foot road frontage requirement, but several were 135 feet or wider.

Jerry Whitehead, Gables and Gates, said the designers of Bridgemore “would do extraordinary work,” ensuring the circular drives were aesthetically pleasing and allowed individual creativity.

The amendment would “give people the privilege, with supervision, to do what they want.

“Is there a chance for abuse? I guess so,” he said.

“It’s a global change,” Hill said. “Most houses are not built by individuals, they are built by developers.”

Hawk said aesthetics could not be judged or enforced.

With the current rule, “if they meet the criteria, they can have it. It doesn’t matter if I think it’s ugly or you think it’s ugly,” Hawk said.

“You cannot legislate good taste,” Commissioner Connie Rutenber said.

Several commissioners ex-pressed views that homeowners would pave entire sections of their front yards, creating “parking pads.”



Ron Honken suggested a required distance from the outside line of the driveway to the property line, which would “eliminate a huge number of lots, I would guess the vast majority.”

“I think there’s a way to tweak this so we can look at what can be and what is without creating a big mess,” Honken said.

“You have to create an ordinance that’s enforceable … you have to put the burden on the Town,” Hawk said.

“Let’s look at how this can be done and have the same objective criteria … [and] limit its scope so it doesn’t apply to everything around,” Hill said.

“We still have the opportunity to look at these on an individual basis,” Carol Evans said.

The agenda item was for discussion only; FMPC will conduct a workshop at its next meeting.

 

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