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New commissioners appointed to Farragut’s planning commission

Farragut Community Develop-ment Director Ruth Hawk said an emotional “good-bye” to four Municipal Planning Commission members Thursday, May 21.

“As a professional in planning, you’re all highly respected. I’m kind of the envy of the state from the standpoint that we actually have a very strong planning program,” Hawk said.

Hawk held up a children's’ book FMPC chair Bob Hill gave her in 1990 entitled “The Little House.”

“It’s a wonderful book about the city growing up around a little house and the house being moved out,” Hawk said, tearfully thanking the Commissioners.

Hill, Connie Rutenber, Carol Evans and Bob Edlund are stepping down from FMPC after a combined 51 years planning experience, Mayor Ralph McGill said.

“Fifty-one years: that’s a lot of hours, a lot of late nights, a lot of stress, and some controversy. It’s only because of their diligence that we’ve made this into a Town that people want to live in,” McGill said.

“These are thankless jobs, but to the extent we can do so, I’d like to thank you,” he added.

Evans was appointed in April 1995; Rutenber has served off-and-on (she also has been an alderman) since 1980. Edlund was appointed in Nov. 2002.

“I’ve been here long enough. It’s time for a change,” Hill, who has served on FMPC since 1982, said. Hill has been chairman since 1986.

“I said I would try it for two years and see how it goes. Here I am, 27 years later, and it’s been a really good ride,” Hill said of agreeing to become a planning commissioner after serving as a County commissioner for 10 years.

“We’ve done some good for the Town,” Hill said, naming in particular the open space/residential zoning district that was created several years ago.

“It’s been a privilege, to me, to serve.

“I don’t intend to be detached … It will be a pleasure to watch the Town grow,” he added.

Hill advised future planning commissioners Ed Whiting, Melissa Mustard and Cindy Hollyfield that the focus of Town planning likely will shift from roads to infrastructure, things such as parks, a future community center and even a new Town Hall.

“There’s not a lot of open land left in this town. … We in the Town are on the cusp of change.

“We’re entering a re-development phase … that’ll be very important because it’s hard to do,” Hill said.

“The planning commission is going to be reconstituted next [month] and they’ll face a lot of challenges and I’m sure they’ll do a fine job,” he added.


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