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Knox County reviews two Farragut plans

Knox County’s redistricting committee has chosen two plans to be studied further and passed along to County Commission for final approval, both of which keep the Town together.

The Town submitted one of the chosen plans, which leaves only five precincts in the 5th District, and keeps Farragut together.

“The plan we came up with is darn near the lowest impact plan that has been proposed,” Alderman John Williams said.

Williams, former Alderman Tom Rosseel, Interim Town Administrator Gary Palmer and Robbi McKinney, with infrastructure consultants Arcadis, created the plan.

“We believe this revised plan does the best job of all the plans in meeting the criteria,” Rosseel said.

The 5th District would be comprised of Farragut’s two precincts, 66 North and 66 South, and 65, 68 and 69 North.

“The rationale was to basically make the 5th District Farragut and the southwest and make the 6th District mostly a Hardin Valley/Karns district,” Williams said. Powell would be moved to the 7th District, but would be moved as a whole community.

The 6th, 8th and 9th districts would gain two precincts each; the 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st districts would gain one; the 7th District would gain three. All current Commission-ers would remain in their districts except District 5 Commissioner Mike Hammond, who would be moved to the 6th District.

The other plan chosen keeps District 5 in the same formation as the Town’s plan; the main differences are in districts 7, 8 and 9.

Of the eight original redistricting plans submitted, only one, submitted by former District 5 County Commissioner Frank Leuthold, splits Farragut into two Commission districts.

“I could have developed a plan that keeps Farragut together, and a plan I would just love. But it would throw a lot of Commissioners out of their districts and it moves a lot of people,” Leuthold said.

“I submitted [a plan] according to the criteria of the committee. … I don’t play any favorites,” he added.

According to Leuthold, his plan was designed to meet all the criteria, including leaving County Commission incumbents in their current districts, and moving as few people as possible.

In addition, he said it was “an impossibility” to keep Farragut together in the 5th District and keep Commissioners Hammond and Dr. Richard Briggs in District 5 as well.

“People in Farragut voted for this change knowing they had to lose 30 percent of the district,” Leuthold, who campaigned against Charter Amendment 3, said.

“When you do that, who’s supposed to move? It affects the whole County.

“The 5th district has to lose 20,000 people. If you say you’re going to keep the 20,000 in Farragut together … why wouldn’t they say ‘Let’s keep Cedar Bluff together; let’s keep Halls and Karns together?’” he added.

Leuthold has designed three redistricting plans adopted by the County, following the 1980, 1990 and 2000 censuses, respectively.

The redistricting plans will be studied by County Commission, which will select one plan, to be enacted by the 2010 election. The lines will be redrawn after the 2010 census.


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