(Guest column by Trevor Hobbs, assistant to the Farragut town administrator)
Can you believe Farragut will celebrate its 40th anniversary in January 2020? Farragut has come a long way since its incorporation. When the Farragut Community Group began working toward incorporation, some of the greatest concerns included stormwater and transportation planning, signs and building codes. When the first board was sworn into office, one of its first tasks was to establish policies to regulate these issues.
Today, Farragut is known for a beautiful natural and built environment with community standards for buildings, signs and transportation planning. Some would say that Farragut has solved the problems identified by the Farragut Community Group. Others would say those high standards make it difficult to do business in Farragut.
As the town’s new business liaison, I am working to better understand how we do things and where we can improve. My goal is to identify areas where processes and policies can be changed to benefit both the town and the business community. Here’s what I’ve been working on since joining the town’s administration in October 2018:
- To gain an understanding of the current business development climate, I am meeting with Farragut business owners. Listening to their experiences, good and bad, helps me identify ways the town might improve its processes. If you’ve recently opened a business in Farragut, I’d love to hear your story.
- Another objective of my role is improving communications with business owners, contractors and town staff. By serving as a direct line of communication with town staff, I can help business owners better understand the process of building or renovating a space. I may not know all of the answers, but I work closely with those who do.
- I am also reaching out to those who are preparing to open businesses. Some are just applying for building permits; others are working to get a sign approved. No matter the need, my goal is to create an opportunity for communication early in the process. My hope is that early relationships will improve the process for everyone. If you’re thinking about opening a business in Farragut, I’d be happy to help you develop a plan and answer your questions.
- To further help business owners and their contractors through the building and renovation process, I am developing a guide to building in Farragut. It will include tips and advice on how to obtain permits and schedule inspections to ensure a smooth process for you and your contractor. If you have ideas about what to include in our guide, please let me know.
Because the town of Farragut operates without a property tax, the majority of funding for services comes from local sales tax. This means the town needs to continually evaluate our efforts to maintain and cultivate a healthy and happy business community. How are we doing? How can we improve? Send your feedback to [email protected].
Together we can continue to redefine Farragut’s quality of life as a beautiful, close-knit, connected community where families and business thrive.
Wendy Smith is the public relations coordinator for the town of Farragut.