Second Community Meeting Over Proposed Church Expansion

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

Knoxville (WVLT) - Tensions ran high tonight at Farragut Town Hall as First Baptist Concord met with community members again about a new expansion.

As we've reported, several issues continue to concern neighbors. The biggest is a road that currently goes through the church property that enters a subdivision.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt has more.

First Baptist Concord calls the expansion property "campus," residents call it "home," and now, both sides discuss one of the biggest investments of their lives.

It's standing room only to discuss a controversy as big as the First Baptist Concord's plan for a $37.5 million expansion. Church leaders want to clear up any confusion.

"Great opportunity for the church to speak to any misconceptions the community has," church member Jennifer Lasater said.

And residents want answers about traffic jams.

"It's impossible to turn out of our subdivision in the mornings," one resident said.

Safety.

"What are you going to do to protect these properties from the street?" one resident said.

That street being Bellaire Road. The only outlet into the Bellaire subdivision. One of two options presented was to move the road east along the backyards of resident homes.

"We are scared or afraid that if this road comes right up behind the property, it's just inviting people who don't belong," one resident said.

"Just as far as safety in general, I believe that we were able to come back and address those and talk about the buffer issues," Lasater said.

Concord says walls would be put up to protect backyards, residents say.

"I'm disappointed, the road in my opinion is unacceptable the way they're talking about moving that road," resident Bob Jones said.

Another option would be leave the road where it is and add parking east of the road to accommodate almost 1,200 new spots.

"As our community has grown, as well as our campus and our facilities need to expand to meet their needs," Lasater said.

And the needs of the community are one of the only thing both sides agree on.

"I'm not against the church, I'm pro church, I'm a christian, I believe in God. I just have a concern when they're going to take a 1/4 of our neighborhood and turn it into a parking lot and sports fields," Jones said.

"At the end of the day, we want to co-exist together, and we're going to co-exist together. We're just trying to figure out the best way for everybody in the neighborhood and community," Lasater said.

Nothing has been approved by the town of Farragut. First Baptist Concord says they will go to the town with the plans within 60 days.

Residents say they will keep fighting and take this to the next level, whatever that level may be.


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  • by RAY - CONCERNED CITIZEN Location: FARRAGUT on Jul 26, 2007 at 02:05 PM
    BASICALLY THE FBC IS SAYING, WE'RE GOING TO DO WHAT WE WANT TO AND THERE'S NOT A THING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. WOULD YOU WANT THESE PEOPLE TO COME IN AND TAKE OVER YOUR NEIGHTBORHOOD? IF THIS IS THEIR "GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY" I'D HATE TO SEE THEIR "BAD NEIGHBOR POLICY"!!!
  • by VICTIMS Location: FARRAGUT on Jul 26, 2007 at 08:46 AM
    It was stated at the Town Hall meeting last night by Dale Collins-one of the church spokes people-that Bellaire Drive (not road but Drive) is a county road yet the church plans on taking 1/4 of this Drive as part of their property. Does the church plan on paying the county for this county drive or do they plan to just take it? Hmmm, makes you wonder doesn't it. What give them the right to take anything that beongs to the county. The county which is supported by the voters of Farragut, not just the church. Churchs this size seem to think they can take whatever they want. It's happened before in other communities. Where does it stop? When will they be made to answer for detroying the lives of people who work hard for their homes, pay taxes, support the community and who VOTE?
  • by Lola Location: Knoxville, Tn on Jul 26, 2007 at 08:00 AM
    It appears the "Church" (which sounds more like a business) is going to do what THEY want regardless of the "Good Neighbor" policy to the community. "Good Neighbor", what a laugh. If all the neighbors were this good there would be no community as it now stands. The church is plannings on just bulldozing over 1/4 of a neighborhood that has been in the making for the last 59 years. They don't care about the people who live there or how their lives will be impacted, only about themselves. Do you think God will reward their greed? Will these people be able to stand before God on judgement day and say with an honest heart that they did what was right for the people in the Bellair Community? I think not!! Five years from now will they come back and try to take over the rest of the community? Certainly sounds like what they have in mind. It was stated up front that this was not going to be a "university" yet it was continually called a "campus". Does the term campus not go with "college" or "university"? Basically they're telling the people of Bellair, Shiloh, & Derby Chase that they're going to do what they want to and there's nothing that can stop them. The best thing that could happen to these communities is to have the Church MOVE OUT!!!

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