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Bruster’s site nixed

A Bruster’s Ice Cream is a no-go at the corner of Chaho Road and Kingston Pike in Farragut.

Farragut’s Municipal Planning Commission voted unanimously at its Thursday, Nov. 18, meeting not to rezone land at that corner from office to commercial to allow for the ice cream shop.

“My kids would love to have a Bruster’s, honestly, and so would a lot of the people here,” Commissioner Melissa Mustard said, but said the decision wasn’t about what business wanted to locate on the space.

Commissioner Ed St. Clair agreed.

“I’d like to see this come ... but I’ve also seen plans that never materialized and that zone is still out there,” he said.

There were multiple objections to the land’s use at the corner of Chaho and the Pike.

Community Development Director Ruth Hawk said the three lots that were to be rezoned to commercial were all substandard in size for commercial zoning.

They also directly abut residential areas, and as a rule, the Town does not place commercial zoning directly adjacent to subdivisions. Hawk said one of the Town’s policies is to incorporate buffer zones of office space or high-density residential areas.

Hawk also reminded commissioners that the commercial zoning would stand whether a Bruster’s Ice Cream went in or not.

The final objection was from the residents along Chaho Road, who had said they would support the development as long as the entrance to Bruster’s wasn’t on Chaho.

Hawk said a Chaho entrance was the only option.

The lots could not have a driveway onto Kingston Pike because of the proximity of other, already existing drives.

“And I think we’ve learned from our Weigel’s mistake,” Hawk said, referring to the Weigel’s at the corner of Smith Road and Kingston Pike, which has caused multiple headaches for drivers because of its bizarre entrance and egress system.

“This is not about ice cream. I love ice cream, but that’s not what this is about,” Hawk said.

“I feel torn,” Commissioner Cindy Hollyfield said.

But St. Clair said, at the end of the day, it’s all about consistency in applying ordinances.

“It’s fairness to how we’ve dealt with people in the past as well as with consistency in the future,” he said.

St. Clair moved to rezone the land; Mustard seconded. The motion was unanimously denied with Commissioner Ron Rochelle absent.

In other business, Commission:

• Approved an amendment to Farragut Zoning Ordinance to require sidewalks or walking trails on all commercial streets and to have internal connectivity

• Discussed a change of Town policy requiring all property owners to agree to changes to platted building envelopes in attached single-family developments.

This discussion was brought on by Cottages at Pryse Farm developer Ken Russell, who called the requirement restrictive and asked for more flexibility.

Commission seemed to agree with Russell.

Mayor Ralph McGill said, “I think it’s a little bit of overkill to require unanimous consent.”

During the long discussion of the policy, Commission seemed to come to the conclusion that notification of changes should still be required, although unanimous consent to changes should not. It’s also likely the policy will become an ordinance, or at least a written rule, since Russell said he didn’t know about the policy until he came to speak to Hawk — after he’d bought the property and was ready to develop.

The item was for discussion only; no vote was taken.

The policy change will return for discussion at FMPC’s Dec. 16 meeting.


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