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‘Flea’ market public forum date set

Farragut’s Municipal Planning Commission unanimously approved allowing the proposed Public Market to be built off Outlet Drive at the site of the former Outlet Mall.

“I hope it works for everyone, including Farragut,” Commissioner Ron Rochelle said.

In allowing the Public Market, Community Development Director Ruth Hawk said the Town was allowing what could be defined as “flea markets” within a certain zoning district, but not in all of them.

“A public market is inclusive of a flea market and generally recognized indoor retail sales,” Hawk said.

“You need the ‘inclusive of a flea market’ because elsewhere in your ordinance you specifically prohibit flea markets. And if you don’t acknowledge that this is basically what is commonly identified as a ‘flea market,’ it implies you are allowing it elsewhere in the ordinance,” she added.

The Outlet Mall property is the only lot in Farragut zoned C-2/RW, and the only one allowed to have “flea markets.”

Turkey Creek Land Partners principal, Jim Nixon, acting on behalf of developer Charles Atchley Sr., had drafted questions for Hawk in an e-mail, which she presented to FMPC.

The first question asked for more details on how outdoor sales areas should be “architecturally compatible” to the current Outlet Mall building, which will be renovated.

Hawk said the Town wanted to avoid a “piecemeal” look.

“You’re trying to avoid different looks and different sizes,” Nixon clarified.

“We can go with the [same] colors and make them compatible,” he added.

His next question was how to define “produce” and how to decide which items could be sold from the backs of trucks in outdoor sales areas.

Hawk said Webster’s Dictionary would define produce as “plants, trees … herbs, those kinds of things … because it’s what you harvest off a farm.”

Nixon said Dixie Lee Farmer’s Market, which operates in the summer at Renaissance | Farragut, sold crafts, produce and plants outside and from trucks.

Hawk said that was a temporary event, one that required a special events permit from the Town.

Crafts and the like could be sold in the Public Market’s outdoor sales areas, she said, just not from trucks.

“Why is this critical this be from a truck’s bed?” Commissioner Melissa Mustard asked.

“It’s not,” Nixon said.

“All we’re doing is clarifying what can be sold from a truck,” Hawk said.

Finally, Nixon asked that overnight parking be allowed so vendors could set up the night before, perhaps leaving their vehicles in the parking lot.

Several Commissioners expressed concern that could lead to people “camping out” in the parking lot.

Nixon agreed. “For lots of reasons, we don’t want people spending the night there,” he said.

“If this gives everyone heartburn, let’s go on without it,” he added, a suggestion FMPC members took.

Town ordinances were revised to allow periodic or permanent markets to be held in roofed outdoor areas and an enclosed building with:

• outdoor sales, capped at 20 percent of the total sales space of the building

• produce sales from two-axle trucks in specified areas only

• outdoor display areas that did not intrude into 10-foot walkways

• 75 percent lot coverage instead of the traditional 70 percent (which equates to less green space)

The Town did request there be no parking at night at the Public Market, and that there be no outdoor storage.

Mayor Ralph McGill moved to approve the ordinance changes; Commissioner Ron Honken seconded. The motion was unanimously approved.

“I’d like to thank the Board. I know this was hard. I’d like to thank you for your deliberation, I know it was tough … you’ll be proud if the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approves,” Atchley said.

The Public Market will next go to Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen for first and second readings.

The Board will hold a public meeting for citizens to express opinions on the Market at 6:55 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25.


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