Town’s latest ‘Admiral’ retail plans told at FMPC

Farragut’s current construction boom will include a new commercial/retail development at the corner of Kingston Pike and Admiral Road in the not-too-distant future.

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission approved the site plan, submitted by Urban Engineering for Horizon Plaza, during its Thursday, Feb. 18, meeting.

The project, which would be located just west of Stonecrest shopping center, will initially offer a 12,000-square foot strip shopping center in the first phase, with a potential second phase offering a 3,750 square foot building.

Access points are proposed along Kingston Pike and one to Admiral Road directly across from Premier Eye Center. “It is a challenging piece of property,” said Mark Shipley, Town Community Development director. “A large part of it is in the flood plain and it drops off steeply. It will require a lot of fill and a lot of grading work.”

The project also would include a “pretty sizable retaining wall, which will be visible on the back side of the property,” Shipley added.

Two variances are being requested. One, to avoid constructing a sidewalk along the Admiral Road portion of the project, was to be evaluated by the Town Board of Zoning appeals during its regularly-scheduled Wednesday, Feb. 25, meeting.

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Aesthetics for 5G lights approved by BOMA

More than a year after Farragut Municipal Planning Commission reluctantly approved 11 small cell support structures proposed by Verizon, the Town now has approved an Aesthetic Plan for Vertical Utility Infrastructure in Public Rights of Ways to help potentially regulate future installations.

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Alderman approved a resolution adding the fairly comprehensive yet flexible Aesthetic Plan to the Farragut Municipal Code during its regular Thursday, Feb. 11, bi-monthly meeting.

Community Development director Mark Shipley has worked on the parameters of the plan since shortly after the Verizon structures were approved by FMPC in January 2020.

While State law prohibits any municipality from banning small cell support structures outright, it does allow aesthetic considerations to be applied “provided we do it in a manner that is non-discriminatory,” Shipley’s report to BOMA stated.

While the Town already requires all new utilities be installed underground, that requirement would not pertain to small cell structures, which by design must be above ground. “We have tried to get ahead of the curve regarding (future) small cell issues,” Shipley said. “Basically, we want to minimize the number of any new poles in Town, and if one is proposed for it to be as discreet as possible.”

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Greenway connections, Town traffic big topics at retreat

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen met in-person for the first time in nearly a year Friday, Feb. 19, for its annual Strategic Planning Retreat, evaluating the last year’s accomplishments and considering goals in the year ahead as staff works on the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.

Department heads were on hand for any questions arising during the meeting, which was possibly a “dress rehearsal” of what in-person meetings will resemble when they resume.

Tax boost

David Smoak, Town administrator, reported that while budget cuts were necessary last year after COVID hit, the Town “headed into this year with more of a flat budget” as sales tax revenues are “5 percent head of last year.”

Aldermen, Mayor’s goals

BOMA members previously submitted priorities they would like to see in the year ahead, with many having similar choices.

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$5 million ‘long awaited’ high school auditorium breaks ground

A morning shower cleared just in time for Knoxville Catholic High School and donors, staff and other supporters to break ground on its long-awaited $5 million St. Gregory the Great Auditorium at the school, 9245 Fox Lonas Road near Cedar Bluff Road late Monday morning, Feb. 22.

“This (auditorium project) has been in progress for 15 years,” Bishop Richard F. Stika of the Diocese of Knoxville said just before the ceremonial groundbreaking.

”This is a exciting time,” KCHS president Dickie Sompayrac said.

“The best-in-class auditorium will greatly enhance Catholic’s rapidly growing band, theater, choral, digital media, dance and fine arts programs,” a press release stated from Pam Rhoades, KCHS director of marketing and communications. “Construction will begin in March with anticipated completion in December 2021.”

Designed by Johnson Architecture Inc., the release stated the new auditorium will encompass 13,500 square feet and feature 375 seats, a 1,385-square-foot wide-by 40-foot-deep stage, an audio-video production suite, 4,000-square-foot lobby, 871-square-foot green room, full theatrical lighting and will be fully handicap accessible.

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High Town financial marks from auditor

The Town of Farragut got high marks from its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report presented Thursday, Feb. 11, during the regular Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.

Whitlock & Company P.C. of Alcoa conducted the audit for the 2020 fiscal year, and CAFIR data was presented by Steve Horton, a senior manager in the company’s audit department.

Horton began by apologizing for the lateness of the report.

“We had problems with COVID that put us behind, so I apologize for that,” he said.

Typically the report would have been completed before the end of the calendar year.

Overall, Horton reported the audit resulted in an “unmodified opinion” indicating there were no irregular audit findings.

“It was a clean opinion, there were no findings and no items of concern,” he added.

“An unmodified opinion is the best option an auditing firm can give,” explained Trevor Hobbs, assistant to the Town administrator, during an interview.

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In a front-page story in the Feb. 18 issue of farragutpress, an incorrect gofundme link was listed to help Carole Turk, whose Choto-area home was destroyed by fire Sunday, Feb. 14.

The correct go fund me address is

We regret the error.

KCSO reports

• At 7:15 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 21, Knox County Sheriff’s Office units made contact with a complainant at a Concord Road residence who said there was an unknown male on the property of complainant and victim. Officers observed the suspect on the property near the woodline close to the victim’s house. Victim said the suspect came into his unlocked house, took off his shoes, took a cup and filled it with water to drink, then went to the couch to lay down. Suspect came into the house from the side front door from an unknown direction. “Suspect did not know whose house he entered,” the officer’s report stated. “Victim saw suspect in the living room and asked him to leave — he did cooperatively.” Suspect was placed under arrest, with the officer adding the arrestee “was clearly under the influence of unknown narcotics and/or alcohol,” which he admitted. “Suspect was a danger to himself and others when he was on the victim’s property.”

• At 8:06 p.m., Feb. 21, officers responded to Cotton Eyed Joe, 11220 Outlet Drive, on report of an assault. Victim recalled an incident Friday night, Feb. 19, when he and the suspect got into a verbal altercation. Victim said the suspect struck him in the face five times with a closed fist.

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