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FMPC critiques CIP

Although they did eventually approve of it, Farragut Municipal Planning Commis-sion members had a host of questions regarding Farragut’s Capital Investment Plan, a list of capital projects the Town intends to complete in the next five fiscal years.

Topping their list of concerns was $25,000 Town staff is asking to budget for fiscal year 2012 (two years from now) for “rehabbing” the Grigsby Chapel Road traffic calming islands.

“Could we not use the [island] money to start the community center feasibility study?” Commissioner Melissa Mustard asked at the FMPC April 21 meeting.

The short answer, Commissioner Ron Honken said — at his last FMPC meeting before taking his spot on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen — is no.

While Honken said he did believe the demand for a community center would grow, “the Town is not remotely close to being able to sustain a center.”

“It would be very premature to take further steps on the community center,” he added.

That led Commissioners back to the much-maligned traffic calming islands.

“Can we allocate [money] and take them all out?” Commissioner Ron Rochelle asked.

Mustard asked if the Town had yet done a traffic study to see if the islands were “working.”

Community development director Ruth Hawk said the islands had definitely cut down on motorists who were using the center lane as a passing lane.

Town associate administrator Gary Palmer, who was presenting the CIP list, said the $25,000 was to replace any plantings that didn’t survive and to look at the feasibility of placing lighting on the islands.

“I don’t think $25,000 will even touch it,” Rochelle said.

Commissioner Ed Whiting asked why the $25k was being placed in a CIP budget when it was really more of a maintenance item.

“It’s a maintenance project and it will be for years,” he said.

Palmer said the amount of the project required it to be on the CIP list, since the Town hoped to have annual maintenance on the islands come in at significantly less than $25,000.

Commissioner Cindy Holly-field warned Town staff that she had the “pretty purple flowers” — verbenas — planted in her garden at home, and said the perennials often didn’t return after hard winters.

Commission Chair Rita Holladay asked if all the plantings on the islands are meant to be perennials.

Hawk said they were, but that many perennials don’t return after hard winters.

“We will always have that risk,” she said.

Mayor Ralph McGill said the Commission was nitpicking.

“Have we really sunk to where this commission is going to pick all the plants?” he asked. “Just a rhetorical question.”

The CIP will next go to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for further discussion and adoption.


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