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FARRAGUT

Short-term rentals, brewpubs and a park were in play at BOMA

Margie Hagen, Shopper News 

The workshop on short-term rentals held prior to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting on Aug. 27 was brief, due to the absence of Alderman Scott Meyer. He had requested discussion on the subject, but a personal emergency prevented him from attending.

In 2019, the Town passed an ordinance prohibiting short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO in all zoning districts. A grandfather clause allowing existing rentals to continue to operate has one provision: Owners would have had to been operating legally and hold a Farragut Business Privilege License as of June 27, 2019.

Of the handful of short-term rental businesses in town, none hold or have held a license, so technically they are not grandfathered and not permitted.

As a courtesy to Meyer, the board agreed to postpone voting and allow him to present his case later. He’ll need a compelling argument and some documentation to prevail on this issue. “We’ve made it pretty clear,” Mayor Ron Williams said. “If you’re operating a business you need a license.”  

The Admiral’s Landing brewpub was a go as the board approved an amendment on first reading to define and create the permit allowing it. The footprint will not exceed 7,500 square feet, and an automatic fire sprinkler system will be required. The Admiral Pub also got good news, as their request to expand was approved. They’ll now have a total of 4,500 square feet and can expand their business.

Trevor Hobbs has been crafting the ordinance and revised it several times at the direction of BOMA and the Planning Commission. “We’re confident that this ordinance reflects both the Town’s regulatory intent as well as the requests from the applicants,” he said.

If approved by the board on second reading, it will be full speed ahead for both Admirals.

New restaurant Dos Agaves plans to open in the old La Parrilla site in Turkey Creek sometime in September. The owner group now operates Azul Tequila on Kingston Pike, but their lease will be up soon and won’t be renewed. Look for your favorite Mexican dishes in the spacious Parkside Drive location; there’s an outdoor patio, too.

We love our parks in Farragut, and we might be getting another one next year. Blue Cross Blue Shield is providing 10 grants of $750,000 apiece in Tennessee as part of its 75th anniversary celebration and the Town has applied for consideration.

The grant is for an all-inclusive playground with a fitness station, community area with pavilion, a swing set and a play area with a merry-go-round, climbing station, slides and more. “They provide all the equipment, do the work and future maintenance,” Sue Stuhl said, adding, “It’s a very competitive grant.”

It’s not a done deal; the grants will be announced in the spring with construction to follow. If Farragut receives the grant, the active play park will be in the open space behind Town Hall. 

OPINION

Missing the human connection

Leslie Snow, Shopper News columnist

Did you ever watch a how-to video online and think to yourself, that looks easy? Me too. That’s how I got started painting the kitchen cabinets in my mom and dad’s new house. I watched a couple videos, read a couple of articles, and thought to myself, “How hard can it be?” I actually uttered the sentence, “Even though I’ve never done it before, I’m kind of an expert on painting cabinets.” I was joking when I said it. But not really.

As it turns out, painting cabinets is harder than it looks. I’ve needed a lot of advice from the experts at my local paint store. Yesterday’s trip to talk about my primer problem was my fifth visit to the store in the past six days. That’s because they’re closed on Sundays.

The trip stood out to me, because when I walked into the store, I said, “It’s me again,” in a sheepish tone, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I have one more question about the primer I bought.” And to my surprise, the man I spoke with said, “I’m sorry, which primer? What project are you working on?”

I don’t consider myself particularly remarkable, but I had spoken to the man so many times over so few days, that I thought he would remember me. He showed me pictures of the cabinets he painted in his house. I showed him photos of my parents’ cabinets and picked his brain about the best shade of gray to use. We talked about high school football starting and our worries over the possibility that the coronavirus might spread in schools. We spent a lot of time together.

After I got some answers about the primer, I got into my car to head home. While I was driving, it occurred to me that the nice paint man probably didn’t recognize me because I was wearing a mask, and it was a different mask than the one I had worn on my previous visits. He didn’t know me because he had never really seen me before.

For me, that’s the hardest part about wearing a mask. It’s not the stuffy air I’m breathing or that my reading glasses are fogging up, it’s that I can’t connect with people the way I want to.

I used to chat with strangers in the produce aisle about how to cook spaghetti squash or how to pick a ripe watermelon. I used to talk about the weather with the lady in the bakery while she sliced the sesame bread I use to make toast in the morning. I made small talk with the nice woman at the bank when I deposited a check. I talked about Great Danes with the cashier at the pharmacy.

But I don’t do any of that anymore. There’s something about wearing a mask that makes people look away. We avert our eyes. We look at the ground. We don’t say hello. It’s what we do when we ride in the elevator with strangers, only we do it all the time now.

I’m going to keep wearing my mask and I hope you do to. Evidence shows it reduces the spread of the coronavirus, and that’s what we need to keep us healthy and to keep our economy growing.

But I miss talking to strangers. I miss smiling at people and getting a smile back in return. And I miss being recognized as the crazy lady who thought painting kitchen cabinets would be easy because she watched a couple of videos on YouTube.

Leslie Snow may be reached at snow column@aol.com.

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