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FMPC discusses sign ordinance changes

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission set aside a few minutes to discuss changes to Farragut’s sign ordinance at its meeting Thursday, April 21.

The change was requested by Jeffrey Fields, who owns Farragut Center, the shopping center along Kingston Pike that backs up to the Post Office, and which has recently replaced all of its tenant’s signs with cabinet wall signs.

“We don’t want to treat one style of sign differently than other styles of signs,” community development director Ruth Hawk said.

And that’s basically what this change would boil down to, she added.

Fields, in his amendment application, asked that when a tenant of his moves out, he only have to replace the facing of his signs, not the entire cabinet.

The request was “due to cost and burden of removing the complete sign cabinets and repairing the wall with permanently fixed cabinet type signs to the building,” Fields’ application said.

He was not present at the April 21 meeting.

Fields asked that “only the face panel be removed and replaced for new tenants and not the entire sign cabinet for the purpose of uniformly visual appeal unless the existing sign cabinets are in disrepair or an eyesore for the community.”

Hawk said allowing one type of sign to exist in some form while not allowing other signs to remain up at all was a type of inequality.

It would encourage that only that kind of sign be used in development in Town, she said, and would cause problems with the Town’s regulations about the size of a sign as it relates to square footage of a business.

“But probably the biggest reason for the center itself is that it [could] have a look of abandonment if you have a bunch of empty sign panels,” Hawk said.

“It could affect the economics of the center,” she added.

Currently, the Town rules as “abandoned” any business that has been vacant for at least 30 days, and thus says its sign must come down.

Hawk said a good compromise for Fields would be extending that definition from 30 days to 90 days.

FMPC didn’t vote on the change; the item was for discussion only.

Also for discussion only was a rezoning along Turkey Creek Road from R-1 (single-family residential) to R-4 (attached single-family residential).

The rezoning is tied to a planned condominium development across the street from Anchor Park, Anchor Park Villas. The original plans for Anchor Park Villas were approved some years ago but have since expired. Since that time, the developers have purchased additional adjacent land and wish to include it in new plans for the development.

“This is really a good location for condos,” Hawk said, given the proximity to walking trails, parks and the lake.

The new plans for the development include mostly duplexes in phase I, Hawk said.


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