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Petitioners prompt postponment

Thirty-five Farragut residents signed a petition to postpone a developer looking for an alteration to his original plan who came before Knoxville/Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission Feb. 10.

MPC did postpone any decision on the action.

Bruce Matzel, a partner with Brandywine at Turkey Creek, a subdivision to be built off Fretz Road near Campbell Station Road, asked MPC to alter a requirement that Matzel would have to improve a portion of Fretz Road near the subdivision.

Matzel was instead asking that he simply post a bond to assure completion of improvements to Fretz — in other words, asking to build the subdivision without improving the road first.

Residents along Fretz and neighboring roads wrote to MPC in protest.

“We are not in opposition to the subdivision being built, but we are only in opposition to allowing the subdivision being built without widening the road FIRST!” the letter stated.

“Fretz Road is a very narrow county road and requires the pulling off to the side just to meet a school bus and in some places another car. ... We ask that the road be widened to a safe width before allowing the building of homes.”

So far, nothing has been constructed in the subdivision, which lies on the borders of Farragut and Knox County. The concept plan included plans for 66 lots.

“It is beyond imagination to remotely consider the allowing of trucks needed to deliver home building supplies and graders to the subdivision with the road as it is, without thinking of the number of accidents it will cause,” the homeowner letter stated.

Associate Town Administrator Gary Palmer also took issue with the attempt to avoid widening Fretz Road before constructing the subdivision.

“The applicant [Matzel] is asking you to waive a requirement which would relieve the applicant of the burden of providing adequate infrastructure im-provements for existing and future residents,” Palmer wrote members of the MPC in an e-mail.

If Matzel were allowed to post a bond, or a letter of credit, guaranteeing improvements on Fretz, the responsibility for ensuring those requirements were met — and collecting on the letter of credit if they were not — would fall to the Town.

“This will utilize encumbered resources, and rarely do you end up with what was attached to the LOC,” Palmer wrote.

He also made reference to historical problems the Town has had with cashing letters of credit for faulty infrastructure development, most recently with The Farm at Willow Creek, which has a faulty stormwater drainage system that has caused road collapses and led to a virtual all-halt of construction there.

The Town has plans to cash that developer, Chip Leonard’s, letter of credit for $165,000, but Leonard has declared bankruptcy. Since then, another developer has bought the unsold lots from Leonard’s bank and has plans to share the cost of replacing and/or fixing the stormwater drainage system with the town of Farragut.

MPC postponed its vote on Brandywine at Turkey Creek until March.


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