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Bank limit defeated

A resolution that would have limited where banks can be built in Town limits was overwhelmingly defeated at Farragut’s Municipal Planning Commission meeting Thursday, Feb. 18.

The resolution would have said banks could not be located in Farragut’s general commercial (C-1) and regional commercial (C-2) districts, which includes most of the Kingston Pike, Parkside Drive, Campbell Station Road, Watt Road and Snyder Road developments.

Banks could be built in the town’s office district or in PCD or TCD districts, which are special limited districts.

“The Town relies on Sales Tax dollars and banks have been locating on prime commercial intersections and … locations,” Community Development Director Ruth Hawk said.

Mayor Ralph McGill pointed out Farragut is currently home to 30 freestanding banks.

“In 16 square miles,” he added.

“I don’t like this,” Commissioner Ron Honken said of the ordinance, adding banks do serve a purpose and other commercial developments have just as much a chance to snap up supposed “prime real estate” space banks are landing.

“I understand the need for the revenue … but I don’t think this is the best way to do it,” he added.

Commissioner Ed Whiting said, “I frankly don’t see where this is going to yield any good.”

“There’s no reason to expect that by restricting banks from C-1 and C-2, that Sales Tax would increase,” he added.

He asked Hawk if she could predict that.

“Other offices could come in. I couldn’t guarantee that it would be retail or a restaurant. I couldn’t tell you,” she said.

“That’s the point,” Whiting said.

Commissioner Cindy Hollyfield asked if FMPC members would rather see more banks or vacant buildings.

“As far as Sales Tax is concerned, it’s the same,” McGill said.

Melissa Mustard asked Hawk, “How much commercial space is available now that isn’t taken anyway?”

“We have quite a bit of commercial vacancies,” Hawk said.

Honken pointed out that if banks were singled out, the ordinance would still be allowing similar non-Sales Tax generating businesses such as real estate offices.

Hollyfield said she wouldn’t support an ordinance that told banks “you can build here but not here.”

Honken finally ended the discussion.

“If we had all the developers and all the business people in Farragut, and we asked them to take a vote, I bet this would not make the top 100 things they would want us to discuss that would make it easier to do business in the town of Farragut.

“It wouldn’t even cross their minds,” he said.

Honken moved to deny the resolution; Whiting seconded. That motion was approved 8 to 1, with only Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche voting against it.

Although the resolution failed, the ordinance will still pass on to Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen.


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