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FMPC OK’s ‘signature’ change

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission approved a change to Town requirements stating developers obtain unanimous consent from homeowners when making large changes to subdivision concept plans.

The new ordinance requires homeowners to be notified of any material changes and also requires approval of those changes from 75 percent of homeowners.

“What is a material change?” Commissioner Ed Whiting asked Community Development director Ruth Hawk at FMPC’s Jan. 20 meeting.

“A material change is basically [something] we would defer to staff on, meaning that if staff is uncomfortable with it, we would bring it back to you all to require the notification,” Hawk said.

“Modifying a [building] footprint by a foot here and a foot there, that is not a major amendment. Going from attached [homes] to detached, that is a significant change and would require homeowner notification,” she added.

While this particular ordinance change was presented by Town staff, the debate on this rule began when Ken Russell, developer of The Cottages at Pryse Farm, wanted to make changes to the subdivision’s plans.

Russell wanted to change planned attached homes to detached homes, and Town staff ruled that type of change a large one.

Under the former ordinance, Russell was required to gain unanimous support of the change from all homeowners in Pryse Farm — nine at the time.

“That’s a great burden on people going forward,” Russell told commissioners at a previous meeting. He said that while nine homeowners wasn’t much to deal with now, if he wished to make a change in the future — when he was dealing with, say, 90 homeowners — one single person could block a change everyone else agreed to.

“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.

The Cottages at Pryse Farm is a mixed-home development; plans always have included attached and detached homes. The new ordinance only applies to subdivisions with attached single-family developments.

Whiting moved to accept the change; Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche seconded. The motion was unanimously approved.

In other business, FMPC:

• Approved a site plan for a small accessory building at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church at the corner of Fretz Road and Grigsby Chapel Road. The small storage shed will be painted gray to match the church and placed near the property line toward Grigsby Chapel.

• Approved various amendments to Subdivision Regu-lations that clarified easement rights, inspection rights and the expansion of clear zones within right-of-ways. Hawk said the changes were mostly housekeeping measures, and the changes involved First Utility District’s rights to inspection, the widths around roads in which trees need to be cleared and land graded, the depth to which stumps need to be removed, and how to verify compaction.

• Held a training session on outdoor site lighting.


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