Farragut alderman to switch vote to favor growth plan

By Mike Steely

Senior Writer


Farragut Town Hall’s special called meeting on Wednesday proved to be an evening of disagreement and surprise. The session was called to hear the objections of the three aldermen who opposed the Knox County Growth Policy Plan and the meeting ended with one of the aldermen saying he would change his vote to support the plan.

State law requires Knox County, Knoxville and Farragut to agree to a plan for growth and development in the county. The “No” votes from the three Farragut aldermen would have killed the plan as well as the larger Knox County Comprehensive Land Use and Transportation Plan.

The three aldermen, David White, Drew Burnette and Scott Meyer, had opposed approving the amendments to the growth plan during the March 28 Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. Farragut Mayor Ron Williams and Vice Mayor Louise Povlin both supported the plan.

Williams opened the meeting and White immediately called for a point-of-order several times, calling the event a violation of Robert’s Rules of Order. He said Farragut’s 3-2 decision to oppose the growth plan should go back to the Knox County Coordinating Committee and not the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen. He said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs had asked the state to intervene.

Jacobs addressed the meeting briefly, saying he had the paperwork ready to send to the state but had yet to send it, depending on the action of the Farragut aldermen.

After several Farragut citizens spoke in opposition to the growth plan and encouraged the three aldermen to “stay the course,” Mayor Williams called on the three aldermen to explain their “No” votes and White stood, was called out of order, and spoke anyway.

“I will not stay in here and listen to the law be violated,” White said, adding, “You suckers all agree with it.” He walked out of the meeting after refusing to speak further on why he voted against the growth plan the previous week.

The standing-room-only crowd erupted in applause as White left the meeting.

Mayor Williams then called on Alderman Drew Burnette who said while he found some good parts in the Growth Plan, he is concerned about the current and future traffic from Choto and Hardin Valley the plan would create. He said Farragut wasn’t “looking for a fight” but he would stick to his “No” vote.

When Alderman Meyer spoke, very briefly, he said the growth plan did not address density but after meeting with Mayor Jacobs, his staff and Knox County Commissioners, he was changing his vote.  He called a vote to rescind his previous vote at the board’s next meeting on Thursday, April 11.

Mayor Williams called for a vote and he, Meyer and Povlin voted “Yes” and Burnette abstained.