Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Town of Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen Meeting Tonight

It has been many years, since yours truly has made an appearance at the Town of Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. The last time I went it was as they were adopting the Urban Growth Plan. I was against it. My opposition didn't help or hurt.

Tonight was the first appearance for Brian's Blog. As I stood to count a gentleman asked if I was blogging. I said Yes, and I hope you like it. He said he checks it regularly. At least he didn't tell me how bad he hated it. he was kind and gentlemanly. I take this opportunity to thank him.

As a blogger, you never get comfortable with talking about your blog especially to strangers. But I digress.

At the Dias are the following nameplates.

Gary Palmer
Tom Hale
Alderman Rossel
Alderman Williams
Mayor Ford
Vice Mayor Haynes
Alderman LaMarche
Dan Olson
Darryl Smith

At about 6:55 p.m. Mayor Ford announced that the Town supplies overflow in the rotunda, outside the Board room with close circuit television monitors. No one appeared to be moving. At 6:58 p.m. I counted the crowd to be about 82. Just before the meeting, Mayor Ford again reminded everyone of the overflow. He stated that they spent allot of money of it. The crowd laughed. He did say if people were comfortable standing that was o.k. as well.

Nearly everyone in attendance was wearing a white sticker with the FBCC logo and the words First Baptist Church Concord.

The meeting started with a moment of silence and the pledge of allegiance. Citizen Forum began next.

John King, Attorney for First Baptist Church Concord spoke he noted the great crowd from FBCC. He encouraged all the church members to be present next Thursday October 18 at the same time, same room for the FMPC meeting. He stated that the church is interested in building a student building on the western portion of our "church" property. The church has been on its current property since the 1960’s, it has been a good neighbor and wishes to remain a good neighbor to the community of Farragut.

Alderman LaMarche arrives at 7:05 p.m. He stated that there is a student population that has grown over the years. It has been 20 years since the church has built any educational building additions. He stated that our proposed student building is 29,000 square feet. It includes classrooms, gymnasium and 2 large gathering places. The site plan submitted last month was submitted according to your ordinance and complied with all requirements of the Town of Farragut.

The Farragut staff met and they recommended approval. Significant discussion was held. At that meeting, despite the recommendation, the FMPC postponed our master plan. The submitted site plan is fully in compliance with the towns ordinance. The Town has no established criteria for review. The church has submitted in writing responses to the committee. He stated that we respectfully request that the church not be held to any criteria that does not exist within the town’s ordinance. Obviously, we have not made everyone in the town happy. We will continue to attempt address all concerns. We will appear on the 18th at FMPC meeting. He said that he is aware of the expressed concerns of the members of the planning commission that have been stated and we will address them. If there are any questions that you or your constituents have please call me. Mr. King got HUGE applause.

Mayor Ford stated that this item is currently #9 out of 10 items on the FMPC October 18th agenda. The Mayor said that he will work with Alderman Lamarche to move up the item up to the first item on the agenda.

Doug Dutton spoke as a grandfather of 3 grandchildren at Concord Christian School. We believed that the FMPC was a technical issue and not become a politically charged issue. I am asking for a fair objective hearing, not a political debate. When he asked at the conclusion of the previous FMPC meeting why did this happen. Aldermen and FMPC members said you didn’t show up.
Mr. Rossel and Alderman LaMarche have been respectful to us. Mr. Dutton received a HUGE applause.

Tom Hale entered the meeting.

Bill Davis spoke. He said one key factor in a democracy, is information. It is not always an easy process. The planning board, must be provided enough information. I supported the FMPC to secure enough information from FBCC before proceeding with the approval. It is the same piecemeal approach that has been received in the past. FBCC should present a full long range plan to its members, the surrounding residents and FMPC board. I request a full disclosure of its long range plan. About 5 citizens clapped.

A lady spoke and said 2 things disturb me. First, the insistence that we submit a plan of what we are going to do the next 20 years. These things evolve as the need arises. Second, the people that are so against us, that say they just want us to leave, we have $20 million invested in our current building infrastructure at this site. She received a HUGE applause.

A gentleman that has been a member for 10 years spoke. The sanctuary was the last building built. We don’t have a magic ball to tell us where the growth is coming from and when we need to build. We have been working on this plan for five years. We looked at Ingles S/C that didn’t pan out. We have to grow with the growth. He received a HUGE applause.

A father of 2 daughters that attend CCS. The membership is aware of the plan, but it is just a general plan. Would the FMPC require an overall plan of this property if it were controlled by several individually owned parcels. The churches treatment on this issue is unfair. The leadership and membership is opened to neighboring communities opinion. This needs not to be delayed for no good reason. He received a HUGE applause.

The Board took a 5 minute break.

The Farragut Press had a reporter and the Editor present. I noticed that the reporter received comments from both sides. While the Editor appeared to stay near the 5 or so citizens that were opposed to the church.

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