Strong voices on McFee land use ideas

=More than 30 Farragut residents, elected officials and Town staffers attended a visioning workshop for the McFee Road and corridor Thursday, Oct. 3, in Farragut Town Hall Community Room.

Mark Shipley, Town Community Development Director, addressed the group at the meeting’s 6 p.m. kick-off, and explained the McFee Road area is just the latest to be examined by a Town steering committee which was established about two years ago.

“We created (it) … to look more closely at density and the land use plan,” Shipley said. “One of the things we wanted to focus on were priority areas, like McFee (that were) gateways to the Town — areas where we want to get development right.

“The purpose of this workshop is for you to tell us what you like, what you dislike and what you would like to see in the future,” he added, as he motioned to existing zoning and land use maps posted around the room and instructed the group to make notes and suggestions on provided documents and submit them before leaving.

“There are no right or wrong answers,” Shipley continued. “We want this to be a very informal process. We will take your comments back, review with the steering committee and probably have a follow-up meeting based on this turnout, which is fantastic.”

McFee area resident Lisa Gibson asked, “Why do they feel like they have to develop out there? I’ve seen the new road (the widening of McFee Road) come through (about 10 years ago). They already begged my property to help build that, and I wonder if someone will be begging it again.”

However, Gibson did say she believes she is one of the few area residents not completely opposed to seeing commercial development in the area.

“Honestly, I would like to see development that is very targeted, very specific,” she said. “I think I am one of the few in a unique position (property-wise) where I could offer a commercial spot … that would allow it to be out of sight and off the road where I don’t feel it would be intrusive to the other residents.”

Edward Smith, who lives in the Cottages of Pryse Farms off McFee Road, said his main concern is safety and commented on “outrageous speeding” that already takes place along McFee.

“It is here and now, and it will only get worse. It is awful. People go 60 to 80 miles per hour — somebody is going to get killed.

“Safety needs to be the bottom line.”

He suggested a police presence might address the situation or a roundabout in front of his neighborhood and the under-construction Brass Lantern subdivision.

“Traffic load on McFee Road is high already,” noted Elaine Brekke, also a Pryse Farms resident. “Regardless of how it develops, it already had a lot of traffic.

“It would be horrible if there was any kind of commercial development because of all the trucks” that would be traveling McFee.

Fellow Pryse Farms resident Kathy Perry, who attended with her husband, Tom Perry, was adamant about what they don’t want to see along McFee Road.

“No retail, no apartments, no high density,” she said. “We want to see it like it is now, with open spaces.”

Staci Daganhardt, whose family has lived off McFee since 1976, agreed, stating, “No commercial and no apartments.”

Ted Gibson, who owns 25 acres off of McFee Road, attended the meeting with his son, Scott, who had a different thought.

“We want to sell the property, or if the city wants it for a park, they can buy it,” Scott said.

Shipley said his department will continue to take comments about McFee Road through Town Hall.