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Farragut Biz Alliance quizzes Town about sign regs

A subcommittee of the Farragut Business Alliance met with Faragut Assistant Community Development Director Mark Shipley about possible changes to the sign ordinance.

“Our objective is to give the Town input on the ordinance as a whole,” David Purvis, owner of Farragut Wine and Spirits, said.

“I think our sign ordinance has some really good legs on it,” he added.

Purvis has his own issues with the sign ordinance: his business is located in the old Kroger development, which is comprised of four separate parcels. Currently, the sign ordinance does not allow him to have a monument sign not on his parcel, and coincidentally all entrances to the shopping center are located off his parcel.

“I’d like to see us to define not based on tracts or parcels, but by development,” Purvis said.

Average residents, he said, don’t recognize the difference between parcels, they simply realize a business has no monument sign.

According to Shipley, developments such as Brooklawn, which are planned commercial districts, do allow sign packages to be treated by development rather than by parcel. But in exchange, the PCD classification requires much more rigorous reviews on the front end, and extra community enhancement requirements, such as walking trails.

“You have to give us a much more detailed plan for total build-out … you have this overriding theme throughout the whole project,” Shipley said.

“But if you’re C-1 or C-2, that doesn’t apply to you,” Purvis said.

Purvis asked Shipley why the Town couldn’t define a “common development,” which may not have been PCD originally but, once completed, clearly is a unified development.

“Village Green is a common development, even if it was done in phases,” Purvis said.

“I don’t find it to be inconsistent with the P-C-D,” he added.

“It’s more of a change in definition: an area that is ‘commonly known,’ or has a common access point,” Pamela Treacy, owner of Campbell Station Wine and Spirits, said.

Dale Thompson, owner of Bath Junkie, also had questions about the sign ordinance, as did Rick Terry, owner of the jewelry store by the same name.

“If we’re going to bring more businesses in [I want to] help the next small business guy,” Thompson said.

The most important thing to do, Shipley said, was check with the Town about what can and cannot be done. Most problems occur simply because people don’t ask, he added.

“Something Ruth [Hawk, Community Development Director] and I are very strong on is equitable enforcement, which we take a lot of heat on,” Shipley said.

“I like what you do to the looks and aesthetics of our community,” Terry said.

Interim Town Administrator Gary Palmer said he would research other communities who have “successful and stringent sign ordinances.”

Palmer said the best way to go through the sign ordinance would be section-by-section, and to recommend a study of it to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for next year’s work program.

“This is not an overhaul,” Palmer said, but a combination of multiple text amendments, choosing what would benefit all businesses.

According to Shipley, the sign ordinance had its last major rewrite in 1998, with help from Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce.

“I think we’re all after the same thing,” Shipley said.

“That’s the value of this organization. You can help the communication process,” mayoral candidate Ralph McGill said.


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