Sep 9 2007

According to the Hunter Growth Strategy, Blount County's Zoning Regulations are "neither fish nor fowl, but a recipe for Urban Sprawl."

Hunter (whom we paid a boat load of money to come up with a "smart growth" plan for Blount County) recommended AGAINST commercializing along our highway corridors, yet you see more and more Rezoning Public Hearings for rezoning to Rural Arterial Commercial Zoning (RAC). Mind you, the RAC is greatly improved from its original form, but still: do we want Scenic Highway 411S to be commercialized beyond the Urban Growth Boundary with the city and straight to the county line? I have seen numerous quotes all over the place where officials state that it is a foregone conclusion.

Is this the welcome we wish to extend the tourists we sincerely hope we draw into our community? Did we learn nothing from the development of "Al- killya Highway"? Currently, the plan is to by-pass Alcoa Highway. Are we planning ahead to by-pass 411S by extending crappy metal building commercial down both sides of it??

And lo and behold, on next Tuesday's Intergovernmental Agenda, I see discussion and possible action to set up another hearing to AGAIN consider rezoning that place with the metal building that the owner built on the apparent pretense of using it as a private dwelling (4004 Hwy 411S, corner of Hitson and 411S). The fact that it had no windows was a major tip-off, of course. Even the TN Property Assessor's Databas calls it a "warehouse." The DT picked it up in this article back in May: ((link...)) and here was the outcome; apparently the Planning Commission didn't care that it was an end-run around the law and they voted in favor of it: ((link...))

It was defeated 10-7 at the Commission Meeting ((link...)), although the following Commissioners voted for it: Commissioners Farmer, Hargis, Harrison, Hasty, Helton, Lail, McCulley, Melton, Ramsey and Samples.

Roger Fields was quoted in that article as saying the property could not come up for another vote for 2 more years. Yet, here it is again. What's up with that? It is obvious that some in this administration never saw a commercialization on 411S that they didn't like.

We just came home from

We just came home from taking a drive down 411 South. In the past few years those metal things have sprung up like weeds. I even tried to count how many metal buildings there are compared to houses / trailers / brick and mortar buildings and could not keep up with the tally. This is a major change in just the past few years.

The Blount Count Zoning Handbook says on page 43-

Section 12.3. Time limit on reapplication for a denied request to amend the Zoning Map. If an application to amend the Zoning Map (rezoning) for a property is denied by the County Commission, then no other application for rezoning of the same property shall be considered for a period of two (2) years, provided that a new application may be considered if there is a substantial change in the application constituting a different zone requested or different dimensions (area or depth) requested.

In July 2007 this was the request to the full County Commission-

3. Resolution to amend the Zoning Resolution of Blount County, Tennessee, from SSuburbanizing to RAC – Rural Arterial Commercial for property located at 4004 Highway 411South at the intersection of Hitson Road, Tax Map 90, Parcel 87.01.

Now they are asking for the same with the difference being a depth limit of 250 feet.

The question becomes this- is the newly defined depth of 250 feet as opposed to the whole property a substantial change? How deep is the property? What about the set back requirements?

250 ft. vs. 500 ft.

The RAC Zone verbiage can be found here, starting on page 33: ((link...))

Maybe I'm oversimplifying, but the building is already there. 250 feet depth of RAC Zoning isn't going to have a lesser impact than 500 feet on the people that live right around there and have been vocal opponents of the plan. 250 feet isn't going to make 411S look a whole lot less junky than 500 will, unless this guy planned to put several other metal buildings on the site.

I honestly think he should be made to tear down the building, since his intent seemed to be to make it commercial even though it was a residentially zoned property. We just can't encourage that behavior. This seems to be exploitation of the lack of zoning enforcement, which is not uncommon in that neck of the woods.

There's another guy down 411S that was slapped with a stop-work order when he started building a building, even though the BZA had ruled it wasn't appropriate for the site. ((link...)) Know what he did? Ran to the courthouse and got a restraining order from Judge Dale Young against the BZA. The thing actually said an "order of protection against enforcement of the law." It's right here in the paper: ((link...))

That guy was listed as one of Jerry Cunningham's top contributors, along with Ed Shore and Darrell Tipton (whom Cunningham has now appointed to the PBA): ((link...)) He's also the one who signed the ad against the Raven Society (and presumably the candidates they endorsed who did NOT include Jerry Cunningham) the night before the election.

So I wouldn't look for him to tear down his buildings any time soon.

Some folks build these metal buildings saying they'll be a barn and then turn around and rent them to businesses. It really is a free-for-all in Blount County. Seems like some coordination between the Tax Assessor and the Building Commissioner would be helpful.

But I digress. The topic I was trying to introduce was whether or not 411S SHOULD be commercialized in strips all down the roadside. Or should we follow the direction of the Hunter Strategy and concentrate development with a single entrance near intersections with loads of buffering? Or leave rural lands as defined as state law in Public Chapter 1101 just that - rural?

Follow the money.

Follow the money.

One has to wonder what the

One has to wonder what the commissions are thinking. What happens on 411 will happen on 321. Just give it time.

Either you have a rural home to sell or you have a rural home next to an industrial park. At least the county created industrial parks have public services. That was the whole point in creating them, right???

This is not about NIMBY folks, it is about Not In ANYONE's BackYard. It is about protecting all of us, not just a few in one neighborhood.

And no, Local- neither 321 or 411 should be simply given up on and permitted to go crazy commercial / industrial. If we do then folks will simply find ways to bypass Blount County on their way to the national park. Unless of course of true meaning of Historic Preservation County status is preserving metal.

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