Second Community Meeting Over Proposed Church Expansion

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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.


"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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