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Elderly housing lot size minimum axed

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission unanimously approved an amendment to eliminate the minimum lot size for elderly housing developments at its meeting, Thursday, July 16.

“This does not change any of the criteria which elderly housing developments have to meet; all it does is eliminate the minimum lot size requirement,” Community Development Director Ruth Hawk said.

Previously, elderly housing developments were required to be built on at least four acres. While elderly housing developments have no official minimum lot size, they can be built in the commercial zoning district, which has a minimum lot requirement of at least one acre.

“I’m hesitant to believe we can create this on one acre,” Commissioner Ron Rochelle said.

Hawk reminded Commissioners the amendment did not say elderly housing had to be built on one acre; it simply said that was the minimum size allowable in C-1.

“There are other things that have to be met; the land area itself really isn’t your constraint,” Hawk said.

“We don’t think any kind of assisted living could really fit on an acre either … but if someone did want to do a small type of development, they could do that,” Damon Falconnier, applicant for the amendment, said.

He estimated his planned development would be approximately 2 acres, and would house only about a dozen elderly patients.

“So in the event of the failure of your project, a commercial entity that is zoned for this particular lot, for example, would have adequate parking to maintain the next business that might come in there, assuming yours fails?” Rochelle asked.

“If this business fails, what will go in, in your opinion?” he asked.

“If the use did discontinue as an elderly housing, if they wanted to open up as a different use, the new use has to meet all the requirements, inclusive of the parking,” Hawk said.

“If there is not adequate parking to meet those minimum requirements, they have to make modifications to the site plan and parking requirements,” she added.

The amendment was ultimately unanimously approved.

In other business, Commission:

• elected its officers for the new year: Rita Holladay as chair, Ed St. Clair as vice chair and Ed Whiting as secretary. These officers were selected last month.

• adopted the group’s by-laws, which is done yearly.

• amended the text of Farragut Zoning Ordinance to clarify maximum clear paths of sidewalks and other pedestrian facilities.


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