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‘Cottages’ developer balks at signature request

A change to the plat of The Cottages at Pryse Farm subdivision led to some interesting policy questions at the last Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meeting Thursday, Oct. 21.

Ken Russell, one of the primary developers of the subdivision, came to FMPC to change plans for six attached homes (duplexes) to six detached homes.

Although the subdivision is billed as mixed use, meaning it has a variety of attached and detached homes, the Town required all homeowners in the subdivision to sign off on the change. Currently, there are nine homeowners.

“We think we’ll get everyone’s signature; we just don’t want this note on there going forward,” Russell told FMPC.

In other words, if down the road Russell decides to change plans for attached homes to detached homes, or vice versa, and there are now 99 homeowners in the subdivision, Russell should not be expect ed to get unanimous approval from every one of them.

“That’s a great burden on people going forward,” he said.

“I could understand if on one side of the road, we were going to build a grocery store or a four-story stacked condo, but we’re building what we said we were going to,” he added.

Farragut’s Community Development Director Ruth Hawk said changing attached homes to detached homes is not considered a minor change, and major changes to plats require signatures from homeowners.

That policy was adopted by the Town after a subdivision developer abruptly changed his plat in the middle of a subdivision’s development, she said.

Besides that, she said, homeowners buy into a development as much as they buy a home, and if the nature of that development changes, homeowners should be made aware.

“A buyer could buy an attached home and not want a detached just across the street,” Hawk said.

“Frankly, I think that’s too far for a governmental body to pry into private property owners’ business,” Russell said.

But policy is policy, and Russell said he was fully agreeable to getting the nine signatures for this change — he just didn’t want the same requirements down the road.

“You shouldn’t hamstring people,” he said.

Commissioner Ron Honken thanked Russell for bringing the issue to FMPC’s attention.

“I think you’ve raised some excellent points. There’s a balance between enforcement and evolution,” he said.

Commissioner Ed St. Clair agreed.

“It’s important to keep it vibrant and not let it get stagnant,” he said.

Commissioner Ed Whiting said he wanted to approve the subdivision’s plat as it was, but return to the policy change discussion in November.

“If I had to make a call on your request tonight, I would say no just because I don’t have enough information,” he said.

St. Clair moved to accept The Cottages at Pryse Farm’s changes; Honken seconded and the motion was unanimously approved with Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche and Mayor Ralph McGill absent.

FMPC meets at 7 p.m., this Thursday, Nov. 18.


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